Who is Robert Hur, Special Counsel in Biden’s Classified Documents Case?

On January 12, 2023, the Justice Department announced that the investigation into President Biden’s possession of classified White House documents would be overseen by Robert Hur. Following this appointment, people who are unfamiliar with the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland may begin to wonder—who is Robert Hur?

Born to South Korean parents, Robert Kyoung Hur graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and moved on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School. His father, Dr. Young Hur, was an anesthesiologist with a pain management practice in Old Bridge, N.J. and his mother Haesook Hur was the office manager for his practice.

While Robert Hur currently works at law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as a litigation partner, Hur has extensive experience as a former federal law enforcement officer. Recently, Robert Hur has been an active participant in the Alliance for Asian American Justice, providing pro bono legal services to victims of anti-Asian hate crimes.

Upon graduating from Stanford Law School in 2001, Hur clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as former Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the Supreme Court. From there, Hur’s involvement in government and law comprised of multiple positions. From 2007 to 2014, Hur oversaw one of the largest and most active attorney offices in the nation as the Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the District of Maryland.

While in office, Robert Hur was dedicated to prosecuting issues such as gang violence, weapons and drug trafficking, as well as high-profile white-collar crimes such as financial fraud, public corruption, and more. For his dedicated and impressive career in the public sector, Hur was presented with the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his “superior performance and excellence as a lawyer”. 

Hur briefly worked as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice alongside Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He was highly acclaimed for his contribution to the special counsel investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections, leading to Rosenstein to recommend Hur as the U.S. Attorney General of Maryland.

In light of Hur’s recent appointment to the Biden investigation, Rosenstein said to the press, “I think the most important thing to know about Rob Hur is he understands the need to ignore politics and focus on what matters. In the Department of Justice, you make decisions based upon the facts, the law and the applicable Department of Justice policies. Rob knows he’s gonna come in for a lot of criticism from both sides, but he understands you need to ignore that and do the right thing.”

In 2018, Hur was appointed as the U.S. Attorney General for the District of Maryland by former President Donald Trump and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Time and time again, he displayed a commitment to impartiality and justice, further building his reputation for aptly handling high-profile and highly sensitive cases. In a former press release, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan commented, “Former Maryland US Attorney Rob Hur is a prosecutor of the highest caliber and integrity. I have faith in his ability to get the facts and hold power to account.”

With such an impressive resume of experience and accomplishments, many deem Hur to be optimally suited to investigate the batch of documents discovered in Biden’s former private office (which contained 10 classified documents pertaining to briefing memos on Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom).

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who nominated Hur for the position, explains that “His appointment underscores for the public the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters, and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.” His background understanding of how a special counsel operates, as well as his experience investigating partisan matters, has made him a competent candidate who is able to put aside political interests for the sake of justice. 

“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment,” Hur stated following his appointment as special counsel, further pledging “to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor.”

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