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President Joe Biden answered in the negative Monday when asked if he should take any blame for mishandling classified information.
‘The answer is no, wait until you get the whole report,’ he told a reporter on the South Lawn when returning to the White House from Camp David.
Classified documents were found at Biden’s former think tank office in Washington, D.C. and at his Wilmington, Delaware residence.
An FBI search of his Rehoboth Beach vacation home last week turned up no additional documents.
The White House has been under fire for not being forthcoming about the initial document discovery until after the November midterm elections, despite the first batch of classified documents being found days before.
President Joe Biden answered in the negative Monday when asked if he should take any blame for mishandling classified information
Biden’s lawyers say they contacted authorities after first discovering ‘a small number of documents with classified markings’ on Nov. 2, 2022, in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
The documents were found as Biden’s attorneys were clearing out the offices.
A second batch of documents – again described by Biden’s lawyers as a ‘small number’ – were found in a storage space in Biden’s garage near Wilmington, Delaware, along with six pages located in Biden’s personal library in his home.
FBI agents on Jan. 20 located six additional items that contained documents with classified markings and also took possession of some of Biden’s handwritten notes, according to Biden lawyer Bob Bauer.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Jan. 12 that he had appointed a special counsel, former federal prosecutor Robert Hur, to take over the Biden documents case.
Biden’s Democratic allies have argued that Biden’s document debacle is small potatoes compared to what the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago after the controversial August raid.
The Justice Department says roughly 300 documents with classified markings, including at the top-secret level, have been recovered from Mar-a-Lago after being taken there after former President Donald Trump left the White House.
Last August, FBI agents executed a search warrant at the property after developing evidence that led them to believe that Trump and his representatives had not returned all the classified files.
The material taken at that time included roughly 13,000 government documents, including about 100 bearing classification markings.
Some of the material was so sensitive that Justice Department prosecutors and FBI counterintelligence investigators required additional security clearances to review them.
A special counsel, Jack Smith, is investigating whether to bring charges against Trump or anyone else related to the documents.
Prosecutors have revealed that they are investigating possible violations of multiple criminal statutes, including willful retention of national defense information and obstruction.
A grand jury in Washington has been hearing evidence and federal prosecutors have interviewed multiple Trump associates. It is not clear how much longer that investigation will last.
Trump has claimed that the materials were declassified and that he had the power to do so just by thinking about it, though his lawyers have not repeated that claim.
They tried to have an independent arbiter conduct an outside review of the documents, though a federal appeals court late last year ended that work and said Trump’s team was not entitled to that assessment.
After documents were discovered in both Trump’s and Biden’s possession, former Vice President Mike Pence had a lawyer go through his collection of White House documents as well.
Pence also had several classified documents at his Indiana home, with FBI officials expected to conduct their own search ‘in a matter of days,’ NBC News first reported Monday.