DOJ finds more classified items in Biden home search

WASHINGTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – A new search of President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday found six more items, including items with classified flagged documents, a lawyer for the president said in a statement late Saturday.

Some of the classified documents and “peripheral material” date back to Biden’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, where he represented Delaware from 1973 to 2009, according to Biden’s attorney, Bob Bauer. Ball said the other documents come from his time as vice president in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017.

According to the lawyer, the Justice Department conducted a search that lasted more than 12 hours and also recorded some notes written by Biden himself as vice president.

The president provided “access to his home so that the Justice Department could conduct a search of the entire premises for possible vice-presidential records and potentially classified material,” Ball said.

Neither Biden nor his wife were present during the search, the attorney said. Biden was in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, over the weekend.

Power said Justice Department investigators coordinated the search with Biden’s lawyers in advance and that the president’s personal lawyer and White House counsel were present.

Other classified government records were discovered this month at Biden’s Wilmington residence and in November in the private office of a Washington, D.C., think tank after he ended his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration in 2017.

In his statement Saturday, Ball did not specify where the documents were found in the Wilmington home. Previously classified documents were found in the family’s garage and nearby storage rooms.

The search revealed that federal investigators are moving quickly to investigate classified documents in Biden’s possession. This month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter.

Special counsel Robert Hull, appointed in the process, is investigating how the president and his team handled classified Obama-era documents recently discovered on Biden’s private estate.

According to the White House, Biden’s lawyers located all the documents that had been uncovered prior to the Justice Department’s search on Friday. The latest raid is the first time federal law enforcement has conducted a search of government documents at Biden’s private address, according to publicly released information.

Republicans compared the probe to an ongoing investigation into how former President Donald Trump handled classified documents after he became president. The White House noted that Biden’s team is cooperating with authorities in the investigation and has turned over the documents. Trump refused to do so until the FBI raided his Florida resort in August.

The search raises legal and political risks for a president who has insisted that classified material previously found in his home and former office will ultimately be deemed irrelevant.

Biden said Thursday he has “no regrets” about not publicly disclosing the discovery of classified documents in his former office ahead of the midterm elections and that he is confident the matter will be resolved.

“Not there, not there,” Biden told reporters during a trip to California on Thursday.

Since discovering the Biden files, Trump has complained that Justice Department investigators are treating his successor differently.

“When will the FBI raid many of Joe Biden’s homes, even the White House?” Trump said in a social media post earlier this month.

Reporting by Nandita Bose, Matt Spetalnik, Steve Holland and Joel Schectman Editing by Nick Zieminski and David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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