After President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered secret materials at the think tank earlier that month, the FBI conducted a search of the Penn Biden Center in mid-November, according to a CBS report released on Tuesday. According to CBS, the FBI searched without a warrant and in conjunction with Biden, but it is yet unknown whether the search turned up any classified documents or other important information.
The search’s disclosure, which neither the White House nor the Justice Department (DOJ) have made public, adds fuel to Biden’s already-existing concerns about the case’s transparency.
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In a shocking development first revealed by CBS on January 9, Biden’s attorneys discovered secret records from his time as vice president on November 2 at the Penn Biden Center and immediately contacted the National Archives.
The National Archives notified the Department of Justice about the discovery of the documents on November 4, and on November 9 the FBI “started an assessment consistent with standard protocols to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law,” according to Attorney General Merrick Garland when announcing the appointment of a special counsel to the case.
Republicans have argued that the classified materials issue was known to the White House and DOJ prior to the November 8 midterm elections but was not made public until CBS broke the story on January 9.
The Washington Post stated in an article on the White House’s approach to the document discovery that “early on, Biden’s attorneys and Justice Department investigators both assumed they had a shared understanding about keeping the matter quiet.”
The subsequent discovery on December 20 of documents with classified markings at Biden’s Wilmington home, which the White House initially failed to mention when it first went public with the document issue in January, has complicated transparency concerns.
In its report on Tuesday, CBS emphasized how Biden’s lawyer Bob Bauer revealed in a thorough statement on January 21 that the FBI had carried out a scheduled search of the vice president’s Wilmington residence the day before, in collaboration with the president.
Bauer only alluded to the FBI’s “inquiry, including taking possession of any documents and evaluating any surrounding information for further study and context” on January 14. Bauer has made no reference to a search in November.
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