Timeline of Biden’s classified documents case

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden faces a deepening political crisis after the announcement Saturday that even more classified documents were discovered at his Wilmington, Delaware, home.

The incident has Republicans drawing comparisons with the Department of Justice investigation of President Donald Trump’s possession of hundreds of pages of classified material at his Palm Beach, Florida, home after he left office.

The GOP has complained of a double standard for the two presidents. Biden’s lawyers say that in contrast with Trump, they immediately returned all documents they found to the government and have cooperated with a review of the discoveries.

Here’s a timeline of the discovery of documents at locations connected to Biden and their disclosure to the government and the public, based on statements from the White House counsel’s office, the president’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Nov. 2 — The president’s personal lawyers found documents from his terms as vice president in an office space Biden used at the Penn Biden Center for Global Diplomacy and Engagement, a think tank he established following Barack Obama’s presidency. According to Bauer, they notified the National Archives and Records Administration the same day, as required by statutes, and remained in regular communication with the Archives over the next eight days.

Nov. 3 — NARA took possession of the documents and informed the agency’s inspector general.

Nov. 4 — The inspector general informed the Justice Department.

Nov. 8 — Americans voted in midterm elections across the country. Democrats outperformed expectations, though Republicans won a narrow House majority.

Nov. 9 — The Justice Department began an assessment of whether the Penn Biden Center documents were mishandled.

Nov. 10 — The Justice Department informed Biden’s personal attorneys of the assessment. The president’s lawyers remained in contact with the department, according to Bauer.

Nov. 14 — Garland assigned U.S. Attorney John Lausch, a Trump appointee, to oversee the review.

Dec. 20 — The president’s personal attorneys searched his Wilmington, Delaware, home and found a “small number of potential records bearing classified markings” in the garage. The lawyers stopped their search and informed Lausch.

Dec. 21 — Biden’s lawyers arranged for the Justice Department to take possession of the records found in the Wilmington home’s garage.

Jan. 5, 2023 — Lausch delivered an initial report to Garland and recommended the appointment of a special counsel

Jan. 9 — CBS News reports that about 10 pages of classified documents had been discovered Nov. 2 at the Penn Biden Center, citing anonymous sources. The White House counsel’s office issues a statement confirming the Penn Biden Center discovery, but not the documents found Dec. 20 at Biden’s home.

Jan. 11 — Biden’s lawyers searched the president’s Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach homes for additional records, and found a “potential record bearing classified markings at the Wilmington residence, among stored materials inside a room adjacent to the garage.” Lacking security clearances, they left the document where it was found and suspended their search of the room. No potential classified records were identified at the Rehoboth Beach residence, according to Bauer.

Jan. 11 — NBC News reports that a second set of classified records had been found at a location connected to Biden, citing an anonymous source. NBC says its reporters could not determine the precise location or timing of the discovery, or how many documents were found.

Jan. 12 — Biden’s lawyers informed Lausch of an additional record with classified markings at the Wilmington residence and arranged for the material to be delivered to the Justice Department. Garland announced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Hur and revealed that the Wilmington records had initially been discovered Dec. 20. The White House counsel’s office announced the discovery of the documents in the Wilmington home’s garage and storage room. White House special counsel Richard Sauber says in the statement that Biden’s lawyers had “completed” their search of his properties.

Jan. 14 — Sauber announces that he traveled to the Wilmington home in the company of DOJ officials and discovered five additional pages of classified documents on Jan. 12. Sauber, who has a security clearance, says Biden’s personal lawyers had not found the documents because they discontinued their search after discovering one page.

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