President Joe Biden’s commitment to working with the Justice Department’s investigation into the allegations that he improperly removed and stored classified documents from the White House while serving as vice president under former President Barack Obama was reaffirmed on Tuesday by the White House counsel’s office.
“It’s important to understand the distinction here: President Biden is committed to doing the responsible thing and acting appropriately,” White House counsel’s office spokesman Ian Sams said on a call with reporters. The White House disclosed Saturday that Biden’s lawyers turned over new classified documents discovered at Biden’s Delaware home.
“His team acted promptly to disclose information to the proper authorities and cooperated fully.” According to information released by the White House last week, Biden was discovered in possession of top-secret government papers four times.
In a locked closet in an office that Biden used as a private citizen at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C., lawyers representing Biden first found secret documents in November.
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Even though the documents were discovered on November 2, the White House did not announce the discovery until last Monday. The National Archives received the records. According to the White House, searches conducted on Dec. 20, Jan. 12, and Jan. 14 turned up other classified materials that Biden had in his possession at various other locations.
Sams responded that authorities were operating within the parameters of the Justice Department inquiry when asked why the White House delayed the discovery of the materials until last week.
“Information is going to develop. That’s a natural part of any investigation,” Sams said. “As soon as the searches were underway looking for additional documents to be properly handed to the government, we wanted to be respectful to provide as complete information as we could, trying to balance the need to provide information to you all consistent with the investigation.”
More records were found in a storage area in the garage of Biden’s Delaware home on Thursday, the White House reported. The announcement that a special counsel would be appointed to look into the discovery was made the same day by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Over the weekend, Biden’s attorneys disclosed that further records had been found.
Garland chose Robert Hur to be his special counsel. The investigation was initially given to Garland by John Lausch, the U.S. Attorney for Chicago when the initial batch of records was found in November.
Government records must be legally transferred to the National Archives upon the resignation of a president or other members of their administration. Given that the Justice Department has already received them, Sams declined to comment on the overall number of documents discovered to date or the nature of the materials.
Only three months had passed since FBI agents raided former President Donald Trump’s Florida home and seized more than 100 classified government documents in addition to hundreds of other records that, according to federal prosecutors, belonged to the US government. When discovering the papers in Biden’s possession in early November.
California, I want you to know that my Administration will be with you all the way. pic.twitter.com/6pypci4bRP
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 20, 2023
Because he removed the records from the White House in January 2021, Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation by the DOJ. Sams on Tuesday compared Republican reactions to the revelation of Trump’s documents with their responses to the news of Biden’s docs.
“They’re interested in making this political theater and stunts,” Sams said. “In the last few days, we’ve seen an eagerness among House Republicans to make their lack of credibility known. They’re focusing on things they did not focus on in previous circumstances. They’re making contradictory claims on television about the underlying purposes of their inquiries.”
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