Biden 'surprised' by secret docs amid calls for 'damage assessment'
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) both asked the administration for more information about the discovery.
President Biden said, on Tuesday, that he was "surprised" to learn that classified documents were taken to his personal office after he left the vice presidency and that he has no idea what is in the records. Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill demanded more information about the discovery that prompted a Justice Department investigation.
“I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office,” Biden said during a news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday evening.
“But I don’t know what’s in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes — they’ve turned over the boxes to the Archives. And we’re cooperating fully — cooperating fully with the review, which I hope will be finished soon, and there will be more detail at that time,” he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Biden explained how the records were discovered, claiming that his lawyers were clearing out his office at the Penn Biden Center when they discovered the documents in a box and "a closed cabinet, or at least a closet."
“And as soon as they did, they realized there were several classified documents in that box,” he said. “And they did what they should have done. They immediately call the Archives.”
What do you need to know?
The classified documents, numbering around ten in total, were discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a downtown Washington institute founded by Biden after leaving the White House in 2017. On November 2, Biden's personal lawyers discovered the records and immediately turned them over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). On Monday, the White House acknowledged its cooperation with the Justice Department.
The classified documents reportedly included memos and briefing materials on Ukraine, Iran, and the UK, which could lead up to the opening of a criminal investigation.
The documents were found at Penn’s Biden Center for Diplomacy in three or four boxes and were dated between 2013 and 2016, a time during which Biden served as Vice-President to former President Barack Obama.
Some of the papers also included unclassified documents that fall under the Presidential Records Act.
Despite the fact that the records were discovered two months ago, it wasn't until Monday that the White House publicly admitted that lawyers had uncovered classified documents and turned them over to the Archives.
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