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What’s the difference between the Trump and Biden classified documents investigations?

The Hur report said Trump’s case was different from Biden’s because the former president allegedly “obstructed justice” after being given chances to return classified documents.
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.Andrew Harnik, Eric Gay / AP

Special counsel Robert Hur noted the differences between investigations into President Joe Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents in a section of his report on Thursday.

The Hur report said that Trump’s case was different from Biden’s because the former president allegedly “obstructed justice” after being given chances to return classified documents.

“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite,” the report said. “According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it.”

The report compared Trump’s alleged behavior with Biden’s, laying out the ways the president cooperated with the special counsel throughout the course of the investigation.

“In contrast, Mr. Biden alerted authorities, turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice in 2022 and 2023, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, permitted the seizure and review of handwritten notebooks he believed to be his personal property, and in numerous other ways cooperated with the investigation.”

An attorney for Trump declined to comment on Hur’s distinction between the two probes.

A member of Bob Bauer’s team, which serves as the personal counsel to Biden, referred NBC News to a statement that read in part: “The Special Counsel also noted the President’s complete cooperation, including the President’s unprecedented decision to open up every room of his family home and beach house to comprehensive FBI searches as well as a voluntary interview conducted over two days.”

Trump wrote on Thursday that the Hur report is indicative of “a two-tiered system of justice and selective prosecution.”

“I was cooperative with the Investigators. Crooked Joe Biden didn’t — Just the opposite, following the usual, corrupt Democrat Playbook,” Trump claimed, despite prosecutors’ statements that he failed to turn over documents.

Trump’s classified documents case was investigated by a separate special counsel, Jack Smith, and Hur’s report acknowledged that “it is not our role to assess the criminal charges pending against Mr. Trump.”

Trump was accused in a superseding indictment last year of trying to “obstruct the FBI and grand jury investigations and conceal his continued retention of classified documents.”

Trump was hit with a slew of criminal charges, including counts of willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice and corruptly concealing a document or record. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Biden said during remarks on Thursday that he was “especially pleased” that Hur’s report “made clear the stark differences between this case and Donald Trump.”

The president quoted the section of Hur’s report laying out how the investigations differed, adding: “Bottom line is the special counsel in my case decided against moving forward with any charges. This matter is now closed.”