Robert Hur’s Fear Factor

President Donald Trump
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Robert K. Hur as special counsel to investigate Joe Biden’s classified documents fiasco. Photo: Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
January 12, 2023

Just when it looked like the House Republicans were on the ropes, relentlessly wounded by their own made-for-TV infighting and backstabbing and the George Santos of it all, a new political lifeline emerged today in the form of the discovery of a set of classified files languishing in Joe Biden’s Delaware garage, beside his Corvette, from his tenure as vice president. This might not have been a new Benghazi, or even on par with Trump’s refusal to hand back his classified files, but the boxes include documents on Ukraine, Iran, and the U.K. And since Biden chastised Trump for a similar sin, this is enough to create a political shitstorm. (Unlike Trump, Biden is cooperating with the National Archives and the Justice Department.) 

This afternoon, as everyone reading this well knows, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert K. Hur, who was appointed by Trump as a U.S. attorney and formerly worked under F.B.I. director Chris Wray at King & Spalding and at the D.O.J., as special counsel. Biden attempted to assuage the rapidly metastasizing imbroglio, but seemed to only make it worse. “By the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. It’s not like it’s sitting out in the street,” he told Fox’s Peter Doocy in the briefing room. 

Hur, I was reliably told by a former colleague of his, “should scare the shit out of people. He’s as tough as they come, and as fair as the day is long. That’s not the guy you want on the other side of the table.” This person continued: “I have seen him in depositions where, by the end of the deposition, people do not even believe their own story.”

This is Washington, of course, so everyone is trying to know the unknowable. Will this impact Garland’s other special counsel investigation into Trump’s retention of national security documents? Will this affect Biden’s decision to run in ‘24? His team may have expected an offensive around Hunter, however, but not an unforced error of Joe’s own. As one Democrat put it to me, “It has completely changed the story on Kevin McCarthy and George Santos, makes Trump look good, and now gives the G.O.P. all the reason they need to investigate Biden and the family. Somehow the Bidens always knife themselves.”