WASHINGTON – Justice Department special counsel Robert Hur, who is investigating the classified documents found at President Joe Biden’s former office in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Delaware, has interviewed the president, the White House announced Monday.
“The voluntary interview was conducted at the White House over two days, Sunday and Monday, and concluded Monday,” White House spokesperson Iam Sams said in a statement. “As we have said from the beginning, the president and the White House are cooperating with this investigation, and as it has been appropriate, we have provided relevant updates publicly, being as transparent as we can consistent with protecting and preserving the integrity of the investigation. We would refer other questions to the Justice Department at this time.”
Hur’s inquiry ran parallel to the investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into former President Donald Trump. A contrast between the two inquiries was that Biden alerted authorities about the classified records, while most of Trump’s were seized under subpoena and during an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.
The department previously declined to pursue charges against former Vice President Mike Pence, who had classified documents at home in Indiana.
The Presidential Records Act of 1978 calls for the National Archives and Records Administration to take ownership of all White House records on inauguration day, after the end of an administration. In addition, several laws prohibit removing classified records from secure government facilities.
In Biden’s case, his personal lawyers were vacating a former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement on Nov. 2 when they discovered a “small number” of classified documents. Biden had used the office after leaving office as vice president in 2017 until his presidential campaign in 2020.
The White House disclosed in January that a second set of documents was recovered from a storage space in the garage of his Wilmington home.
In January, Biden said he was surprised to learn about the discovery of classified documents in his private office.
“People know I take classified documents, classified information, seriously,” he said.
Trump has complained that FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago but the August search came after his lawyers certified all classified records had been returned under a June subpoena. FBI agents seized 11,000 records from Mar-a-Lago and retrieved a combined more than 300 classified records last year through National Archives letters in January, the June subpoena and the August search.
Trump has denied wrongdoing. He contends he was negotiating with the National Archives about which presidential records he could keep and that he declassified the secret records, despite the lack of documentation about that.
“I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them,” Trump told a CNN town hall on May 10.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: President Biden meets with special counsel investigating classified records