The Justice Department uncovered additional documents, including some with classified marks, at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington residence after a thorough search of the property on Friday, the president’s attorney said Saturday night, a discovery that will almost certainly attract more attention. criticism and scrutiny from Republican legislators.
The search was carried out by FBI agents after the president voluntarily offered access to the property, said his personal attorney, Bob Bauer.
Investigators seized at least six more items with classified marks — spanning Biden’s eight years as vice president and his tenure as a U.S. senator — along with additional materials, including several handwritten notes from Biden’s time as vice president.
The search lasted nearly 13 hours and investigators were given full access to “all work, living and storage spaces in the home,” the president’s attorney said.
Bauer added that voluntary access to the president’s home was offered to help move the investigation into the matter “as quickly as possible.”
US Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed the development late Saturday, saying the FBI had executed a “planned and consensual search of the President’s Wilmington residence.”
Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed US Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to oversee the investigation into the handling of sensitive government records. Confidential documents from Biden’s tenure as vice president were first uncovered at the Biden Penn Center in November. Additional documents were also found at Biden’s Wilmington residence in December and January. In both cases, aides to the president said the documents were immediately returned to the National Archives. Hur is expected to take over the investigation of Biden’s documents soon, but it’s unclear how long that will take and whether the DOJ believes Biden violated any 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 mishandling of confidential documents. Republican lawmakers, however, have indicated they will open 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.) also demanded that the White House share visitor records to Biden’s Wilmington home.
While Friday’s search came after a voluntary bid by Biden’s legal team, the FBI’s involvement and the search of the president’s personal residence will likely draw comparisons to the search of former President Donald J. Trump’s estate in Mar. -a-Lago last year. . Biden officials and even the president himself, however, have argued that their situation is very different from Trump’s, pointing to their cooperation with the Department of Justice in the investigation. Despite this, Trump and his aides maintained that Biden was receiving favorable treatment from the DOJ, with the former president even asking at one point, “When is the FBI going to raid Joe Biden’s many homes, maybe even the White House?”
Despite Trump’s claims, however, there appear to be some key differences between the two cases, with the search of Trump’s property coming months after he and his team refused to comply with a subpoena demanding the records be returned. Trump and his aides also insisted there was no wrongdoing on the former president’s part, as he secretly declassified all documents in his possession. While a president has broad powers to declassify government documents, they are required to follow a formal process to do so. There is no evidence that such a process was followed.
FBI searched Biden’s home and found items marked classified (Associated Press)
Oversight House Speaker Demands Biden Home Visitor Records As GOP Pledges to Investigate Classified Documents (Forbes)