January 30, 2023

The Justice Department has searched President Biden’s home in Delaware and located six documents containing classification markings and also took possession of some of his notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.

Bob Bauer, a lawyer for the president, said the Justice Department conducted the search at Mr. Biden’s Wilmington residence on Friday. He said it lasted about 13 hours.

The Justice Department “took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President,” Bauer said in a statement.

The prosecutors also “took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years,” he said.

In a separate statement, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said that the “DOJ conducted a comprehensive search of the president’s Wilmington residence, and it concluded late Friday night.”

“Neither the President nor the First Lady were present during the search,” Sauber added. 

This comes after roughly 10 documents bearing classification markings were discovered by Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2. Other records marked classified were also found in the garage at the president’s Wilmington home in late December, though the White House did not disclose the discovery until last week.  

Mr. Biden told reporters in California Thursday that he “has no regrets” about the handling of the documents that had been discovered. When asked why the White House didn’t disclose the existence of the documents in November, before the midterm elections, he told reporters he thinks they’re going to find out “there’s no there there.” 

“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Mr. Biden said. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you’re gonna find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That’s exactly what we’re doing. There’s no there there.”

It remains to be seen whether additional searches by federal officials of other locations might be conducted. Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the family’s Rehoboth Beach house and said they did not find any official documents or classified records.

Bauer said the FBI requested that the White House not comment on Friday’s search before it was conducted, and that Mr. Biden’s personal and White House attorneys were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the President’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents.

“Since the beginning, the President has been committed to handling this responsibly because he takes this seriously,” Sauber said Saturday. “The President’s lawyers and White House Counsel’s Office will continue to cooperate with DOJ and the Special Counsel to help ensure this process is conducted swiftly and efficiently.”

The Biden document discoveries and the investigation into former President Donald Trump, which is in the hands of special counsel Jack Smith, are significantly different. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government. Biden has made a point of cooperating with the DOJ probe at every turn, though questions about his transparency with the public remain.

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