DOJ reviewing potentially classified documents at Biden center: WH
The special counsel to Biden says a small number of classified documents were discovered at the President's office at the Penn Biden Center.
The White House confirmed on Monday that the US Justice Department is reviewing a batch of potentially classified documents found in the office space of President Joe Biden's former institute in Washington.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, indicated that "a small number of documents with classified markings" were discovered when the President's personal attorneys were emptying the offices of the Penn Biden Center, where Biden kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.
According to Sauber, the documents were found on November 2, 2022, in a "locked closet" in the office, adding that Biden's attorneys immediately alerted the White House Counsel's office, who in turn notified the National Archives and Records Administration, which took custody of the documents the following day.
"Since that discovery, the President's personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives," Sauber noted.
CBS News, which reported first on the documents, cited two sources with knowledge of the inquiry as saying that roughly 10 classified documents were found.
The sources told CBS that the documents were contained in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified papers.
A source familiar with the documents told CBS they did not contain nuclear secrets. Another source familiar said Biden is unaware of the documents' content.
The Associated Press cited a person who is familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly as saying that Attorney General Merrick Garland asked US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John Lausch, to review the matter after the Archives referred the issue to the Department.
According to the news agency, Lausch was appointed to his post by former President Donald Trump.
CNN said the classified materials included some top-secret files labeled as "sensitive compartmented information," also known as SCI, which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources.
Biden ignored shouted questions from reporters on the documents at a summit in Mexico City on Monday evening, CNN said.
The Penn Biden Center case echoed the FBI's August raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, which recovered more than 300 classified documents that were once in Trump's possession.
Commenting on the matter, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy described the recovery of documents as "very concerning".
"He's had these classified [documents], and what has he said about the other president with classified documents?" McCarthy said as quoted by CBS, referring to Biden's comments on the documents recovered at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.
"How that could possibly happen? How anyone could be that irresponsible," Biden reacted in September on a photo showing the documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago.
"And it just — totally irresponsible," he added.
On his part, Rep. James Comer, the incoming House Oversight Committee chairman, said he wanted to know whether Biden will be treated the same way that Trump was treated, adding, "What's the difference in what President Trump did versus what we now know President Biden did."
"It's always one set of rules for President Trump — they literally raided his home 91 days before the midterm election — and a different standard it seems with President Biden. So, we'll go from there," said incoming House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan.
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