On Monday, CNN reported that classified documents dating back to President Joe Biden's time as vice president were discovered by the president's attorneys while cleaning out a private office last fall.
"The National Archives has referred the matter to the Justice Department for further investigation, the source told CNN," reported Jamie Gangel. "Biden’s lawyers found the government materials in November while closing out a Washington, DC-based office that Biden used as part of his relationship with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an honorary professor from 2017 to 2019, the source said."
"Fewer than a dozen classified documents were found at Biden’s office, the source said," said the report. "It is unclear what the documents pertain to or why they were taken to Biden’s private office. Federal officeholders are required by law to relinquish official documents and classified records when their government service ends."
Speaking to CNN, Biden special counsel Richard Sauber clarified some further details.
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“The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings,” said Sauber. “The documents were discovered when the President’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. The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign. On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.”
This comes amid a well-publicized FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort that recovered a trove of extremely classified documents, including intelligence on Iranian weapons systems and spy operations against China, that the president allegedly improperly had removed from secure facilities and did not return after repeated demands from the National Archives. That matter is now under criminal investigation by special counsel Jack Smith; it is not clear whether any criminal investigation has or will be launched in this case.