President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a “limited number” of classified government documents this fall in a locked closet in a Washington, D.C., think tank office that Biden used as a private person, according to his attorney on Monday.
According to a statement made by Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, the Department of Justice and the National Archives and Records Administration are investigating the circumstances surrounding the materials.
The documents, according to Sauber, appear to be from the Obama administration, when Biden was vice president. The papers, according to Sauber, were discovered on November 2 at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Engagement.
According to federal prosecutors, that happened about three months after FBI investigators searched the Florida home of former President Donald Trump and took hundreds of other papers, including more than 100 secret government documents.
Because he removed the records from the White House in January 2021, Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation by the DOJ. Government records must be legally transferred to the National Archives upon the resignation of a president or other members of their administration.
After CBS News first reported the discovery of the records at the Penn Biden Center, Sauber released a statement. According to a person with knowledge of the matter, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch was tasked by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate how classified documents came to be located at the Penn Biden Center.
Lausch was appointed to the prosecutor’s office by a Trump appointee to prevent potential conflicts of interest and was explicitly given that assignment. The source told NBC. In a post on his social media page on Monday night, Trump asked, “When is the FBI going to raid the numerous houses of Joe Biden, possibly even the White House?”
These papers weren’t declassified, Trump wrote. Without providing any proof, he has asserted that he declassified documents discovered inside his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Suppose the DOJ determines that Trump likely committed the law by removing all of the data from the White House and hindering efforts to recover them.
In that case, he might still be charged with a crime even if he had declassified the documents that bore classified markings. In a September appearance on “60 Minutes” with CBS, Biden expressed shock at an FBI image showing some of the official documents discovered at Mar-a-Lago.
“How could that possibly occur? How could somebody be that careless?” Biden enquired. “Negligent.” The White House released a statement from Sauber on Monday regarding the Biden documents, which stated, “The records were discovered when the President’s attorneys were packing files held in a locked cupboard to get ready to leave office space at the center.
From the middle of 2017 until the beginning of the 2020 campaign, the President used this area intermittently, according to Sauber. The materials “were not the subject of any prior request or inquiry by the [National] Archives,” the speaker continued.
The National Archives had regularly questioned Trump, and his attorneys about papers they believed had not been returned before the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago. That was a direct allusion to that fact.
Since the discovery of the data, Sauber said that Biden’s attorneys “have engaged with the Archives and the Department of Justice to guarantee that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the ownership of the Archives.” According to someone who knew the issue, Biden was only made aware of the classified materials being kept in his former office after his lawyers informed him that they had found them.
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