Donald Trump had an explosive reaction on Thursday after a special counsel investigation concluded that President Joe Biden and his aides would not face any criminal charges for their handling of classified documents.
The report released by the Justice Department’s special counsel Robert Hur said that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen.” The documents included material related to U.S. policy in Afghanistan during the Obama administration.
The special counsel investigation concluded about a year after Biden’s aides informed the government that they had found a small collection of classified documents at his private residence in Delaware and a former office in Washington.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, chose Hur as special counsel in January last year, maintaining that the Justice Department was “committed to both independence and accountability.”
But according to Trump — the GOP presidential front-runner indicted in multiple criminal cases and impeached twice during his presidency — the investigation that cleared Biden of criminal wrongdoing was unfair.
In an all-caps statement from his 2024 campaign, Trump said: “This has now proven to be a two-tiered system of justice and unconstitutional selective prosecution.”
Trump also called the accusations that Biden mishandled documents “100 times different and more severe than mine,” referring to the 40 criminal charges he faces for mishandling and refusing to turn over classified government documents at his personal Mar-a-Lago property in Florida after leaving the White House.
“I did nothing wrong, and I cooperated far more. What Biden did is outrageously criminal,” he continued. In reality, Trump defied subpoenas related to his case, while Biden voluntarily spoke to Hur in his.
In his report released Thursday, Hur highlighted how that difference in cooperation is partly why Trump’s case resulted in recommended charges and Biden’s did not.
“Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite,” Hur said, citing the indictment that claims Trump refused to return the documents for months while enlisting others to “destroy evidence and then to lie about it.”
“In contrast, 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.”
In the statement from his campaign, Trump falsely claimed he did not engage in any wrongdoing because he is covered under the Presidential Records Act, called DOJ special counsel Jack Smith “deranged” and demanded he drop the case against him.
Even if Hur had concluded impropriety in Biden’s handling of documents, he would still avoid an indictment due to the rule that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. In the case of impropriety, the Justice Department could have had the power to criminally charge Biden’s aides.
“Biden took the Documents in his ‘mental primetime,’” Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social, after Hur’s report was released. “He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this, and he wasn’t protected by the Presidential Records Act.”