DOJ declined to oversee search for more Biden classified documents

 January 18, 2023

A new report in the Wall Street Journal said that the Justice Department declined to oversee the search for further classified documents in the possession of President Joe Biden, citing his cooperation in turning over preciously found documents immediately and the desire not to "complicate" the investigation.

The DOJ opened an inquiry into the discovery of classified documents in a private office at the Penn Biden Center on November 2, and one option would have been to have FBI agents monitor the search by Biden's team for more documents at other locations.

Ultimately, Biden lawyers and the DOJ agreed that it was best not to monitor the search, provided that Biden's lawyers notified the DOJ and turned over any additional documents as soon as they were discovered.

Biden's cooperation seems to have earned the trust of the DOJ and helped him avoid further consequences, the Journal reasoned.

Could take months

The discussions between the DOJ and Biden team suggest that the inquiry into the documents could take months, stretching into most of Biden's third year in office, however.

And a lack of involvement by the FBI now could make it easier to get a search warrant later if negotiations would turn hostile, current and former law enforcement officials told the Journal.

More documents were discovered on at least two separate occasions last week after the initial discovery and a later one in December, all at Biden's personal residence in Delaware.

Biden personal lawyer Richard Sauber, who has a high enough security clearance to handle classified documents, removed them and handed them over to authorities.

What about Trump?

The discovery of classified documents in multiple locations casts a different light on the August announcement that former President Donald Trump had classified documents at Mar-A-Lago.

Trump has maintained that he declassified the documents the FBI seized in a raid, but so far no evidence has emerged that he did so.

Still, the fact that Biden also had classified documents will make it more difficult for the DOJ to prosecute Trump, if they wanted to do so over the documents.

The DOJ has already been investigating Trump for months, although he tried to prevent them from looking at the documents until a judge dismissed a special counsel appointed to be a neutral party in the investigation.

DOJ will have to be careful

The DOJ will have to be very careful in how it proceeds on these matters if it wants to avoid looking partisan and anti-Trump.

In all likelihood, after spending a ton of taxpayer money to look at everything, the DOJ will decide not to prosecute either one, just to avoid the accusations of unfairness.

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