Robert K. Hur, the special counsel investigating President Biden’s mishandling of documents retained from his vice presidency, is expected to release his report soon, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The imminent release of the report suggests that Mr. Hur is nearing the end of an investigation that began just over a year ago.
It is expected to criticize Mr. Biden and his aides for sloppy record-keeping and storage, according to people in Mr. Biden’s orbit, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. But those people have long believed he will not be charged with any crime, judging from the lines of inquiry prosecutors have pursued in their interviews with witnesses and the president’s cooperation with investigators.
Most of Mr. Hur’s work was completed in the final days of 2023, and appears to have wrapped up after Mr. Biden sat down with investigators in October, those people said. He also conducted interviews with several longtime advisers in the Biden administration, including the former chief of staff Ron Klain, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, and Steve Ricchetti, his counselor.
Former President Donald J. Trump, who was charged over the summer with obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim classified materials at his resort in Florida, is likely to seize on the report to downplay his own legal woes — and to claim the Justice Department has targeted him politically while letting Mr. Biden escape punishment.
But Mr. Hur’s investigation does not appear to be comparable in scope or seriousness to Mr. Trump’s retention of sensitive government documents.
Mr. Biden’s lawyers immediately notified the National Archives and Records Administration upon discovering a cache of classified documents in late 2022 when they were closing an office in Washington he occupied after leaving the vice presidency in 2017. They have since cooperated with the Justice Department, and gave the F.B.I. access to his house in Wilmington, Del., where they discovered more material.
Mr. Trump, by contrast, repeatedly resisted requests from the National Archives, which is responsible for storing sensitive White House documents, initially turned over only a portion of what he had taken when he left office in January 2021. He failed to fully respond to a subpoena to return the rest and ultimately was subjected to a search of his home and office by F.B.I. agents with a warrant.
Last January, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Mr. Hur, a veteran prosecutor who worked in the Trump administration, to examine “the possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” after Mr. Biden left the Obama administration.
With the exception of President Barack Obama, every occupant of the Oval Office since Watergate has confronted a special prosecutor scrutinizing him or members of his staff, sometimes for relatively narrow matters but at other times for issues that have mushroomed into the threat of impeachment.