U.S. President Joe Biden returns alone to the White House after accompanying first lady Jill Biden as she underwent Mohs surgery to remove cancerous skin lesions, in Washington, U.S., January 11, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Classified government documents from the Obama administration were found in a storage space in the garage of President Joe Biden’s Delaware home, Biden said Thursday.
The disclosure of that latest discovery comes three days after Biden’s special counsel Richard Sauber confirmed media reports that attorneys for the president found a first batch of classified documents from the Biden administration on Nov. 2 in an office that Biden had used as a private citizen in a Washington think tank.
Sauber issued a statement earlier Thursday detailing how and where the second batch of documents were found. He said that a “small number” of records with classified markings were found in the garage.
Soon afterward, Biden talked about the discovery to reporters.
“As I said earlier this week, and by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage, so it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street,” Biden said, referring to the documents.
“People know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously,” Biden said. “I also said we’re cooperating, fully cooperated with the Justice Department’s review.”
The president said the DOJ was immediately notified about the latest discovery, “and we’re going to see how all this unfolds.”
Sauber on Thursday did not say what day the latest bunch of documents were found, but he did say that a search for government documents at Biden residences was completed “last night.”
Neither he nor Biden said why the White House did not reveal how and when the first batch of documents were found until two months after that happened.
“I think Congress has to investigate this,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said after Biden spoke.
Former President Donald Trump, who is under criminal investigation for retaining classified government documents after he left office in early 2021, has suggested the DOJ kept quiet about the discovery of the Biden documents in order not to affect the midterm congressional elections on Nov. 3.
By law, presidents and vice presidents must turn over government records to the National Archives and Records Administration when they leave office. Trump had hundreds of classified documents and other government records at his residence at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, which the FBI raided in November as part of the criminal probe.
The DOJ and the National Archives are investigating how and why Biden retained the documents after he completed two terms as vice president to President Barack Obama in January 2017.
Sauber, in his statement Thursday, said that some unstated amount of time after lawyers for the president found those documents in November at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, attorneys searched Biden’s residences in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Those locations were ones “where files from his Vice-Presidential office might have been shipped in the course of the 2017 transition,” when Trump took office, Sauber said.
“The lawyers completed that review last night,” Sauber said.
“During the review, the lawyers discovered among personal and political papers a small number of additional Obama-Biden Administration records with classified markings,” Sauber said.
The lawyer added that all but one of those documents were found in a storage space in the garage of Biden’s home.
The other document, which was a single page, “was discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room,” Sauber said. “No documents were found in the Rehoboth Beach residence.”
The lawyer said that the DOJ was “immediately notified” of the discovery of the documents in Wilmington, just as had been the case when the first batch of documents was found at the Penn Biden Center.
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