Washington — The Justice Department and House leaders are negotiating a time for special counsel Robert Hur to testify publicly before Congress about the federal probe into President Biden’s, according to three people familiar with the discussions.
Officials are currently targeting late February or early March for Hur’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the people said, but the timing remains in flux as negotiations continue. If he does testify, it would be Hur’s first public comments on the probe.
There is recent precedent for a special counsel appearing before lawmakers after completing an investigation. Robert Mueller, who oversaw a two-year probe of potential ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia,before two committees after releasing his report in 2019.
Hur’s report on the Biden documents investigation
Last week, Hur released his final report about his year-long investigation into the discovery of documents with classified markings found in Mr. Biden’s personal office and residence. Hur’s team concluded that neither Mr. Biden nor any of his aides would face criminal charges over the documents, which dated from Mr. Biden’s time as vice president.
Hur’s report said the evidence did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Biden intentionally and illegally held onto the sensitive government records. The Justice Department has a policy against bringing criminal charges against sitting presidents, but Hur and his team said they would have reached the same conclusion if the policy didn’t exist.
The report did say the president’s handling of the documents could have presented “serious risks to national security,” and described instances in which pieces of classified information were left in unsecured locations.
The special counsel’s report — the product of hundreds of interviews since Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur last year — was critical of Mr. Biden’s conduct and highlighted lapses in the president’s memory. Prosecutors said those memory issues would have made it hard for them to prove Mr. Biden’s guilt at trial.
The White House and the president’s allies, including the vice president, have pushed back on Hur’s characterizations of Mr. Biden’s memory. The president himself disputed the references to his memory in the report and emphasized the ultimate decision not to pursue charges.
Hur, a former U.S. attorney and top Justice Department official under former President Donald Trump, noted that Mr. Biden’s conduct during the investigation was a factor in the decision not to bring charges.
“Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview and in other ways cooperated with the investigation,” Hur wrote.
In a letter on Monday, House Republicansto hand over transcripts and recordings of two days of interviews Hur’s team conducted with Mr. Biden last October. The Justice Department confirmed receipt of the letter but declined to comment further.
Mr. Biden’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer,on Sunday that there is a “process underway” for the potential release of the transcript.
The transcript would likely need to be reviewed for classified information and any claims of executive privilege would have to be settled before it could be released.