Robert K. Hur, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to lead the probe into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents, is a former federal prosecutor with a “long and distinguished career,” according to Garland.
“As U.S. Attorney, [Hur] supervised some of the Department’s more important national security, public corruption, and other high-profile matters,” the attorney general noted in announcing Hur’s appointment on Jan. 12.
Hur held the role of U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland from April 2018 until February 2021. He was appointed to that role by former President Donald Trump, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate in March 2018.
Adding that he would ensure Hur received all of the necessary resources to perform his investigation, Garland continued, “I am confident that Mr. Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this Department.”
Hur’s appointment as special counsel follows a tumultuous week for the Biden administration as new details regarding the classified documents discovered at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home and former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington continue to come to light.
“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment,” Hur said in a Jan. 12 statement released by the Justice Department (DOJ). “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.”
A ‘Distinguished Career’
A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School and former law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Hur joined the DOJ’s Criminal Division in 2003, where he served as counsel and special assistant to then-Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray.
Wray, who is now the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has come under scrutiny in recent months for his leadership as fears of political bias against conservatives have escalated in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach and the bureau’s August raid of former President Donald Trump’s home.
While working for Wray, Hur worked on counterterrorism, corporate fraud, and appellate matters.
Between 2003 and 2018, Hur went back and forth between the Justice Department and private law practice at King & Spalding, serving as an assistant U.S. attorney from November 2007 to January 2014 and principal associate deputy attorney general from June 2018 to April 2018.
In the latter role, Hur served as the principal counselor to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, assisting with oversight of the National Security, Civil, Criminal, and Antitrust divisions, all 93 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and the FBI.
Rosenstein is noteworthy for his involvement in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation—particularly for appointing Robert Mueller as special counsel and signing off on the application to spy on former Trump associate Carter Page.
As U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, Hur and his office brought resolved fraud and corruption charges against dozens of officials and public employees, according to the Justice Department. These include former Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh, former Baltimore City Police Commissioner Darryl DeSousa former Maryland Delegate Cheryl Glenn, former Maryland Delegate Tawanna Gaines, and former Maryland State Senator Nathaniel Oaks.
Hur resigned from the position in April 2021, and since then has served as a partner at the Washington law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he has focused his practice on white-collar criminal matters, regulatory proceedings and enforcement, internal investigations, and civil litigation.