Where Biden classified documents were found, what led to investigation

President Biden speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Robert K. Hur as special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents found at a former office and the Delaware home of President Biden, an extraordinary development that comes two months after Garland named a different special counsel to oversee the criminal probe of former president Donald Trump’s handling of classified information.

Biden’s lawyers have said they quickly turned all the classified documents over to authorities and have cooperated fully with the appropriate government agencies. Trump, in contrast, resisted government entreaties to hand over official documents for months, including after a grand jury subpoena demanded the return of any material marked classified.

Elected officials’ handling of sensitive government material has been the subject of fierce political debates since at least 2016, when Trump made a Justice Department investigation of the use of a private email server by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, central to his presidential campaign.

Here are the basics of what’s going on with Biden:

More on classified documents

Ongoing probes: The Justice Department currently has two separate criminal probes into classified documents found at President Biden’s and former president Donald Trump’s personal properties. Here’s an explanation of what classified documents are and the penalties for mishandling them.

When, how classified documents were found: A comprehensive look at when, where and how the two batches of classified documents were found in unauthorized locations in Biden’s former private office and his Wilmington, Del., home. Additionally,

How Trump, Biden cases compare: There are key differences between the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s home and former office and Donald Trump’s retention of hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. Here’s our fact checker. Nonetheless, the furor over the classified documents could make it harder for Democrats to blast Trump.