DOJ finds more classified documents after searching Biden’s Wilmington home

DOJ finds more classified documents after searching Biden’s Wilmington home

DOJ finds more classified documents after searching Biden’s Wilmington home

top line

The Justice Department uncovered additional documents, including some with secret markings, at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington residence after a thorough search of the property on Friday, the president’s attorney said Saturday night, a finding that almost certainly will draw more criticism and scrutiny will provoke the Republican legislature.

Important facts

The search was conducted by FBI agents after the president voluntarily offered access to the property, his personal attorney Bob Bauer said.

Investigators seized at least six other items with secret markings – dating back to Biden’s eight years as vice president and his tenure as a US Senator – along with additional material, including several handwritten notes from Biden’s time as vice president.

The search lasted nearly 13 hours and investigators had full access to “every work, living and storage space in the home,” the president’s attorney said.

Bauer added that voluntary access to the President’s home was offered to advance the investigation into the issue “as soon as possible.”

US Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick later confirmed the development Saturday, saying the FBI conducted a “planned consensual search of the president’s residence in Wilmington.”

key background

Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed US Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to oversee investigations into the handling of sensitive government records. Secret documents from Biden’s tenure as vice president were first discovered at the Biden Penn Center in November. Other such documents were also found at Biden’s Wilmington residence in December and January. In both cases, the president’s aides said the documents were promptly returned to the National Archives. Hur is expected to soon take over the investigation of the Biden documents, but it is unclear how long that and the investigation will take and whether the DOJ believes Biden broke laws by having the documents in his possession. It is also unclear what impact this case will have on the ongoing investigation into Trump’s alleged misuse of secret documents. However, Republican lawmakers have indicated they will launch their own investigation into Biden’s handling of the documents, with the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee demanding multiple documents from the DOJ and Garland. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has also requested that the White House share visitor logs for Biden’s Wilmington home.

tangent

Although Friday’s search came after a voluntary offer from Biden’s legal team, the FBI’s involvement and search of the president’s personal residence will likely draw comparisons to former President Donald J. Trump’s search of the Mar-a-Lago estate last year lead year . However, Biden’s staff and even the President himself have argued that his situation is very different from Trump’s, citing their cooperation with the Justice Department in the investigation. Despite this, Trump and his associates have claimed that Biden received preferential treatment from the DOJ, with the former president once asking, “When will the FBI raid Joe Biden’s many homes, maybe even the White House?”

news peg

Despite Trump’s claims, however, there appear to be some key differences between the two cases, as the search of Trump’s property came months after he and his team refused to comply with a subpoena demanding the records be returned. Trump and his associates have also insisted that the former president committed no wrongdoing as he secretly declassified every document in his possession. While a president has broad powers to declassify government documents, he must follow a formal process to do so. There is no evidence that such a procedure was carried out.

Further reading

FBI searched Biden’s home and found items marked as classified (Associated Press)

Home Oversight Chairman Demands Visitor Logs From Biden’s Home As GOP Pledges To Inspect Classified Documents (Forbes)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *