The disconcerting find in Joe Biden’s garage, next to the corvette

US President Joe Biden’s legal team has found a second set of classified documents dating from his time as vice president at his Delaware home, the White House says, an embarrassment as he prepares for an expected re-election bid.

The admission about the discovery in a storage space in the garage of Biden’s Wilmington home came in a statement from Richard Sauber, a special counsel to the president.

The acknowledgement came after the White House on Monday said other documents were found in November in the closet of an office at a University of Pennsylvania think tank in Washington DC that Biden had used after leaving the vice presidency.

The administration is “fully co-operating” to ensure that the records are handled properly, Mr Sauber said.

The White House did not say when the subsequent search began or when the additional documents were found, only that the search was completed on Wednesday evening.

Mr Sauber said the Department of Justice was “immediately notified” after the documents were located and that department lawyers took custody of the records.

Regardless of the Justice Department review, the revelation that Biden potentially mishandled classified or presidential records is proving to be a political headache for Biden, who said former president Donald Trump was “irresponsible” for keeping hundreds of such records at his private club in Florida.

A special counsel appointed in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, is considering whether to charge Donald Trump for having taken classified documents from the White House when he left office in 2021 and having refused to turn them over for months.

CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid said the Biden team is setting out key differences between the two cases, including the sheer volume of documents found in Trump’s case, the investigation of Trump for potential obstruction and Trump’s resistance compared to the immediate co-operation of Biden’s lawyers.

Earlier this week, the White House confirmed that the department was reviewing “a small number of documents with classified markings” found at the Washington DC office.

Biden’s lawyers had discovered the material at the offices of the Penn Biden Center and then immediately called the National Archives about the discovery, the White House said.

Biden kept an office there after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his Democratic presidential campaign in 2019.

The revelation that additional classified documents were uncovered by Biden’s team came hours after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions about Biden’s handling of classified information and the West Wing’s management of the discovery.

She had said on Wednesday that the White House was committed to handling the matter in the “right way,” pointing to Biden’s personal lawyers’ immediate notification of the National Archives.

But she refused to say when Biden himself had been briefed, whether there were any more classified documents potentially located at other unauthorised locations, and why the White House waited more than two months to reveal the discovery of the initial batch of documents.

They were found on November 2, days before the midterm elections.
“As my colleagues in the Counsel have stated and said to all of you yesterday, this is an ongoing process under the review of the Department of Justice. So we are going to be limited on what we can say here,” Jean-Pierre said.

Special Counsel appointed

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate President Joe Biden’s handling of sensitive government documents – an inquiry that could cast a shadow over the Democrat’s expected run for re-election in 2024.

Special counsels are sometimes appointed to investigate politically sensitive cases and they carry out their responsibilities with a degree of independence from the Justice Department leadership, including Garland, who was appointed by Biden.

Special counsels sometimes, but not always, pursue criminal charges.

An independent counsel, a post similar to that of a special counsel, served during Bill Clinton’s presidency investigating the 1990s Whitewater political scandal and the Democratic president’s sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

That inquiry led to Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representatives, although he was acquitted by the Senate.

Biden, 80, is expected to formally launch a re-election campaign in coming months.

Republicans claim hypocrisy

“It’s obvious. Everybody can see it, and it’s on open display for everyone in the country to see,” Republican US Representative Mike Johnson said.

“Why has the Department of Justice not come in force as they did against the allegations against President Trump?”

Trump kept thousands of government records, hundreds of which were marked as classified, inside his personal residence in Florida for more than a year after departing the White House, and did not return them immediately or willingly despite numerous requests by the National Archives.

When he finally handed over 15 boxes of records in January 2022, the Archives discovered more than 100 marked as classified.

It referred the matter to the Justice Department and a special counsel, Jack Smith, was named in November to oversee the investigation.

Investigators tried to get Trump to return any remaining classified records through a grand jury subpoena and a visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

On that visit, Trump’s advisers returned a few dozen additional classified records, and attested that no other classified material remained in the residence.

Suspecting possible obstruction of justice, the FBI sought and obtained court approval in August to search his home, where agents found more than 13,000 additional records, about 100 of them classified.

with AP

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