The FBI searched the Biden home and found other classified items

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday and found more documents with classified markings and also took possession of some of his handwritten notes, the president’s attorney said Saturday.

The President voluntarily let the FBI into his home, but the lack of a search warrant did not cloud the extraordinary nature of the search. It added to the embarrassment for Biden that began with the Jan. 12 revelation that the president’s attorneys had found a “small number” of classified records in a former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington just before the midterm elections. Since then, attorneys have found six secret documents from Biden’s time as vice president in Biden’s home library in Wilmington.

Though Biden has claimed “there’s nothing there,” the discoveries have become a political liability as he prepares to launch a re-election bid and undermine his efforts to educate the American public after his predecessor’s tumultuous presidency to convey decency. donald trump

During Friday’s search, which lasted nearly 13 hours, the FBI took six items containing documents with classified markings, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney. The items included Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, he said. The level of classification and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified was not immediately clear when the Justice Department reviewed the records.

Assistant US Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed Saturday that the FBI conducted “a planned consensual search” of the president’s residence in Wilmington.

The President and First Lady Jill Biden were not at the home during the search. They spent the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to California on Thursday, Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looks forward to resolving this quickly.”

“We found that a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said. “We immediately turned them over to the archives and the Department of Justice.”

It remains to be seen whether further searches by federal officials will be carried out in other locations. Biden’s personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they found no official documents or classified records.

The Biden probe has also complicated the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of marked records when he left the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government, and that she had to obtain a search warrant to retrieve them.

Bauer said the FBI asked the White House not to comment on the search before it was conducted and that Biden’s personal and White House attorneys were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the President’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and memories dating back decades.”

The Justice Department, he added, “took possession of materials it deemed pertinent to its investigation, including six items consisting of documents with non-disclosure markings and surrounding materials, some from the President’s Senate service and others from his.” tenure as Vice President.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland US Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate possible wrongdoing related to the Biden documents. Hur is set to replace Trump-appointed US Attorney John Lausch in Illinois overseeing the investigation.

“The President made a commitment from the start to be responsible about this because he takes this seriously,” White House Attorney Richard Sauber said on Saturday. “The President’s attorneys and the White House Office will continue to work with the DOJ and the Special Counsel to ensure this process is conducted quickly and efficiently.”

The discoveries of the Biden document and the investigation into Trump, which is in the hands of Special Counsel Jack Smith, differ significantly. Biden has made a point of working with the DOJ investigation at every turn — and Friday’s search was voluntary — though questions remain about his transparency with the public.

For a criminal offense to have been committed, an individual would have to “knowingly remove” the documents without authorization and intend to keep them in an “unauthorized place”. Biden said he was “surprised” that classified documents at the Penn Biden Center were uncovered.

In principle, classified documents must be released after a maximum of 25 years. However, some records are so valuable that they remain secret for much longer, although certain exceptions must be granted. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009.