FBI finds more classified documents at Biden’s Delaware home
The FBI searched President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del., on Friday and located six additional documents containing classified markings and also took possession of some of his notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.
The documents taken by the FBI spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. He added that the search of the premises lasted nearly 13 hours. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, was not immediately clear as the Justice Department reviews the records.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed Saturday that the FBI had executed “a planned, consensual search” of the president’s residence in Wilmington.
The search came more than a week after Biden’s attorneys found six classified documents in his home library from his time as vice president, and nearly three months after lawyers found a “small number” of classified records at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington. It came a day after Biden told reporters that “there’s no there there” on the document discoveries, which have become a political headache as he is believed to be preparing a reelection bid and undercut his efforts to portray an image of propriety to the American public after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden told reporters Thursday in California. “We immediately turned them over to the [National] Archives and the Justice Department.”
Biden added that he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
The president and his wife, Jill Biden, were not at the home when it was searched. They were spending the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
It remains to be seen whether federal officials will search other locations. Biden’s personal attorneys had combed through the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they did not find official documents or classified records.
The Biden investigation has also complicated the Justice Department’s probe into Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office. 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. It had to obtain a search warrant to retrieve them from his estate and residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
Bauer said the FBI requested that the White House not comment on the search before it was conducted and that Biden’s personal and White House attorneys be 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.”
The Justice Department, he said, “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.”
Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Atty. 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,” White House lawyer Richard 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 documents and the investigation into Trump, which is in the hands of special counsel Jack Smith, are substantively different. The Justice Department says Trump took with him hundreds of records marked classified and resisted months of requests to return them to the government. Biden has made a point of cooperating with the Department of Justice inquiry, though questions about his transparency with the public remain.
Get our Essential Politics newsletter
The latest news, analysis and insights from our politics team.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.