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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The Morning Rundown™

Lawyers found classified documents in Biden’s old office

Jan 10, 2023

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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In the years between Joe Biden serving as vice president and then president, he kept a private office in Washington D.C. This week, the world learned at least 10 classified documents were found in that office last fall.

On Monday, the White House made the announcement that lawyers working for President Biden found the classified documents on Nov. 2, 2022 while packing up the president’s former downtown D.C. office. Biden used the office as part of his work with the University of Pennsylvania.

According to reporting from CNN, lawyers found the documents in a manila folder that was labeled “personal.” The documents were from 2013 to 2016. Their possession could be a breach of the Presidential Records Act, which mandates presidents and vice presidents turn over documents to the National Archives for secure storage.

It’s not clear what level of classification the documents had. CNN is reporting the documents are related to Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom. CBS News said the documents do not involve nuclear secrets.

Biden’s lawyers said when they discovered the classified documents, they immediately contacted the National Archives. Representatives from the National Archives took possession of the documents on Nov. 3, 2022.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a U.S. attorney in Chicago, John Lausch Jr., to investigate the matter. Lausch, who was appointed by former President Trump, turned in his preliminary findings already to the attorney general.

Now, Garland must decide whether the documents found in Biden’s office warrant a full investigation, similar to the ongoing investigation into the documents found in former President Trump’s possession at Mar-a-Lago. There are key differences in the cases, though. For instance, the National Archives had been trying for months to retrieve the documents Trump had. Also, investigators found 30 times as many confidential documents in Trump’s possession.

President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were in Mexico for a diplomatic summit when news of the classified documents broke. Neither the president nor the attorney general responded to questions from reporters on the matter.

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IN THE YEARS BETWEEN JOE BIDEN SERVING AS VICE PRESIDENT AND THEN PRESIDENT, HE KEPT A PRIVATE OFFICE IN D.C. THIS WEEK THE WORLD LEARNED AT LEAST 10 CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS WERE FOUND IN THAT OFFICE LAST FALL.

ON MONDAY, THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED LAWYERS WORKING FOR PRESIDENT BIDEN FOUND THE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ON NOVEMBER 2ND WHILE PACKING UP THE PRESIDENT’S FORMER OFFICE.

THE DOCUMENTS WERE FROM 2013 TO 2016. THEIR POSSESSION COULD BE A BREACH OF THE PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ACT, WHICH MANDATES PRESIDENTS AND VICE PRESIDENTS TURN OVER DOCUMENTS TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES FOR SECURE STORAGE.

IT’S NOT CLEAR WHAT LEVEL OF CLASSIFICATION THE DOCUMENTS HAD. CNN REPORTS THE DOCUMENTS ARE RELATED TO UKRAINE, IRAN AND THE UNITED KINGDOM. CBS SAYS THE DOCUMENTS DO NOT INVOLVE NUCLEAR SECRETS.

BIDEN’S LAWYERS SAID WHEN THEY DISCOVERED THE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS, THEY IMMEDIATELY CONTACTED THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WHO TOOK POSSESSION OF THEM THE NEXT MORNING.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK GARLAND APPOINTED A U.S. ATTORNEY IN CHICAGO, JOHN LAUSCH JR TO INVESTIGATE THE MATTER. LAUSCH, WHO WAS APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP, TURNED IN HIS PRELIMINARY FINDINGS ALREADY TO THE AG. NOW GARLAND MUST DECIDE WHETHER THE DOCUMENTS FOUND IN BIDEN’S OFFICE WARRANT A FULL INVESTIGATION, SIMILAR TO THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO THE DOCUMENTS FOUND IN FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S POSSESSION AT MAR A LAGO.

THERE ARE KEY DIFFERENCES IN THE CASES THOUGH. LIKE THE FACT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES HAD BEEN TRYING FOR MONTHS TO RETRIEVE THE DOCUMENTS TRUMP HAD. ALSO, INVESTIGATORS FOUND 30 TIMES AS MANY CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS IN TRUMP’S POSSESSION.

PRESIDENT BIDEN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL MERRICK GARLAND WERE IN MEXICO FOR A DIPLOMATIC SUMMIT WHEN NEWS OF THE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS BROKE. NEITHER THE PRESIDENT NOR THE AG RESPONDED TO QUESTIONS FROM REPORTERS ON THE MATTER.

WE’LL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THIS STORY AT STRAIGHT ARROW, JUST LIKE WE ARE WITH THE CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS FOUND IN FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S POSSESSION. FOR MORE ON THOSE STORIES, CHECK OUT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM.