President Joe Biden has become embroiled in a scandalous controversy involving the apparent mishandling of classified documents from his time as vice president that he retained possession of after leaving office instead of turning over to the National Archives, as is required by law.
The scandal also seems to grow worse nearly every day as more information comes to light, including on Saturday when it was acknowledged that five more classified documents had been discovered in Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home, Fox News reported.
That latest revelation sharply undercut the White House’s attempts to set a narrative that the initial discovery of documents had been an isolated incident and that Biden’s team of personal attorneys had conducted a thorough and complete search and been transparent with the public about what had been found.
More classified documents found in Biden’s home
According to Fox News, attorney Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, announced on Saturday that five more documents marked as classified had been found on Thursday in Biden’s Wilmington home, which brings the total to at least six classified documents at that location after a single document with classified markings had been discovered there on Wednesday.
“Because I have a security clearance, I went to Wilmington Thursday evening to facilitate providing the document the President’s personal counsel found on Wednesday to the Justice Department,” Sauber said in a statement. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.”
Sauber further insisted that Biden’s team has been cooperative with the DOJ and “acted immediately and voluntarily” to turn the classified materials over to the DOJ once they’d been discovered. He added, “We have now publicly released specific details about the documents identified, how they were identified, and where they were found. The appointment of the Special Counsel in this matter this week means we will now refer specific questions to the Special Counsel’s office moving forward.”
At least 20 classified documents found thus far
CBS News, which was the first media outlet to report on the rapidly developing scandal on Monday, reported Saturday morning that at least 20 classified documents have been discovered in all between two separate locations, though that report was published prior to Sauber’s announcement of the additional five documents that had been found days earlier.
That outlet’s initial report on Monday had revealed that at least 10 documents with classification markings had been found in a locked closet of now-unused office space for the former vice president at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington D.C.
Other media outlets then revealed later in the week that additional classified documents had been found at Biden’s Wilmington home, and the president himself even confirmed in a press conference that those sensitive documents had been stored next to his prized Corvette in the locked garage.
Months-long process only revealed this week
According to a timeline of events, the first set of documents had been found at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2, 2022, and were turned over to the National Archives the very next day, and just one day later, the inspector general for the Archives referred the matter to the DOJ for further review, which led Attorney General Merrick Garland to assign a U.S. attorney to conduct a preliminary investigation on Nov. 14.
The unknown number of classified documents in the Wilmington garage were found on Dec. 20 and were delivered to the DOJ the next day, and by Jan. 5, 2023 — before any of this was publicly known — the preliminary investigation had been completed and it was decided that a special counsel would be appointed.
It wasn’t until Jan. 9 that CBS News first reported on the discovery in early November, after which the additional six documents were found in Wilmington on Wednesday and Thursday, though they weren’t disclosed publicly until Saturday.
The Hill reported that the Biden classified documents scandal has raised a number of pertinent questions, the most pressing of which is why the public wasn’t notified of the discoveries sooner, as well as what Biden knew and when — the answers of which to both questions will likely destroy the carefully scripted piecemeal and, at times, contradictory statements and excuses from the president’s team.
It also remains unclear what, exactly, is contained in the classified documents Biden kept in his possession, as well as how broad the special counsel’s investigation of the matter may become, not to mention how this compares with and what impact it will have on the parallel special counsel investigation of former President Donald Trump for allegedly doing the same thing in keeping documents marked as classified after he left office.