DOJ may examine classified documents found at Biden Center
“A small number of documents with secret markings” were discovered as Biden’s personal attorneys vacated the offices of the Penn Biden Center.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is reviewing a number of potentially classified documents found in the Washington offices of President Joe Biden’s former institute, the White House said Monday.
The president’s special counsel, Richard Sauber, said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered when Biden’s personal attorneys cleared the offices of the Penn Biden Center, where the president maintained an office after leaving the vice presidency in 2017 just before he launched his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019. The documents were found in a “locked cupboard” in the office on November 2, 2022, said Sauber.
Sauber said the attorneys immediately alerted the White House Office, which notified the National Archives and Records Administration — which took custody of the documents the next day.
“Since this discovery, the president’s personal attorneys have worked with the archives and the Justice Department to ensure that all records of the Obama-Biden administration are properly held in the archives,” Sauber said.
A person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Attorney General Merrick Garland asked US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to review the matter after the archives revealed the referred the matter to the department. Lausch is one of the few U.S. attorneys who were taken over by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
Regardless of the Justice Department’s review, the revelation that Biden may have mishandled classified or presidential records could prove a political issue for the president, who cited Trump’s decision to keep hundreds of such records at his Florida private club “irresponsible.”
Trump chimed in on his social media page Monday, asking, “When will the FBI raid Joe Biden’s many homes, maybe even the White House?”
The revelation comes as Republicans have taken control House of Representatives and promise to launch wide-ranging investigations into the Biden administration.
It could also complicate the Justice Department’s deliberations on filing charges against Trump, who re-bid for the White House in 2024 and has repeatedly claimed that the Department’s investigation of his own conduct amounts to “corruption.”
Rep. James Comer, the new GOP chair of the House Oversight Committee, said Monday the revelation raises questions about the Justice Department’s handling of the Trump investigation.
“Will the White House be searched tonight? Are they going to ambush the Bidens?” he asked reporters. “This is another concern that within the Justice Department there is a two-tier justice system, how they treat Republicans versus Democrats, specifically how they treat the former president versus the current president.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said Monday that the American public deserved an earlier briefing on the disclosure of classified documents.
“They knew about this a week before the election, maybe the American people should have known that,” Jordan told reporters. “They certainly knew about the Mar-a-Lago raid 91 days before this election, but it would be nice if the country had known on November 2 that there were classified documents at the Biden Center.”
Jordan is among House Republicans pushing for the creation of a “select subcommittee to arm the federal government” within the Judiciary Committee.
Votes to establish this committee are expected later this week, leading to a showdown between Republicans and prosecutors leading various federal investigations, including the one against Trump.
The National Archives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. A message seeking comment from the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago was not immediately answered Monday.
CBS was the first to report the discovery of the potentially classified documents.
For months, the Justice Department has been investigating the storage of around 300 documents marked as secret that were seized from the Trumps Florida estate. In that case, prosecutors said, Trump officials resisted calls to return the entire stash of classified documents and failed to fully comply with a subpoena demanding their return.
FBI agents issued a search warrant on the Mar-a-Lago property in August and stole 15 boxes of files.
This investigation is being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Prosecutors have questioned a number of Trump associates and set up a grand jury to hear evidence.
It’s not clear when a decision will be made on whether to impeach Trump or anyone else.
The think tank, officially known as the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and continues to operate independently of the Biden administration.
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/doj-reviewing-possible-classified-documents-biden-center/507-ea9b02e6-04e3-4b07-a599-e39bb0759040 DOJ may examine classified documents found at Biden Center