More classified documents were found this week at President Joe Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Delaware, his attorney announced on Saturday, as a special counsel investigates the mishandling of confidential documents that has become an increasingly bigger story this week.
White House lawyer Richard Sauber said in a statement on Saturday he found an additional five pages of classified documents while he was transporting a classified document the president’s personal attorneys found earlier this week at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, to the Department of Justice, bringing the total number of classified materials found at his home this week to six.
Sauber reiterated on Saturday the Biden Administration has been complying with the Department of Justice and special counsel Robert Hur, a former U.S. attorney who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday to oversee the department’s investigation.
He did not provide details about the contents of the new documents, and said Hur’s office will handle all questions moving forward.
The statement comes five days after CNN reported classified documents had been discovered in Biden’s private office, with Sauber admitting the president’s personal attorneys found a “small number” of classified documents from the Obama-Biden Administration in a locked closet while they were vacating office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
Those materials reportedly include intelligence memos and briefing materials regarding Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom.
Typically, classified documents must be stored in what is called a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF)—the locked cabinet and locked garage do not qualify as such.
So far, multiple aides who worked for Biden during the last days of the Obama Administration have been questioned by federal authorities as to how sensitive documents could have ended up at the president’s home.
The investigation will also look into how the documents were handled and packed and who was in charge of the transfer of the documents.
Garland said earlier this week he chose Hur, a former prosecutor under the Trump administration, as special counsel in order to “examine possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered” according to an order signed by the attorney general.
Biden expressed shock earlier this week that classified documents made it to his personal office and emphasized that he did not know the exact content of the documents when questioned at a press conference in Mexico.
“I don’t think Biden has legal worries here, I don’t think he has political worries,” Brian Fallon, a former advisor to former President Bill Clinton who worked at the DOJ, told The Washington Post. “The main benefit [for Republicans] is Trump is breathing a sigh of relief because it makes it hard for Merrick Garland to authorize a prosecution of Donald Trump, even if it is merited.”
The news of classified documents found in Biden’s private office and home has Republicans questioning why the sensitive documents were not in a secure facility. Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio) wrote a letter to Garland saying, “The presence of classified information at these separate locations could implicate President Joe Biden in the mishandling, potential misuse, and exposure of classified information.” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) also issued a statement saying the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability would investigate, regardless of the special counsel, the mishandling of classified documents and why it was reported months after the fact.
Classified documents differ from one another and there are big differences in how they are classified as defined by a 2009 executive order signed by former President Obama. The lowest level, “confidential,” states that information disclosed would cause “damage to national security.” The next level, “secret,” states that information disclosed could pose “serious damage” to national security. The highest level of classification, “top secret,” is information that if disclosed can lead to “grave damage” of national security and is of the highest importance. It is unknown what level of classification the documents found in Biden’s personal D.C. office and home are.
Trump Document Comparison
Biden keeping classified documents has led to comparison with former President Trump’s ongoing investigation in which hundreds of classified documents ended up in Florida at Mar-a-Lago, his residency and private club. The two cases differ as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) noticed in spring of 2021 that important presidential documents were missing and were met with resistance from Trump’s team in getting the documents back. This led to an FBI raid of the club in order to retrieve the documents back from Trump and an ongoing investigation of the mishandling of the classified documents. Biden’s team reportedly found the documents of their own accord and immediately notified NARA and are said to be a “small number” of documents.
Special Counsel Appointed To Investigate Biden’s Handling Of Classified Material (Forbes)
Second Set Of Classified Documents Found At Biden’s Home (Forbes)
Who Is Robert Hur, The Special Counsel Investigating Biden’s Classified Documents? (Forbes)