“Classified” documents from Joe Biden’s vice presidency have been discovered at a think tank affiliated with the current president. It is the same alleged ‘crime’ that triggered that FBI’s Mar-a-Lago on former President Donald Trump.
As reported by CBS News, the documents have prompted a “review” from a U.S. attorney’s office.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington,” CBS News reported, based on confidential sources. “The roughly 10 documents are from President Biden’s vice-presidential office at the center, the sources said. CBS News has learned the FBI is also involved in the U.S. attorney’s inquiry.”
“The classified material was identified by personal attorneys for Mr. Biden on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed,” the report added.
The documents were discovered when Biden’s personal attorneys “were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.,” Sauber said in a statement to CBS News.
The documents were contained in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified papers. The sources revealed neither what the classified documents contain nor their level of classification. A source familiar told CBS News the documents did not contain “nuclear secrets.”
Sauber also told CBS News that on the same day the material was discovered, Nov. 2, the White House counsel’s office notified the National Archives, which took possession of the materials the following morning.
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys,” Sauber said. “The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
A source familiar with the matter said representatives from the National Archives then notified the Justice Department.
As CBS News notes, Lauch’s review will examine how the documents got fromBiden’s vice-presidential office to the Penn Biden Center.
The Penn Biden Center and the University of Pennsylvania did not respond to a request for comment from CBS News. The National Archives declined to comment. Attorneys assigned to oversee Biden’s vice presidential records, Robert Lenhard, James Garland and Dana Remus, did not reply to voice messages and an email seeking comment. The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.
A source familiar said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is aware of the Justice Department inquiry.
As the report notes, the Penn Biden Center case has “parallels to the Justice Department’s pursuit of Donald Trump’s presidential records.” In August, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago that yielded hundreds of documents that were marked as classified.
In September, President Biden appeared on “60 Minutes” and was asked for his reaction to a photo showing the documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago. “How that could possibly happen? How anyone could be that irresponsible,” the president said. “And it just — totally irresponsible.”
The FBI’s raid at the behest of the National Archives and Records Administration has not yielded the “nuclear secrets” that the Washington Post reported in August were in Trump’s possession. The Post has subsequently reported that a “review by agents and prosecutors found no discernible business interest in the Mar-a-Lago documents, people familiar with the matter said.”
“As part of the investigation, federal authorities reviewed the classified documents that were recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club, looking to see if the types of information contained in them pointed to any kind of pattern or similarities, according to these people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation,” the Post reported.
“That review has not found any apparent business advantage to the types of classified information in Trump’s possession, these people said,” the report continued. “FBI interviews with witnesses so far, they said, also do not point to any nefarious effort by Trump to leverage, sell or use the government secrets. Instead, the former president seemed motivated by a more basic desire not to give up what he believed was his property, these people said. Trump repeatedly said the materials were his, not the government’s — often in profane terms, two of these people said.”
“But they said the evidence collected over a period of months indicates the primary explanation for potentially criminal conduct was Trump’s ego and intransigence,” the report added.
The Department of Justice has clearly attempted to ensnare Donald Trump in process crimes like “obstruction of justice” and “contempt of court.” Its double standard in its treatment of current President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will clearly demonstrate this to the American people.
Follow Kyle Becker on Twitter @kylenabecker.