The revelation comes days after the president’s lawyer claimed that Biden’s lawyers found classified documents in his former Washington office.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s legal team has uncovered additional documents containing classification marks in the second location, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press Wednesday. The revelation comes days after the president’s lawyer said Biden’s lawyers found a “small amount” of classified documents in his former Washington office.
Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that the Justice Department was reviewing “a small number of classified documents” found in the office. Biden’s attorneys found the documents in the Pennsylvania Biden Center office and then immediately called the National Archives about the find, the White House said. Biden retained office there after he stepped down as vice president in 2017 and shortly before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in 2019.
The person who spoke to the AP on Wednesday said the president’s legal team found additional classified material at the second location. The individual was not authorized to publicly discuss the details of the sensitive issue and spoke on condition of anonymity. The person did not say when and where the material was found, as well as specific details about the level of secrecy of the documents.
The report that Biden’s lawyers have discovered additional classified documents comes hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions about Biden’s handling of classified information and how the West Wing is investigating the discovery. She said the White House is looking to resolve the matter “in the right way,” pointing out that Biden’s personal attorneys immediately notified the National Archives.
But she declined to say when Biden himself was briefed, whether there were any more classified documents potentially in other unauthorized locations, or why the White House waited more than two months to reveal the discovery of the original batch of documents that were discovered. November 2, a few days before the midterm elections.
“As my colleagues at the legal adviser said yesterday and told all of you, this is an ongoing process under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, we will be limited in what we can say here,” said Jean-Pierre.
The White House and the Justice Department on Wednesday declined to comment on reports of a second set of classified recordings. This was first reported by NBC News.
The Justice Department is looking into the tapes that were found at the Penn Biden Center, and Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked John Lausch, U.S. Attorney in Chicago, to look into the matter, another person familiar with the matter told the AP this week. The individual was also not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Laush is one of the few U.S. lawyers to have been fired from the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Regardless of the Justice Department’s scrutiny, the discovery that Biden potentially mishandled classified or presidential documents could prove to be a political headache for the president, who called Trump’s decision to store hundreds of such records in his private club in Florida “irresponsible.”
Biden said he was “surprised to learn that there were any government documents that were delivered there to this office,” but his lawyers “did what they had to do” when they called the National Archives immediately.
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee demanded that the US intelligence community conduct a “damage assessment” of potentially classified documents.
The revelation could also complicate the Justice Department’s consideration of whether to indict Trump, a Republican who is trying to retake the White House in 2024 and has repeatedly said the department’s investigation into his own behavior amounted to “corruption.”
There are significant differences between the Trump and Biden situations, including the severity of the ongoing grand jury investigation into Mar-a-Lago.