WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden’s special counsel has said that five additional pages with classified markings were discovered at the president’s Delaware home on Thursday, and they were immediately handed over to Department of Justice officials.
Richard Sauber said on Saturday that during his visit to Biden’s home in Wilmington on Thursday to facilitate the handover of a document with classified markings that was found there earlier, additional documents were found.
“While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them,” Sauber said in a statement.
The White House had said previously that only a single page was found during a search of Biden’s private library.
In December, documents were found in Biden’s garage and in November, they were found at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, from his time as vice president.
Biden’s legal team acknowledged this week it had found classified documents relating to his time as vice president in the Obama administration at his Delaware home, including some in his garage.
President’s personal lawyers were going through his things, when “they saw a document marked classified”, Patty Culhane said reporting from Washington, DC.
“Because they [lawyers] didn’t have clearance to look at any secret or top secret information, they shut the box, shut the room, notified the Department of Justice,” Culhane explained.
However, Sauber had the clearance to look at the classified documents and he went to Biden’s home on Thursday to hand over the documents to the department.
During the visit, they “found five additional documents with those classification marks”, Culhane said.
“What he doesn’t say is what kind of classification” as in the US government, there are three types’ confidential, secret and top secret.
The apparent mishandling of classified documents and official records from the Obama administration are under investigation by a former US attorney, Robert Hur, who was appointed as a special counsel on Thursday by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Sauber added that Biden’s lawyer acted “immediately and voluntarily” to hand over all the documents found to the proper authorities.
“We have now publicly released specific details about the documents identified, how they were identified, and where they were found. The appointment of the special counsel in this matter this week means we will now refer specific questions to the special counsel’s office moving forward. As I said Thursday, the White House will cooperate with the newly appointed special counsel,” he said.
Biden responded to journalists questioning the wisdom of storing important material in the garage.
“It’s not like they’re sitting out in the street,” he said. “People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously.”
On Friday, the Republicans in the House of Representatives launched a probe into the Department of Justice’s handling of improperly stored classified documents possessed by Biden, questioning whether his son, Hunter, had access to any.
Republicans have also sought to compare the probe of Biden’s handling of classified documents with the continuing investigation into how former President Donald Trump handled classified documents after his presidency but the White House has underscored that the two cases are different as Biden and his team are cooperating with the authorities and had turned over the classified material while Trump had resisted doing so until an FBI search at this Florida home in August.
The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked by reporters on Thursday whether Biden could guarantee that additional classified documents would not turn up in a further search.
“You should assume that it’s been completed, yes,” she said.
Sauber reiterated on Saturday that the White House would cooperate with Hur’s investigation.
Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, said his legal team has “attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity”. (Int’l News Desk)