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How Will Garland Handle Review of Pence's Classified Documents?

The standard Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out when appointing two special counsels to examine confidentiality breaches by President Biden and former President Trump, citing their 2024 presidential runs, is tested by the discovery of classified material at former Vice President Mike Pence's Indiana home. Pence is considering a White House bid. While Garland hasn’t said whether he will have a special counsel review documents found at Pence’s home, the prospect illuminates the dilemma he now faces in referring politically unpredictable probes to outside prosecutors over whose decisions he has little control, says the Wall Street Journal.


Garland “is between a rock and a hard place now,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a former Justice Department official and law professor at George Washington University. “If he doesn’t appoint a special counsel the Democrats will say ‘why not?’ If he does, people will say ‘we’ve never had so many special counsels!’ If I were the attorney general, I would be rueing the day I appointed the first special counsel.” As the FBI and the main Justice Department's National Security Division review how the documents ended up in Pence’s home, it's another case added to the growing docket of politically fraught cases involving classified information confronting Garland. He could act short of appointing another special counsel, former prosecutors said, such as adding the review of Pence documents to the job of Robert Hur, whom he named to head the inquiry into documents found at Biden’s home and former office.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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