President Joe Biden has been interviewed by Department of Justice prosecutors who’ve been looking into how documents with classification markings ended up at his Delaware homes and a Washington, DC office he used while out of government, the White House has said.
In a statement, White House spokesman Ian Sams said the “voluntary interview,” which started on Sunday and finished on Monday, was part of the probe being overseen by Robert Hur, the former Maryland US Attorney who was tasked with investigating the documents at locations linked to Mr Biden.
Mr Hur, who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland this past January, has spent the last nine months interviewing various figures connected with Mr Biden’s term as vice president, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a former assistant, Kathy Chung.
Both Mr Blinken and Mr Chung played roles in packing Mr Biden’s office in late 2008 and early 2009 during the transition between the Obama administration and the Trump administration.
Mr Sams, the White House spokesperson, referred questions from The Independent to the Department of Justice while noting that Mr Biden and the White House have cooperated fully with Mr Hur’s efforts.
He added that the White House has “provided relevant updates publicly” while being “as transparent as we can consistent with protecting and preserving the integrity of the investigation”.
The probe began last year after Mr Biden’s personal attorneys notified the Department of Justice that they had discovered documents with classification markings at a Washington, DC office used by Mr Biden during the period he was out of government between 2017 and 2021.
Mr Biden’s personal attorneys later discovered similar documents during a search of the president’s two residences in Delaware, leading Mr Garland to appoint Mr Hur to oversee the investigation.
Thus far, the president is not understood to be a target of the investigation, but the fact that Mr Biden has been interviewed could be a strong signal that the probe is nearly complete.
Mr Hur, a Republican, has not charged anyone in connection with his nine-month investigation, but Mr Garland has suggested that the veteran prosecutor will submit a report that will eventually be made public.
His relatively low-key investigation has stood in stark contrast to the special counsel probe of Mr Biden’s predecessor, former president Donald Trump.
While Mr Biden and his aides have stressed that they have cooperated fully and willingly with the probe, Mr Trump has characterised the investigation as an illegitimate witch hunt.
The former president allegedly resisted honouring the terms of a grand jury subpoena compelling him to turn over documents with classification markings that he’d hoarded at his Palm Beach, Florida beach club and residence.
FBI agents later found scores of documents with classification markings at Mr Trump’s residence during an 8 August 2022 search of the property, and in June the ex-president was indicted on charges of unlawfully retaining national defence information, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
He has pleaded not guilty and is expected to be tried in a South Florida federal court next year.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.
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