Questions about Joe Biden documents are escalating as the initial justice review nears its end


An initial review of classified documents discovered in an office once used by President Joe Biden is drawing to a close, but questions continued to pile up days after the White House confirmed an initial recovery in November.

  • Found a second set of classified documents: Biden aides, according to multiple reports, recovered another set of documents, aside from classified documents, in a location separate from a D.C. office that Biden used after his vice presidency.

  • Biden offers little explanation: The president offered little explanation when he first addressed the case in Mexico City on Tuesday, indicating that even he was “surprised” after learning that the first set of classified materials had been discovered in a locked cabinet while lawyers were working on the case. leaving the space Biden used after being vice president.

  • What he said: “I was surprised to learn that there are government documents that were brought to that office there,” Biden told reporters, adding that he did not know the contents of the documents. “We are fully cooperating – we are fully cooperating – on the review, which I hope will be completed soon.”

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A number of public questions remain:

How did the archives get there?

President Joe Biden speaks to reporters as he walks aboard Marine One before departing for Walter Reed Hospital on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Richard Sauber, a special counsel for Biden, said Monday the documents were discovered Nov. 2 in a locked cabinet while the president’s personal lawyers were packing up files in a Washington, D.C., office used by Biden between 2017 and 2017. just before Biden’s launch. his 2020 campaign.

When the documents were discovered, Biden’s lawyers notified the National Archives and turned them over the next day, the president said.

Sauber’s statement did not specify why the data was there; the specific nature of the material; or that others had access to the documents.

Neither Sauber nor the White House spoke on Wednesday about the discovery of a second batch of documents at a separate location, first reported by NBC News.

More: Biden says he was ‘surprised’ government documents found in private office, he doesn’t know what’s in them

More: DOJ is reviewing classified documents found at the Biden facility since he was VP

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Why wasn’t the first discovery revealed sooner? GOP plunges into delay

Republican members speak at a news conference on Jan. 4.

Republican members speak at a news conference on Jan. 4.

According to the White House, the president’s lawyers did what they had to do when the documents were discovered in the office of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement: The National Archives were notified that day and the archives took possession of the material the next morning.

Still, there was no direct explanation for why the November recovery, first reported by TBEN News, was only released this week.

Republicans have attacked the delay in disclosure, noting that the documents were recovered less than a week before the midterm elections and just over two weeks before Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel to lead two criminal investigations involving Donald Trump , including the former president’s holding of hundreds of classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021.

More: President Joe Biden Has Secret Documents: What We Know and How Discovery Relates to Trump

What happens now?

Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Attorney General Merrick Garland.

U.S. attorney John Lausch, Jr. of Chicago, a remnant of the Trump administration, has conducted an initial assessment of the case.

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Lausch’s review was nearing completion, said a person familiar with the case, adding that the review is moving towards a tipping point where the attorney general will ultimately decide how to proceed.

The Justice Department and Lausch’s office declined to comment.

But possible actions include appointing a special counsel to investigate a case further or determining that there is no justification for launching such an investigation.

The discovery of the documents led to immediate comparisons to the Trump case, although the episodes are marked by key differences.

This image in a Justice Department court file on Aug. 30, and partially redacted by the FBI, shows a photo of documents seized during the FBI's Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a - Florida Lago Estate.

This image in a Justice Department court file on Aug. 30, and partially redacted by the FBI, shows a photo of documents seized during the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a – Florida Lago Estate.

Trump had repeatedly resisted efforts by the National Archives to recover the material, including by failing to fully respond to a subpoena issued by federal law enforcement against the archives, prompting the FBI to lead an unprecedented search of his home. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, resulting in the seizure of the classified documents and thousands of other government documents.

In the Biden case, the White House has maintained that the small number of documents were immediately returned to the archives.

“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or investigation by the archives,” said Sauber, highlighting the differences between the Biden case and Trump’s defiance.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden documents: Big questions remain as Justice’s review nears end