Justice Department personnel removed six documents from President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware during a search Friday, his lawyers said in a statement Saturday.
Mr Biden’s personal attorney, Robert Bauer, said the president “offered to grant immediate access to his home so that DOJ can search the entire property for possible vice presidential documents and possible classified materials” to ease the investigation into how In his residence and former office ended up with classified documents “forward as soon as possible”.
Mr Bauer said the department was given “full access to the president’s home” and its contents, including “personal handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and mementos going back decades” and noted that the search was not announced in advance at the request of the service “according to its standard procedures”.
“DOJ seized material within the scope of its investigation, including six items consisting of classification-marked documents and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and others from his tenure as Vice President . Bauer said, adding that officials also removed “personal handwritten notes” from Mr Biden’s time as vice president “for further review.”
The president’s attorney said the search began at about 9:45 a.m. Friday and ended at 10:30 p.m. the same day after officials searched “all work, living, and storage areas in the home.”
Although Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys and attorneys from the White House law firm were present during the search, Mr. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were not present. The president spent most of his day Friday at the White House and spends the weekend at his vacation home in Rehobobo Beach, Delaware.
Mr Bauer said the president’s legal team “has sought to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established standards and constraints necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation” and pledged to “continue to do so do” in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice.
Richard Sauber, a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office who serves as special counsel to the president, said in a separate statement that Mr. Biden has instructed his personal legal team to “cooperate fully” with the department’s investigation, and stressed that collaboration has been the rule since “a small number of materials” were found in Mr Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington.
“His team voluntarily and promptly disclosed the initial discovery to the records and subsequent discoveries to DOJ, as is proper protocol. The president has been committed to handling this responsibly from the beginning because he takes this seriously,” he said. “The President’s attorneys and White House counsel will continue to work with DOJ and the Special Counsel to ensure that this process proceeds swiftly and efficiently.”
The search by Justice Department personnel comes just a week after the White House and Mr. Bauer revealed the discovery of five additional pages of classification markers in Mr. Biden’s old abode.
Last week Mr Sauber said Mr Biden’s personal lawyers discovered a single page of such markings while searching a box of documents in a “room adjacent to the garage” where Mr Biden keeps his prized 1967 Corvette Stingray .
He added that the lawyers, who do not have security clearances, stopped searching the documents after discovering the first page, saying he found the extra pages while overseeing the handing over of the first page to officials of the Justice Department whom he had accompanied to Wilmington.
The discovery of material dating back to when Biden served as a senior senator of the First State raises the possibility that the investigation now overseen by Special Counsel Robert Hur will examine Biden’s dealings with classified material in general, not just how documents with secret markings ended up. in his former office and private home.
The removal of handwritten notes from his time as vice president may also indicate that Mr. Biden or his staff may not have properly accounted for notes taken during meetings discussing classified information. In general, secret meeting notes are also considered secret and should be stored and handled in the same way as printed documents with formal classification markings.