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Who is Robert Hur? The special counsel looking into Biden’s classified documents

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Hur to oversee the investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents from the Obama administration.
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WASHINGTON — Robert Hur, named Thursday by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the investigation into President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents, is a former federal prosecutor who has worked with many Republicans throughout his law enforcement career.

Garland appointed Hur as special counsel Thursday after the White House acknowledged that Obama administration documents with classified markings were found in one of Biden’s Delaware homes. On Monday, the White House said similar documents had been found in a Washington office.

Hur has been a partner since April 2021 at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he has focused on enforcement, investigations and litigation.

He joined the firm soon after having left the Justice Department, where he was a member of the senior leadership team for about a year as the top adviser to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. President Donald Trump then nominated Hur to be U.S. attorney for Maryland, a role he held between April 2018 and February 2021.

As U.S. attorney, Hur worked on "numerous high-profile matters including those involving national security, cybercrime, public corruption, and financial fraud," according to his biography.

Hur had other stints at the Justice Department, one of them from 2007 to 2014 as an assistant U.S. attorney and another from 2003 to 2005 as counsel and special assistant and later counsel to Christopher Wray, now the director of the FBI, when he was in charge of the department's criminal division. In that job, Hur handled counterterrorism, corporate fraud and appellate matters, his biography said.

In between his jobs at the Justice Department, Hur worked in private practice at another law firm, King & Spalding.

After he graduated from Stanford Law School in 2001, he clerked for federal Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski, who was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. After that, he was a law clerk from 2002 to 2003 to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, a staunch conservative who was nominated to the court by President Richard Nixon and nominated for promotion to chief justice by Reagan.

According to federal campaign filings, Hur has donated to at least three Republican political campaigns. He donated $500 to former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan, a Republican, in January 2022, when she was in the GOP Senate primary in Vermont, which she went on to lose. According to OpenSecrets, Hur also donated $200 to Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan in 2017 and $201 to GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona during his presidential campaign in 2008.

Hur was also involved with Trump’s law enforcement agenda to crack violent gangs like the group MS-13. He appeared in the White House briefing room in 2017 alongside then-press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to preview a trip Trump was set to make to Long Island to discuss the goal of eradicating MS-13.

And while he has a track record of working for Republicans, he has also been respected by Democrats. As Hur was set to leave the federal government in 2021, Maryland's Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, praised him for his "excellent service" as the U.S. attorney for the state. They said Hur "upheld the finest traditions of the office and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and faithfully followed the facts and the law."

CORRECTION (Jan. 12, 2023, 7:30 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated which president nominated William Rehnquist for the Supreme Court. He was nominated by President Richard Nixon, not President Ronald Reagan. (Reagan later nominated him for promotion to chief justice.)