The FBI searched the Biden home and found items marked classified

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI raided President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday and found additional documents with classified markings and seized some of his handwritten notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.

The president voluntarily let the FBI into his home, but the lack of a search warrant doesn’t dim the unusual nature of the search. It added to the embarrassment for Biden that began with the January 12 disclosure by the president’s lawyers. Ben found a “small number” of classified records in a former office at the Biden Center Just before the midterm elections in Washington. Since then, lawyers have been classified into six categories Documents at Biden’s Wilmington home Library since his tenure as Vice President.

Although Biden has said “not there.” The findings have become a political liability as he prepares to launch his re-election bid, and they undermine his efforts to portray an image of the right. to the American people after the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor Donald Trump.

During Friday’s search, which lasted nearly 13 hours, the FBI seized six items containing documents with classified identifications, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney. The items cover Biden’s tenure as Senate and vice president, while the memos are from his time as vice president, he said. The status of the classification and whether the documents removed by the FBI were classified were not immediately clear as the Justice Department reviews records.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed Saturday that the FBI conducted a “planned, consensual raid” on the president’s residence in Wilmington.

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The president and first lady Jill Biden were not home when the home was searched. They spent the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Speaking to reporters during a trip to California on Thursday, Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to this being resolved as soon as possible.”

“We found that a few documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said. “We immediately turned them over to the archives and the Department of Justice.”

It remains to be seen whether additional searches will be conducted by federal authorities elsewhere. Biden’s personal lawyers previously raided the Rehoboth Beach home and said no official documents or classified records were found.

The Biden investigation has also complicated the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office. The Justice Department says Trump took hundreds of classified records with him when he left the White House in early 2021 and for months resisted requests to return them to the government, which required a search warrant to retrieve them.

Bauer said the FBI was asked not to comment on the White House search before it was conducted, and that Biden’s personal and White House lawyers were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the president’s home, including personal handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and memorabilia dating back decades.”

The Justice Department said it seized “materials considered within the scope of its investigation, including documents with classification markings and six items of surrounding material, some of which date from the president’s service in the Senate and some of which date back to his time as vice president.”

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Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Harr. As a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents. Hurr is set to oversee the investigation by Trump-appointed Illinois U.S. Attorney John Lash.

“From the beginning, the president has been determined to handle this responsibly because he takes it seriously,” White House lawyer Richard Saber said Saturday. “The Office of the President’s Attorneys and White House Counsel will continue to collaborate with the DOJ and the Special Counsel to help ensure that this process is conducted expeditiously and efficiently.”

The Biden document findings and the investigation into Trump, which is in the hands of special counsel Jack Smith, are significantly different. Biden has been cooperating with the DOJ probe at every turn — and Friday’s search was voluntary — despite questions about his transparency. with the public.

For an offense to be committed, a person must “knowingly remove” documents without authority and keep them in an “unauthorized place”. Biden said he was “surprised” by the discovery of classified documents at the Ben Biden Center.

Generally, classified documents must be declassified after a maximum of 25 years. But some records are of such value that they are long classified, although certain exceptions must be made. Biden served in the Senate from 1973 to 2009.

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Associated Press writer Seung Min Kim in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, contributed to this report.

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