A collection of records from President Joe Biden’s time serving as Vice President, including a “small number of documents with classified markings,” were discovered at the Penn Biden Center by Biden’s personal attorneys on November 2, according to the special counsel to the White House, Richard Saubel.
Attorneys found the documents stored in a locked closet while preparing to move out of office space at the center, which the president used from midway through 2017 until he started his 2020 campaign.
The National Archives took possession of the documents on November 3 after they were notified of the finding.
“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives,” said Saubel in a statement. “Since that discovery, the President’s attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in possession of the Archives.”
According to CBS News, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. CBS first reported on the discovery of the documents on Monday.
The president slammed former President Donald Trump last year after agents from the FBI seized approximately 300 classified documents from his Florida Mar-a-Lago home.
“How that could possibly happen? How could anyone be that irresponsible? And I thought what data was in there that would maybe compromise sources and methods?” said Biden to 60 Minutes. “And it just — totally irresponsible.”
Presidential documents must be turned over to the National Archives
All documents from a president’s staff and administration must be turned over to the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act. Former assistant U.S. attorney and chief to the DOJ’s public integrity section, Jack Smith, was appointed as special counsel to investigate the records seized from former President Trump.
Former President Trump launched his 2024 bid for the presidency in November and has stated he’ll refuse to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” questioned Trump on Truth Social Monday. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Republican Representative James Comer of Kentucky, said he would send a letter to the White House counsel and National Archives seeking information about the documents seized from the Penn Biden Center.
“Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Justice and National Archives have made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority,” said Comer in a statement. “We expect the same treatment for President Biden, who has apparently inappropriately maintained classified documents in an insecure setting for several years.”
The Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement is interconnected with the University of Pennsylvania but opened its doors in February 2018 in Washington, D.C.