White House: No classified documents found at Biden’s beach house
Washington, Feb 1 (EFE).- The FBI has not found any classified documents in its Wednesday search of a beach house owned by President Joe Biden, the president’s White House attorney said.
“No documents with classified markings were found” in the search, White House counsel Bob Bauer in a statement adding that the search was undertaken between 8:30 am and noon.
After the search of the beach house, the DOJ took several notes that had been handwritten by Biden, along with other materials, for “further review,” Bauer said.
The White House counsel had reported earlier on Wednesday that the Department of Justice was conducting a new search at one of Biden’s homes to try and locate any classified documents that might be there.
“The search today is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate,” said Bauer in a statement regarding the FBI search at the president’s beach house at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The search was done “Under DOJ’s standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity,” Bauer said, adding that the FBI “sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate.”
Although no classified documents have been found so far at the beach house, several documents with classified markings were found at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and at his private office at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington.
In January, it emerged that in November 2022 the president’s own legal team had found sensitive and classified documents dating to the 2009-2017 period when Biden had served as Barack Obama’s vice president and from the 1973-2009 period when he had served as a US senator from Delaware.
Since then, the administration has announced several times that several more documents bearing classified markings have been found in Biden’s possession. On Jan. 12, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel, conservative former DOJ official Robert Hur, to examine all the classified papers.
A few days ago, it also came to light that a few more such documents had been found at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence, a situation that, when added to the hundreds of classified documents found in former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and resort, forced the US National Archives to ask all ex-presidents and ex-vice presidents to review their personal papers to determine if confidential documents – which are the property of the federal government and not of the former officials themselves – could be among them.
“The responsibility to comply with the (Presidential Records Act) does not diminish after the end of an administration,” said the National Archives in its letter to the former officials.
Both the White House and Biden himself have said from the start that they are being completely transparent and are fully ready and willing to cooperate in the DOJ’s search for more documents, and they have tried to distinguish the case from that of the classified documents that Trump refused to turn over despite many government requests to do so and which were later seized by the FBI in a raid at Mar-a-Lago.
Meanwhile, Biden’s defenders have said that the FBI has not yet searched Trump’s New York and New Jersey properties.
Both Biden and Pence have said they were unaware that any classified documents were in their possession until their attorneys came across them after Trump was found to have removed more than 300 classified documents upon leaving office.