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DOJ search of Biden home turned up more classified documents: lawyer

Department of Justice officials found more documents with classified markings at President Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home during a Friday search, the president’s personal attorney said in a statement on Saturday.

Bob Bauer, a personal lawyer for Biden, said in a statement that the Justice Department was given access to the president’s home after previous searches in recent weeks had turned up a total of 11 classified documents.

“DOJ requested that the search not be made public in advance, in accordance with its standard procedures, and we agreed to cooperate,” Bauer said.

“DOJ had full access to the President’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades,” Bauer continued. “DOJ took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President. DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years.”

The search lasted roughly 13 hours, Bauer said, and covered working, living and storage spaces in the home. Representatives from Biden’s personal legal team and the White House counsel’s office were there while Justice Department officials conducted the search.

The FBI, an agency within the Justice Department, executed the search, which was “planned” and “consensual,” a DOJ official told The Hill.

Biden is spending the weekend at his property in Rehoboth Beach, Del., which is about 90 miles south of Wilmington. Biden spent last weekend in Wilmington.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment when asked Friday if the decision for Biden to go to Rehoboth Beach was related to documents being found in Wilmington.

In a separate statement, White House special counsel Richard Sauber said Biden directed his personal lawyers to fully cooperate with the Justice Department.

“Since the beginning, the President has been committed to handling this responsibly because he takes this seriously,” Sauber said in a statement.

Saturday’s disclosure marks the fourth time officials have found documents from Biden’s time as vice president at either his old Washington, D.C., office or his Wilmington home.

Personal lawyers for Biden first found a small number of documents with classified markings at the office he used while working for the Biden-Penn Center from 2017-2019. The documents were found on Nov. 2, 2022, but the findings were not publicly disclosed until Jan. 17 after they were reported by CBS News.

Days later, the White House confirmed six more documents were found at Biden’s WIlmington residence during a search conducted in December. 

Last Saturday, the White House confirmed a search had been conducted two days earlier at Biden’s home and turned up five additional documents with classified markings.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to oversee the investigation into the handling of the documents. Presidents and vice presidents are required under the Presidential Records Act to turn over materials to the National Archives upon leaving office.

The Biden White House has been steadfast that it is cooperating with the Justice Department in its investigation, and the president has emphasized that he has been surprised by the disclosures and takes the handling of classified materials seriously.

“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets, I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That’s exactly what we’re doing, there’s no there there,” Biden said Thursday during a trip to California to survey storm damage.

While the White House has maintained that it has been slow to share new details in order to avoid the release of incomplete information, the slow drip of additional findings has given fuel to Republican critics.

House Republicans have already said they intend to use their new majority to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents, and former President Donald Trump has been quick to equivocate between the Biden controversy and his own mishandling of classified materials.

In Trump’s case, the former president had hundreds of sensitive government materials at his Mar-a-Lago estate more than a year after leaving office. He and his team refused to cooperate with federal officials, prompting an FBI search last August to secure additional documents Trump was keeping in Florida. A separate special counsel is overseeing a DOJ probe into Trump’s conduct.

Alex Gangitano contributed

Updated at 12:03 a.m.

Source: The Hill

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