Robert Hur, the new special counsel, had been serving as the U.S. attorney in Maryland until February 2021, shortly after President Biden took office, when he left for the private sector. He was a Trump appointee, but earned bipartisan support for his nomination — including from both Democratic senators representing his state.
“He handled himself with real professionalism when he was U.S. attorney in Maryland,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md. told Semafor in a phone interview Thursday afternoon shortly after Merrick Garland’s announced Hur as the special counsel to probe the classified documents tied to Biden.
He added he agreed with Garland’s decision: “I think when you have these highly visible individuals it gives greater confidence to the public that it’s truly independent.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who played a key role in investigations into former President Trump, noted Hur’s “good reputation.”
Hur was most recently a partner at the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He’s a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School and a former clerk for the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
But perhaps most relevant is Hur’s experience at the Justice Department early on in then-President Trump’s tenure, when he served as principal deputy associate attorney general. Rod Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, described Hur as his “point person” to keep contact with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“That experience obviously would be very relevant for him,” Rosenstein told Semafor in an interview. “And also I think he gained an appreciation in that job of how important it is to tune out all the partisan noise and focus on what matters.”
Rosenstein described Hur as talented, smart, and hardworking, and said he “understands the non-partisan principles of the Department of Justice.” [Continue reading…]
Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Biden document matter can be second-guessed by those of us who do not have knowledge of what the preliminary investigation showed. And many will rightfully criticize the parallel this sets up between Trump’s actions and Biden’s actions. But what cannot be debated is that by appointing a special counsel Garland has provided the best protection possible from partisan weaponized use of Congressional investigations that are promised by the new Republican led House of Representatives.
The newly formed Select Committee under the House Judiciary Committee will find its efforts to “oversee”—read: interfere with—active criminal investigations thwarted by the existence of an active Special Counsel investigation given DOJ’s historic resistance to speaking about active investigations.
Grand jury work – typically a part of almost every criminal investigation – will provide further protection since it is governed by rules of secrecy that prevent the government from speaking about the matters before it. [Continue reading…]