More classified Obama administration documents were found at President Joe Biden’s Delaware residence this week — in addition to the two batches that were previously disclosed — the White House said Saturday.
That brings the total batch of records found to three: a “small” number in a Washington office used by Biden, another in his home garage, and finally, six pages in a room adjacent to the garage.
The findings emerged last week — starting on Monday, followed by an acknowledgment on Thursday and then the announcement on Saturday — fueling Biden’s critics and causing alarm among his allies that his office has no handle on the issue.
White House counsel Richard Sauber discovered the latest documents on Thursday in a box initially discovered by the president’s personal lawyers on Wednesday.
The White House revealed earlier this week that Biden’s attorneys discovered a page with classified marks in a room adjacent to the garage of his Delaware home.
“The President’s personal attorneys discovered a confidentially marked document consisting of one page in a room adjacent to the garage. At that point, the President’s personal attorneys stopped searching the immediate area where the document was found,” Sauber said.
He said he went through the box on Thursday, found five more documents with classification markings, and immediately turned them over to Justice Department officials.
“Since I have a security clearance, I went to Wilmington Thursday night to facilitate the delivery of the document that the President’s personal attorney found Wednesday to the Department of Justice,” Sauber said. “While I was transferring it to the accompanying DOJ officers, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officers with me immediately took possession of them.”
He added, “The President’s attorneys acted immediately and voluntarily to provide the Penn Biden papers to the Archives and the Wilmington papers to the DOJ.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday announced the appointment of Robert Hur to serve as special counsel to review classified materials found at Biden’s home and in an office he used in Washington. Management will now refer specific questions to the special counsel’s office, Sauber said on Saturday.
The White House said earlier this week that Biden’s lawyers found a “small” number of classified documents from his time as vice president in a locked cabinet Nov. 2 at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington. One of the documents was marked Top Secret/Sensitive Compartimented Information, the highest level of classification in the US government, NBC News found.
NBC News reported on Wednesday that Biden aides uncovered an additional batch of classified records — which was confirmed by Garland on Thursday when he announced the special counsel.
“We are confident that a full review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the President and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovering this error,” Sauber said in an earlier statement.
Biden said his team is cooperating fully with the DOJ review and that he looks forward to speaking more on the matter “shortly.”
The president and his aides declined to answer questions about the content of the documents. “There is a process here. The Department of Justice is independent. We respect that process,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. said friday.
Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal attorney, said in a statement on Saturday that his team followed existing procedures for handling confidential documents. When a document with classified markings is discovered, the search should be suspended and the materials left where they were found, he added.
“The President’s personal counsel tried to balance the importance of public transparency, where appropriate, with the established standards and limitations necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Bauer said. “These considerations require avoiding the public release of details relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.”
Since the first batch of documents were uncovered this week, Biden allies have argued that this case differs from the ongoing criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s possession of classified records at his Florida home.
Their hope is that voters will see the distinction: Biden returned the documents as soon as they were discovered, while Trump failed to fully comply with a subpoena and withheld some, triggering a search warrant executed in Mar-a-Lago in August. Biden appeared unaware that confidential documents had been removed from his office, while Trump, they argue, asked that the documents be removed from the White House.