FBI finds 6 more items marked classified in search of Biden’s Delaware home
The Federal Bureau of Investigation searched President Biden’s Delaware home Friday and located six items containing classification markings. Investigators also took possession of some of his notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.
Bob Bauer, a personal attorney for Mr. Biden, said the search lasted about 13 hours.
The classification level and contents of the material seized was not disclosed.
The Justice Department “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,” Bauer said in a statement.
Investigators also “took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years,” he said.
In a separate statement, Richard Sauber, a White House attorney, said that the Justice Department “conducted a comprehensive search of the president’s Wilmington residence, and it concluded late Friday night.”
“Neither the President nor the First Lady were present during the search,” Sauber added.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Fitzpatrick told CBS News in a statement that the “FBI executed a planned, consensual search of the president’s residence in Wilmington.”
The consensual search was agreed to by the president’s lawyers and U.S. Attorney John Lausch, the federal prosecutor overseeing an initial investigation into the documents matter, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Special counsel Robert Hur, appointed earlier this month by the attorney general, is expected to begin his work by the end of January.
Representatives for Mr. Biden signed a form outlining the parameters of the search including which areas in the president’s home could be swept for papers, the source said. A Justice Department attorney was present at the residence Friday.
This comes after roughly 10 documents bearing classification markings were discovered by Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2. Other records marked classified were also found in the garage at the president’s Wilmington home on Dec. 20, though the White House did not disclose the discovery until last week.
The total number of known classified documents found since November is between 25 and 30, the source familiar with the inquiry said. This total includes those found at the Penn Biden Center and the Wilmington house.
Justice Department officials are also considering the possibility of conducting other consensual searches at locations linked to Mr. Biden, said the source familiar with the investigation.
Mr. Biden told reporters in California Thursday that he “has no regrets” about the handling of the documents that had been discovered. When asked why the White House didn’t disclose the existence of the documents in November, before the midterm elections, he told reporters he thinks they’re going to find out “there’s no there there.”
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Mr. Biden said. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you’re gonna 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.”
Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the family’s Rehoboth Beach house and said they did not find any official documents or classified records.
Bauer said the Justice Department requested that the White House not comment on Friday’s search before it was conducted, and that Mr. Biden’s personal and White House attorneys were present. The FBI, he added, “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.”
“Since the beginning, the President has been committed to handling this responsibly because he takes this seriously,” Sauber said Saturday. “The President’s lawyers and White House Counsel’s Office will continue to cooperate with DOJ and the Special Counsel to help ensure this process is conducted swiftly and efficiently.”
The Biden document discoveries and the investigation into former President Donald Trump, which is in the hands of special counsel Jack Smith, have significant differences. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government. Mr. Biden has made a point of cooperating with the Justice Department probe, though there remain questions about his transparency with the public.
In August, the FBI executed a court-issued search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, recovering more than 100 documents marked classified. The search Friday at the Biden residence did not involve a warrant.
— Adriana Diaz, Arden Farhi and Andy Triay contributed to this report.
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