Paperwork categorised by Biden: US intelligence supplies associated to Ukraine, Iran and Britain present in Biden’s personal workplace, a supply advised CNN
Among the items from Joe Biden’s time as vice president discovered in a private office last fall are 10 classified documents, including US Secret Service memos and intelligence materials covering subjects such as Ukraine, Iran, and Iran, according to a source familiar with the matter and the UK dealt with.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has received a preliminary report on the documents investigation, a law enforcement source said, and now faces a critical decision on how to proceed, including opening a full criminal investigation.
John Lausch Jr., the US attorney in Chicago, has informed Garland on several occasions. No additional briefings are planned but will be conducted if necessary, a source said.
The classified documents were dated between 2013 and 2016, according to the well-known source. They were found in three or four boxes that also contained unclassified papers covered by the Presidential Records Act.
The vast majority of items in the office contained personal documents belonging to the Biden family, including materials about Beau Biden’s funeral arrangements and letters of condolence, the source told CNN. It is not clear if the boxes of classified documents contained personal materials.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has hired the US Attorney in Chicago, a holdover from the Trump administration, to investigate the matter, CNN previously reported. Garland made this move after receiving a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration.
The documents were discovered on November 2, just six days before the midterm elections, but the matter did not become public until Monday due to news reports.
The source told CNN that a personal attorney for Biden closed the downtown DC office that Biden used as part of his work with the University of Pennsylvania. The attorney saw a Manila folder marked ‘personal’, opened the envelope and noticed that inside were classified documents. The attorney closed the envelope and called NARA, the source said.
After contacting NARA, Biden’s team turned over several boxes with great care, although many of the boxes contained personal materials, the source said.
Biden said Tuesday he was unaware that some classified documents were brought to his private office after he left the vice presidency and that his attorneys “did what they should have done” by immediately calling the national archives.
“I was surprised to learn that there were any government documents that were brought there to that office,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Mexico City where he was attending a trilateral summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada participated.
The documents, the president said, were found in “a box, a locked cupboard — or at least a cupboard.”
“People know that I take classified documents and confidential information seriously,” he said.
Lausch has already completed the first part of his investigation and has provided Garland with his preliminary findings, a law enforcement source said.
This means that Garland must now decide how to proceed. Garland was also personally involved in some of the key decisions surrounding the investigation of the Trump documents and the decision to send the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago.
In the Trump affair, Garland hired special counsel Jack Smith to handle both the criminal investigation into Trump’s post-2020 election activities and the investigation of classified documents the former president brought to his Florida resort. The Biden probe is nowhere near that stage.
Garland chose to let Lausch conduct the investigation of the Biden documents because he is one of two remaining US attorneys appointed by Trump and to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest because he was not appointed by Biden, people said, who have been informed of the matter.
In addition to Garland, Lausch has also conducted additional briefings with other Justice Department officials.
At this point, the source said, Lausch is not expected to do any additional “fact gathering.”
In an awkward moment, Garland sat next to Biden at a diplomatic summit in Mexico Monday as reporters called out questions about the investigation. Both men ignored the questions.
Lausch was one of the rare holdovers from the Trump era who wasn’t told to step down after Biden’s inauguration in 2021, and the two Democratic Illinois senators supported the decision to keep him in his post, in part because he the politically sensitive investigation into Michael was handled by Madigan, the former Illinois Democratic House Speaker who faces corruption charges.
The turn of events with classified documents found in Biden’s former office has put some politicians in a difficult position.
Trump has responded with a spate of social media posts mocking Biden and publicly urging the FBI to search Biden’s offices and even the White House for mishandled documents.
Key Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed confidence in Biden’s handling of government materials, even as classified records have surfaced in a place they shouldn’t be.
The newly empowered Republicans in the House of Representatives have already pledged to expand their oversight investigations into the matter of the Biden documents, and some are looking at NARA as a target for additional scrutiny.
Rep. James Comer, the Kentucky Republican who now chairs the House Oversight Committee, quickly sent letters to the White House office and the National Archives, which his committee oversees.
Requests made in the letters included: any documents retrieved from Biden’s personal office where the classified documents were found; a list of those who had access to that office; all documents and communications between the White House, the Department of Justice and the National Archives relating to the retrieved documents; and all documents and communications related to the handling of classified information by Biden’s personal attorneys, including their security clearance status.
The Kentucky Republican asked that documents and other information be turned over no later than January 24 and that NARA General Counsel Gary Stern and NARA Director of Congressional Affairs John Hamilton be made available no later than January 17 for transcribed interviews with committee staffers.
Also on Tuesday, the new GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee asked the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a damage assessment on the classified records found in Biden’s private office.
“Those entrusted with access to classified information have a duty and obligation to protect it,” Ohio Rep. Mike Turner wrote. “This issue requires a full and thorough review.”
CLARIFICATION: Story has been updated to indicate where the classified documents were found in Biden’s office.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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