FBI finds documents marked classified in search of Biden’s home

The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday and located six additional documents containing classified marks and also took possession of some of his memos, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.

The president voluntarily allowed the FBI to enter his home, but the lack of a search warrant did not escape the extraordinary nature of the search. It compounded Biden’s embarrassment that began with the disclosure in January. 12 that the president’s lawyers had found a “small number” of classified records in a former office of the Penn Biden Center in Washington shortly before the midterm elections. Since then, lawyers have found six classified documents in Biden’s Wilmington home library from his time as vice president.

Although Biden has maintained that “it’s not there,” the discoveries have become a political liability as he prepares to launch a re-election bid, undermining his efforts to project an image of ownership to the northern public -American after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor. donald trump

The documents taken by the FBI span Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the memos date from his time as vice president, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney. He added that the search of the entire premises lasted nearly 13 hours. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, was not immediately clear as the Justice Department reviews the records.

“We found a handful of documents filed in the wrong place,” Biden told reporters Thursday in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Department of Justice.”

Biden added that he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to this being resolved quickly.”

The president and first lady Jill Biden were not home when they were searched. They were spending the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

It remains to be seen whether additional searches can be conducted by federal officials elsewhere. Biden’s personal lawyers previously conducted a search of the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they found no official documents or classified records.

The Biden investigation has also complicated the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of marked classified records with him when he left the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government, and had to obtain a search command to retrieve them.

Bauer said the FBI asked the White House not to comment on the search before conducting it, and that Biden’s and the White House’s personal lawyers were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the president’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, notebooks, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and reminders dating back decades.”

The Department of Justice, he added, “took possession of materials it considered within the scope of its investigation, including six items consisting of classified documents and surrounding materials, some of which were from the service of the President in the Senate and some of which were from his term as Vice President.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland US Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate any possible wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents. Hur is set to take over from Trump-appointed US Attorney John Lausch to oversee the investigation.

“From the beginning, the president has been committed to handling this responsibly because he takes it seriously,” White House counsel Richard Sauber said Saturday. “The president’s lawyers and the White House counsel’s office will continue to cooperate with the DOJ and the special counsel to help ensure that this process is carried out quickly and efficiently.”

The findings of the Biden dossier and the Trump investigation, which is being handled by special counsel Jack Smith, are very different. Biden has pledged to cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation at all times, and Friday’s search was voluntary, though questions remain about his transparency with the public.

For an offense to have been committed, a person would have to “knowingly remove” the documents without authority and intend to keep them in an “unauthorized place”. Biden has said he was “surprised” that classified documents were discovered at the Penn Biden Center.

In general, classified documents must be declassified after a maximum of 25 years. But some records are of such value that they remain classified for much longer, although specific exceptions must be granted. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009.

Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware contributed to this report.

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