Biden marvels at government records found by his attorney


President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he was surprised to be told that his lawyers had found government files at his former office in Washington. He was asked about the issue after the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee asked US intelligence to conduct a “damage assessment” of potentially classified documents.

Speaking to reporters in Mexico City, Biden said his attorneys “did what they should have done” when they immediately called the National Archives about the find at the Penn Center office. Biden. He held an office there after leaving his post as vice president in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.

The White House confirmed that the Justice Department was reviewing “a handful of potentially classified documents” found at the office.

“I was briefed on this discovery and was surprised to learn that any government files were forwarded to that office,” Biden said in his first comments since the news. about the November 2, 2022 documentary discovery that appeared on Monday. He added that “I don’t know what’s in the document” and his lawyer has suggested he don’t ask.

Earlier Tuesday, Representative Mike Turner sent a request to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, saying Biden’s retention of documents made him “likely to violate national security laws, including including the Espionage Act and the Presidential Records Act.”

Regardless of the federal review, the revelation that Biden has the potential to mishandle classified or presidential records could cause a political headache for the president, who called former President Donald Trump’s decision Trump about keeping hundreds of such records at his private club in Florida “irresponsible.”

“Those who are granted access to classified information have a duty and an obligation to protect that information,” Turner wrote in a letter to Haines. “This issue requires a full and thorough review.”

On Tuesday, Representative James Comer, the new GOP Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent the White House Counsel’s office a letter requesting copies of documents found at Biden’s office, contact information about the discovery and a list of people who may have had access to the office where they were found. The White House did not immediately respond to the request.

Haines agreed in September to conduct a “risk assessment” rather than a “damage assessment” on the Trump case.

There are significant differences between Trump and Biden’s situations, including the severity of the ongoing grand jury investigation into the Mar-a-Lago matter. The intelligence risk assessment for Trump documents is to examine the seized records for classification as well as “potential risk to national security posed by the disclosure of related documents.”

Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Democratic Senate Intelligence Committee, called for a press conference on the documents.

“Our classification system exists to protect our most important national security secrets, and we look forward to a brief summary of what happened in both Mar-a,” he said. -Lago and at the Biden office as part of our constitutional oversight obligations. “From what we know so far, the second thing is to find the documents with the markings and turn them over, which is certainly different from the months-long effort to retain the document that is being actively pursued by the government. looking. But again, that’s why we need to be informed.”

Presidential special counsel Richard Sauber said Monday that after Biden’s attorneys found the files, they notified the National Archives and Records Administration, which has kept keep the documents for the next day.

“Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have partnered with the Archives and the Department of Justice on a process to ensure that all Obama-Biden Administration records are in the possession of the Agency. the Archives,” said Sauber.

A person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Attorney General Merrick Garland asked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to look into the matter after the Archives referred the matter. This topic is up. Lausch is one of the few US attorneys retained by the Trump administration.

Trump weighed in on Monday on his social media site, asking: “When will the FBI raid more Joe Biden homes, maybe even the White House?”

Republicans have just taken control of the House of Representatives and are promising broad investigations into the Biden administration.

The revelation could also further complicate the Justice Department’s consideration of whether to bring charges against Trump, who is trying to win back the White House in 2024 and has repeatedly announced his investigation. ministry about his own behavior as “corrupt”.

The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. Spokesmen for Garland and Lausch declined to comment.

Comer also sent a letter to the National Archives requesting records and correspondence regarding the discovery of Biden’s documents, asserting that “NARA’s inconsistent handling of The recovery of classified files held by former Presidents Trump and President Biden has raised questions about political bias at the agency.”

His Democratic partner, Representative Jamie Raskin, said Biden’s attorneys “appear to have taken immediate and proper action.”

“I am confident that the attorney general has taken the appropriate steps to ensure careful consideration of the circumstances surrounding the possession and discovery of these documents and to make an impartial decision regarding any action. other may be needed,” he added.

Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said Monday that the American public deserves to know sooner about the classified documents.

“They knew about this a week before the election, maybe the American people should know about it,” Jordan told reporters. “They certainly knew about the raid on Mar-a-Lago 91 days before this election, but it would be great if by November 2 the whole country would know that there were classified documents at the Biden Center.”

Jordan is among House Republicans pushing for the creation of a “selective subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government” on the Judiciary Committee.

It is not clear why the White House did not disclose the discovery of the documents or the DOJ’s review sooner. CBS was the first to report on Monday the discovery of potentially classified documents.

The Justice Department for months has been investigating the retention of about 300 documents that were flagged as classified and were recovered from Trump’s Florida estate. In that case, prosecutors said, Trump’s representatives denied their request to return all classified documents and did not fully comply with the subpoena asking them to return them.

FBI agents in August executed a search warrant at the Mar-a-Lago resort, taking away 33 boxes and containers.

That investigation is being led by special counsel Jack Smith. Prosecutors interviewed a series of Trump associates and used a grand jury to hear evidence.

Democrats made a similar request to the director of national intelligence in August following the search for Mar-a-Lago. Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Adam Schiff, who later led the House Intelligence and Oversight Committee, asked Haines to “review and assess the damage immediately”, alleging that Trump “has the ability to place our national security at serious risk.”

Intelligence officials are said to have failed to notify Congress of their assessment in the four months since, according to public statements from lawmakers. Haines noted in his letter that any risk assessment would not “unduly interfere” with the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

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