US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that he is appointing Robert Hur to serve as special counsel to review classified material found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware residence and a Washington office he used .

Hur, now a lawyer at a Washington, D.C., firm, was a Maryland federal prosecutor during the Trump administration, and is also the former senior counsel to former assistant attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the Mueller investigation.

Garland said Hur’s appointment «authorizes him to investigate whether any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter.»

Garland said the move was necessary because of the «extraordinary circumstances» involved. «I am confident that Mr. Hur will fulfill his responsibilities impartially and urgently,» he said.

In a statement, Hur said: «I will conduct the assigned investigation with a fair, impartial and dispassionate judgment. I intend to follow the facts quickly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and I will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service.»

The move came after the White House publicly acknowledged Thursday that classified Obama administration documents were found at one of Biden’s Delaware homes. This came after confirming on Monday that documents had been found in a Washington office.

Garland said the DOJ received information about the documents at Biden’s home on December 20. Biden’s attorney informed the Justice Department Thursday morning that another document had been found in the home, the attorney general said.

Garland had previously asked John R. Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and a holdover appointed by former President Donald Trump, to review how the classified material ended up in a locked cabinet in a Washington, D.C., office that it had been used by Biden. after he left office in 2017, he told a source familiar with the matter to NBC News earlier this week.

Garland said Lausch briefed him on his findings on January 5 and «advised me that further investigation by special counsel was warranted.» Garland said he agreed, but did not elaborate.

Multiple aides who worked for Biden in the waning days of the Obama administration have already been interviewed by federal law enforcement officials, two people familiar with the matter told NBC on Thursday.

In a statement released Thursday, Biden’s attorney Richard Sauber said the additional documents were found during a search of both Biden’s Delaware homes. He did not say how many there were or at what level of classification.

No documents were found at Biden’s Rehoboth Beach residence.

In brief remarks to reporters, the president said the documents were found in «storage areas and filing cabinets in my house, in my personal library.»

Asked why he had classified documents next to his Corvette in his garage, Biden said: «My Corvette is in a locked garage. It’s not like it’s sitting on the street.»

He then added that «people know that I take classified documents and classified material seriously.»

Sauber said the Justice Department was «immediately notified» of the finding, and Biden’s lawyers arranged for the Justice Department to take possession of the documents.

The White House says the search was completed Wednesday night.

It’s unclear why Biden’s homes were being searched now. Sauber acknowledged earlier this week, after a CBS News report: that some classified documents were found on November 2 in a Washington office that had been used by Biden.

Sauber’s statement came a day after NBC News first reported that aides to the president had discovered at least one additional batch of classified documents in a location separate from the Washington office he used after leaving the Obama administration.

On Thursday, Sauber said the president’s lawyers have now completed searches of «locations where files from his vice-presidential office might have been sent in the course of the 2017 transition.»

Sauber said the White House «will continue to cooperate» with the Justice Department’s review.

Sauber’s statement on Thursday gave a slightly different account of what happened following the initial discovery of classified material in a locked cabinet in Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.

In his Monday statement, Sauber said: “On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Attorney’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archive took possession of the materials the following morning.” In Thursday’s statement, Sauber said, «As was done in the Penn-Biden Center case, the Department of Justice was immediately notified and attorneys made arrangements for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents.»

Garland said Thursday that Archives had notified the DOJ of the documents on November 4. She said the FBI began an evaluation on November 9 «to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law.»

He said he assigned Lausch «to conduct an initial investigation to inform my decision whether or not to appoint special counsel» five days later.

Before Garland’s announcement, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the findings «another misstep by the Biden administration» and told reporters that «I think Congress needs to look into this.» «.

The new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, scoffed at the latest revelations. «We’re talking about classified documents. It’s obviously serious, but you almost start laughing when you find out they’re in the garage,» Jordan said.

He said he has «a lot of questions» about the timing of the searches and why a lawyer was involved in the move to Washington, DC, in the first place. Jordan also accused the Justice Department of «double standards» in its handling of Biden’s case over its investigation of documents with classification marks kept by former President Donald Trump.

There are some important differences to date between the two cases, including that Trump had withheld documents even after receiving a subpoena for their return, and that his lawyers had erroneously certified that all had been returned.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that while there are «huge differences» between the Biden and Trump issues, «anytime classified documents are in a place they shouldn’t be, it’s a concern for those of us in the Intelligence Department.» Committee.» He requested a briefing on the incidents for the committee.