Biden’s legal team found another batch of government records as they searched the second location
President Joe Biden’s legal team found another batch of government records while searching the second location, according to people briefed on the matter.
The discovery came during a search after the initial discovery in November of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president at his former adviser’s office. One of the sources said that effort led to the discovery of additional documents of interest to federal officials looking into the matter.
NBC first reported the batch of new documents and said they included classified documents.
The discovery of classified documents in November set off alarm bells inside the White House, where only a small group of advisers and lawyers knew about the matter. An effort has been launched to find other locations that may have stored documents from Biden’s vice presidency.
The White House declined to comment on the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday, the White House declined to answer several key questions about documents classified from BidenHis time as vice president was discovered inside a private office last fall, citing the Justice Department’s review.
The documents were discovered on November 2, just six days before the midterm elections, but the president’s lawyers only publicly acknowledged the discovery of the documents on Monday – as the news reports about this finding is made.
Government documents were found while closing a Washington, DC-based office – the Penn Biden Center for Global Affairs and Engagement. Items discovered includes 10 classified documents including US intelligence memos and summary documents on topics including Ukraine, Iran and the UK, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Biden said Tuesday that he was unaware that certain classified documents had been brought to his private office after he left the vice presidency and that his lawyers “did what they should have done.” ” by immediately contacting the National Archives and Records Administration after the documents were found in November.
The president said the documents were found in “a box, a locked cabinet — or at least a closet.”
However, key questions about the situation remain unanswered.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to answer some questions about the documents, citing the Justice Department’s ongoing review of the matter. She could not say who brought the documents into the office or whether other documents were found. She also could not say whether an audit was underway to locate other possible documents or when the president had been notified of the discovery of those documents.
Nor can she guarantee that there are not any additional confidential documents in any other office.
“This is being reviewed by the Department of Justice. I will not go further than what the president shared yesterday,” Jean-Pierre said, repeating the multi-word explanation during Wednesday’s press conference. “I will not go beyond what my colleagues at the White House counsel have shared with all of you.”
The situation has drawn criticism from Republicans, who say the federal government has set a political double standard in its approach to mishandled documents. But there is a stark contrast between the emerging scenario with Biden and the ongoing story with former President Donald Trump – who, for example, has refused to turn over documents in his possession. Multiple sources say Trump’s legal team now believes they would benefit from the revelation that Biden was in possession of classified documents after he left office.
On Wednesday, Jean-Pierre was unable to answer key questions about why Biden or his attorneys did not disclose the finding to the public sooner, especially before the election. election in 2022.
Jean-Pierre has said that she spoke to Biden about the ongoing story while they were traveling in Mexico earlier this week. But she said she did not speak to the president about the documents.
Emphasizing whether the way the situation unfolded undermines the president’s long-standing public commitment to transparency, Jean-Pierre replied: “When his lawyers realized that the assets documents were there, they turned them over to the Archives. They did the right thing.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the US attorney in Chicago to look into the matter, a source familiar with the matter told CNN, a process that is still in its preliminary stages.
That US attorney, John Lausch Jr., has completed the first part of his investigation, a source familiar with his work told CNN. He provided his preliminary findings to Garland, the source said.
That means Garland now faces an important decision about how to proceed, including whether to open a full-fledged criminal investigation. Garland was also directly involved in several key decision-making processes related to the investigation of Trump’s documents and the decision to send the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago.
Trump’s legal team has separately argued that the disclosure of documents in Biden’s possession leaves Garland in a difficult position in deciding whether to appoint a special counsel.
While Republicans and Trump allies draw comparisons between the two, Trump has hundreds of documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and resists government efforts to get them back. while Biden’s attorneys turned over the documents the day after finding them. However, Trump’s legal team discussed the matter internally and ultimately believe it will help their legal case, including their argument about the ease with which former presidents obtain financial documents. whether they are classified as confidential when they leave office.
“This is huge for us,” a source close to the legal team told CNN.
A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio told CNN that the White House is also facing bipartisan scrutiny from the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose heads sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence. expert Avril Haines requested access to documents found at Biden’s private office.
The letter from Rubio and the committee’s chairman, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, also asked the DNI to provide a damage assessment as well as a summary of both documents found at Biden’s office and those found at Biden’s office. data obtained from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the spokesman added.
Warner and Rubio submitted an almost identical request for information after the Mar-a-Lago raid.