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 the United States Attorney for Maryland 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.

United States Attorney Robert Hur arrives at the United States District Court in Baltimore, Maryland on November 21, 2019.Steve Ruark / AP File

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 Justice Department 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, Garland said.

A source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News that the only additional classified document Garland said he was told Thursday morning was found the day before at Biden’s Wilmington home. The president’s personal attorney notified the Justice Department of the document on Thursday.

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 leaving office in 2017, a source familiar with the matter told 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 didn’t say how many there were or his ranking level.

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

In a second statement after Garland’s announcement, Sauber said: «We have cooperated closely with the Department of Justice throughout its review, and we will continue that cooperation with the special counsel. We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were misplaced.» inadvertently». , and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovering this error.»

In brief remarks to reporters on Thursday, the president said the documents were found in «storage areas and filing cabinets in my home, 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.»

A source familiar with the ongoing search later told NBC News that Biden’s lawyers searched his personal library at the Wilmington residence and found no classified documents there. The library is not the room adjacent to the garage where a classified document was found among the stored materials.

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 said 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 Thursday 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 the investigation ended. Obama administration.

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

Sauber’s statement gave a slightly different account of what happened after 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 the National Archives had notified the Justice Department about the documents on November 4. He said the FBI began an evaluation on November 9 «to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law.»

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

One of the classified documents found in Biden’s DC office was marked with the highest US government classification, Top Secret/Sensitive Compartment Information, or TS/SCI, according to a top US official and another person familiar with the matter. CNN first reported on the marks.

Other documents found at the Penn Biden Center did not have such classified markings, the sources said.

The US official familiar with the matter said some US government officials outside the Justice Department and the White House have been briefed on the contents of those classified documents, which were discovered by Biden’s lawyers in November.

The White House declined to comment Thursday night.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked early Thursday how Biden could say he takes handling of classified materials very seriously when some records were kept in his garage, said: «He didn’t I knew the records were there.»

Asked why it took more than two months to inform the public about the documents, Jean-Pierre said there is «an ongoing process that’s going on» and insisted the White House was «doing this to the letter.» .

Shortly before Garland’s announcement Thursday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., called the findings «another misstep by the Biden administration» and told reporters that «Congress needs to investigate this.»

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement after Garland’s announcement that his panel will investigate «President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and the Swamp’s efforts to hide this information from the American people.»

“There are many questions as to why the Biden Administration kept this matter secret from the public, who had access to the office and residence, and what information is contained in these classified documents,” Comer said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, scoffed at the circumstances of 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.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who previously chaired the House Intelligence Committee, said that while there are «huge differences» between the Biden and Trump issues, «as long as the classified documents are in a place they shouldn’t be , is a concern for those of us on the Intelligence Committee.» He requested a briefing on the incidents from the House panel.