With President Biden facing scrutiny over his handling of classified documents, the White House said Thursday it is confident an independent review will show the documents were ‘inadvertently misplaced.’
President Biden acknowledged Thursday morning that a document with classified markings from his time as vice president was found in his personal library, along with other documents found in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware home where he stored his Corvette.
The acknowledgment came after Monday’s disclosure that another batch of sensitive documents were found at the office of his former institute in Washington.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed Robert Hur, the former Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Maryland, as special counsel to investigate the documents.
Richard Sauber, Special Counsel to President Biden, said the president ‘takes classified information and materials seriously.’
‘[W]e have cooperated from the moment we informed the [National] Archives that a small number of documents were found, and we will continue to cooperate,’ Sauber said in a statement. ‘We have cooperated closely with the Justice Department throughout its review, and we will continue that cooperation with the Special Counsel.’
He added: ‘We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the President and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.’
Biden’s lawyers found the first set of documents in a locked closet in the offices of the Biden Penn Center in Washington on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, but publicly revealed that development only on Monday.
Sauber said that after Biden’s personal lawyers found the initial documents, they examined other locations where records might have been shipped after Biden left the vice presidency in 2017.
Biden did not say when the latest documents were found at his home, only that his lawyers’ review of potential storage locations was completed Wednesday night.
Sauber said a ‘small number’ with classified markings were found in a storage space in Biden’s garage in Wilmington, with one document being located in an adjacent room. Biden later revealed that the other location was his personal library.
Garland said Biden attorneys located documents in the Wilmington garage on Dec. 20 and that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took custody of them shortly thereafter. The Justice Department was informed only on Thursday of the latest found by Biden’s lawyers.
The appointment of yet another special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents is a remarkable turn of events, legally and politically, for a Justice Department that has spent months looking into the retention by Donald Trump of more than 300 documents with classification markings found at the former president’s Florida estate.
The revelation that additional classified documents were uncovered by Biden’s team came hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions about Biden’s handling of classified information and the West Wing’s management of the discovery.
She had said Wednesday that the White House was committed to handling the matter in the ‘right way,’ pointing to Biden’s personal attorneys’ immediate notification of the National Archives.
But she refused to say when Biden himself had been briefed, whether there were any more classified documents potentially located at other unauthorized locations, and why the White House waited more than two months to reveal the discovery of the initial batch of documents.
Biden has said he was ‘surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office’ but his lawyers ‘did what they should have done’ when they immediately called the National Archives.
In 2022, Biden shamed former President Trump as ‘irresponsible’ over the handling of classified documents found at his home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.