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House GOP in talks with Biden special adviser Robert Hur over testimony

Michael A. McCoy/Reuters/File

U.S. Attorney Robert Hur speaks in U.S. District Court, Baltimore, Maryland, November 21, 2019.

House Republicans have contacted special counsel Robert Hur to discuss the possibility of him testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about his report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, according to three sources with direct knowledge folder.

Hur’s report released last week did not accuse the president of a crime, but it painted a portrait of a forgetful commander in chief who failed to properly protect highly sensitive classified information — a description that could be politically damaging to Biden and which the Republicans seized.

Hur retained Bill Burck as his personal attorney. Although there is no date on the calendar, they are looking at the end of February, one of the sources told CNN. The Justice Department declined to comment.

House Republicans leading the impeachment inquiry also asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to turn over the transcript of the special prosecutor’s interview with the president in a new letter Monday. The Republican committee chairmen are also asking the Justice Department to provide Congress with “any recording, memo, or summary” of the special counsel’s interview with the president.

Beyond that, Republicans are demanding that the Justice Department turn over classified documents related to Ukraine as they continue to attempt to draw connections between Biden’s official actions as vice president and his son’s foreign business dealings at the time.

“There are concerns that President Biden may have retained sensitive documents related to specific countries involving his family’s foreign business dealings,” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House of Representatives, wrote in the letter. Oversight, James Comer, and Ways and Means Chairman, Jason Smith.

The two special counsels appointed under the Trump presidency, Robert Mueller and John Durham, both testified before Congress after submitting their reports to the Justice Department.

After expressing some reluctance, Mueller agreed to testify before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in July 2019 about his investigation, delivering halting and stilted responses that mostly stuck to his report. .

Negotiations for Mueller’s appearance stretched over weeks, ultimately leading to an agreement that Mueller appeared after being subpoenaed.

Last June, Durham testified before the House Judiciary Committee about his investigation and report on the FBI’s investigation into Trump and Russia, and he spoke behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee .

Hur’s special counsel’s report found that Biden deliberately kept classified information, including top secret documents, and knew he was in possession of some documents as early as 2017. He also shared some of that information with the ghostwriter from his 2017 memoir.

The special prosecutor decided not to charge the president in the case — primarily because he found there was no evidence of a deliberate intent by Biden to illegally retain classified information and that the president had cooperated with the investigation.

Yet, in politically damaging reasoning, Hur wrote that one of the reasons Biden was not going to be prosecuted was because he would appear before a jury as an elderly man “with a bad memory.” Biden’s lawyers objected to that characterization, calling it “investigative overreach” and accusing Hur of flouting Justice Department rules and standards.

The report is sure to become an issue in the 2024 campaign — where Biden’s likely opponent, Donald Trump, faces criminal charges for his handling of classified documents, although Hur made clear how serious both cases were different.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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