Nov. 17, 2023, 1:04 AM UTC
By Carol E. Lee , Monica Alba, Mike Memoli and Zoë Richards
WASHINGTON — The special counsel appointed to investigate Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents has interviewed the president’s son Hunter Biden, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Special counsel Robert Hur reached out to Hunter Biden’s legal team for an interview about two months ago, a second source familiar with the matter said.
Spokespeople for Hur and the Justice Department declined requests for comment, as did the White House. A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the interview.
The White House last month said the president was interviewed Oct. 8-9 as part of the documents investigation after months of negotiations between Biden and Hur over the terms of an interview. The probe was initiated after the White House said in January that documents with classified markings were uncovered at Biden’s Delaware home and at a Washington office he used after he was vice president.
The subject of an investigation typically is interviews near the end of a probe, if at all. Hur’s investigation has stretched into its 11th month. It remains unclear whether he is expected to bring charges.
Then-U.S. Attorney Robert Hur arrives at U.S. District Court in Baltimore in 2019. Steve Ruark / AP file Hur is expected to deliver a report with his findings at the conclusion of his investigation, which has sparked anxiety among the president’s aides.
Some have privately expressed concern that the probe will conclude with a politically damaging outcome as Biden campaigns for re-election, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
Additional concern is swirling within the White House that Hur and, more broadly, the Justice Department are overly sensitive to Republican congressional oversight of their work, a third source said.
Multiple sources also drew comparisons to former FBI Director James Comey’s delivering a stinging rebuke of Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign related to an investigation into her emails while she was secretary of state.
While Clinton was not guilty of wrongdoing, she was “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information, Comey said about four months before she lost the 2016 election.
Congressional Republicans have raised questions about Hunter Biden’s proximity to the classified documents that were stored at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., wrote a letter to the White House in January questioning whether Hunter Biden had access to any of the classified documents in his father’s possession.
Hunter Biden listed his father’s Wilmington home as his address on his driver’s license during the time frame when classified documents were stored there. His attorney, Abbe Lowell, has said he did so because the Wilmington house “was his only permanent address at the time.”
The classified documents probe has unfolded as the president’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, is accused of mishandling documents. Trump also faces allegations that he told a property manager at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida to delete security video allegedly showing how his employees moved boxes of documents before the FBI searched the property.
During his 2024 presidential campaign, Trump has sought to liken his handling of documents to Biden’s. The president’s aides have resisted the comparison, arguing that Biden promptly returned classified documents to the government when they were discovered in his office and then voluntarily allowed federal authorities to search his properties for additional materials.
Carol E. Lee, Monica Alba and Mike Memoli reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.
Carol E. Lee
Carol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.
Monica Alba is a White House correspondent for NBC News.
Mike Memoli is an NBC News correspondent.
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.