Biden gave 'voluntary interview' to special counsel investigating his handling of classified docs

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) -- President Joe Biden has been interviewed by the independent prosecutor's team investigating his handling of classified documents while out of office, the White House said Monday night.

"The voluntary interview was conducted at the White House over two days, Sunday and Monday, and concluded Monday," White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement.

"As we have said from the beginning, the President and the White House are cooperating with this investigation, and as it has been appropriate, we have provided relevant updates publicly, being as transparent as we can consistent with protecting and preserving the integrity of the investigation," Sams said, referring further questions to the Department of Justice.

Special counsel Robert Hur oversaw and participated in the interview of President Biden, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. Hur's office declined comment.

Sources who spoke to ABC News said the interview likely signals the probe is close to coming to an end.

However, the timing of the investigation and writing of a report is not imminent, sources said. It could be wrapped up as soon as the end of the year, the sources said.

The interview was scheduled weeks ago, and occurred Sunday and Monday, the sources said.

ABC News reported late last month that, according to sources familiar with the matter, the federal investigation into Biden's handling of sensitive government records had grown into a sprawling examination of Obama-era security protocols and internal White House processes, with investigators interviewing scores of witnesses.

Hur, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the Biden probe, has vowed to conduct a "fair, impartial, and dispassionate" investigation, following the facts "thoroughly" and "without fear or favor."

Reports first emerged in January that classified documents had been found at a personal office used by Biden after his vice presidency.

A series of revelations precipitated Hur's ascent to special counsel. In late 2022, the White House told the National Archives that documents bearing classification markings had been discovered at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. -- the location of Biden's private office after his term as vice president expired in early 2017.

Biden's personal attorney later informed investigators that additional classified records were identified in the garage of Biden's Wilmington, Delaware, home -- a development that marked a tipping point in the Justice Department's decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate further, sources told ABC News in January.

In all, about 25 documents marked classified were found in locations associated with Biden.

Biden has sought to downplay his legal exposure. One week after Hur's appointment, in response to reporters' questions about why he did not reveal the documents before November's midterm elections, Biden replied that "we found a handful of documents" that had been "filed in the wrong place" and that he was cooperating with the National Archives and the Justice Department.

"I think you're going to find there's nothing there," he said.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 9:29AM by Justin Gomez , Lucien Bruggeman and Mike Levine, ABC News Permalink