Second batch of allegedly sensitive materials found, Biden is under investigation
After a second batch of sensitive documents was purportedly discovered at a site connected to him on Wednesday, Joe Biden came under further scrutiny for his handling of federal secrets.
After learning that secret documents were found in a Biden office after he left his post as US vice president in November, the White House was immediately on the defensive. He stated on Tuesday that learning of their existence “surprised” him.
After then, the NBC News network and other media sites reported that the president’s advisers had discovered another collection of secret documents at a different location. According to NBC News, the material’s classification level, quantity, and exact location were not immediately known.
The claim provided a new justification for Republicans looking to compare a Justice Department investigation into former President Donald Trump’s improper handling of confidential documents at his Florida mansion Mar-a-Lago.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican and fervent supporter of Donald Trump, tweeted: “Special counsel” in response to the revelation.
After leaving the vice presidency in 2017, until just before he began his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden kept a desk at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington. It has ties to the University of Pennsylvania but carried on its business without interference from the Biden administration.
Biden’s personal attorneys were cleaning out the offices on November 2, 2022, when they came across “a limited number of documents with classified markings” in a locked closet inside the center, according to Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president. Sauber claims that the attorneys promptly told the White House Counsel’s office, who then notified the National Archives, who the following day took ownership of the materials.
But why the government took so long to recognize the finding of the data and what they actually include is still a mystery. On his social media platform, Trump jumped in and demanded: “When is the FBI going to raid the numerous houses of Joe Biden, possibly even the White House?”
Biden stated that he takes secret papers “seriously” and that his team did appropriately by turning the documents over promptly at a press conference in Mexico on Tuesday. “They carried out the proper course of action. They dialed the Archives right away.
But a day later, the White House press corps, which had been starved of controversy since the end of the Trump administration, grilled his spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, with pointed questions. She declined to explain how the documents came to be at the office, when Biden was made aware of them, or to give guarantees that other files wouldn’t surface.
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At this moment, I’m not going to elaborate on what the president stated yesterday because I know you all have a lot of questions about it, Jean-Pierre added. “I won’t add anything to what my White House counsel colleagues and many of you discussed on Monday. I want to be sensible in this situation and make sure that my colleagues handle this matter effectively.
When questioned about why it had taken so long to reveal the existence of the document, she responded, “The Department of Justice is reviewing this.”
Ed O’Keefe, the senior White House correspondent for CBS News, noted that Biden had begun his term by conceding that he would make mistakes and be open about them, which led to an uncharacteristically heated argument. We don’t need this kind of conflict, Jean-Pierre responded. Pose a question.
After the Archives forwarded the file to the department, attorney general Merrick Garland reportedly ordered the US attorney for the northern district of Illinois John Lausch — one of the few US attorneys to remain from Trump’s administration — to review the case.
Contrast this with Trump’s case, who had roughly 300 documents with classification marks, some of which were found during an FBI search after his lawyers gave a sworn declaration that all federal materials had been returned.
Jack Smith, a seasoned war crimes prosecutor with experience in public corruption cases, was chosen by Garland in November to head investigations into Trump’s retention of sensitive papers and to oversee crucial components of a separate inquiry into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Such distinctions, however, are likely to be lost on many voters, particularly in light of the fact that Republicans and right-wing media are seizing on the apparent blunder and accusing the justice department of applying different standards to different cases. It’s likely that news of a second tranche of documents will fuel the fire.
The head of the judiciary committee in the House of Representatives, Congressman Jim Jordan, claimed that the American people should have been informed sooner about the disclosure of Biden’s secret records.
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He told reporters, “They knew about this a week before the election; perhaps the American people should have understood it.” They were aware of the Mar-a-Lago raid 91 days before the election, but it would have been good if the public had known on November 2 that there were secret documents at the Biden Center.
The US intelligence community has been asked to perform a “damage assessment” of the records discovered at the Penn Center, according to Congressman Mike Turner of the House intelligence committee.