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HomeNewsBiden documents probe deepens political tensions

Biden documents probe deepens political tensions

By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In naming a special counsel to investigate the presence of classified documents at President Joe Biden’s Delaware home and former office, Attorney General Merrick Garland described the appointment as underscoring the Justice Department’s commitment to independence and accountability in particularly sensitive investigati

If those words sounded familiar, they should.

Garland used identical phrasing in November in appointing a different special counsel for a different politically explosive investigation into different classified documents for a different political figure — this one, into the retention of top-secret records at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

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The Justice Department has, of course, investigated White House matters in the past. But it’s now confronting a unique phenomenon: simultaneous special counsel investigations — albeit with dramatically distinct fact sets — involving two presidents, jostling for time, attention and perhaps funding as well. Another special counsel appointed during the Trump administration to investigate the origins of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation also remains at work.

The special counsel confluence underscores how a Justice Department that for nearly two centuries has had a mandate of prosecuting without fear or favor has found itself entangled in extraordinary ways in presidential politics. Even as Garland made a point Thursday of saying the department’s own “normal processes” can handle all investigations with integrity, the appointment seemed to nod to a reality that probes that involve a president — in this case, Garland’s boss — are different.

It places Garland under pressure to reassure the public that both investigations, though factually different, are handled in similar manners.

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