- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 21, 2023

A new search of President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, turned up six previously undiscovered classified documents, including some from his days in the U.S. Senate, Mr. Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer said Saturday.

Justice Department investigators seized the newly discovered documents, which date back to his time in the U.S. Senate and as vice president, during a 13-hours search of the residence on Friday, according to Mr. Bauer. The search included all living, working and storage areas of the house, Mr. Bauer said in a lengthy statement.

Mr. Biden’s tenure in the U.S. Senate, where he represented Delaware, lasted from 1973 to 2009. During his time in the Senate he, at times, chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees foreign-policy legislation, including funding arms sales and training for U.S. allies.

Investigators also took “personally handwritten notes” by Mr. Biden, from his time as vice president, Mr. Bauer said. The search began at 9:45 a.m. and concluded around 10:30 p.m. according to the statement.

“D.O.J. had full access to the president’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades,” Mr. Bauer said.

The documents are the latest classified government records discovered this month at Mr. Biden’s home. It brings the total number of classified documents discovered at Mr. Biden’s Wilmington residence to at least 12.

SEE ALSO: Majority of voters say Biden should have come clean with classified docs before midterms

Another batch of classified documents had been found in November at a private office Mr. Biden maintained at a Washington, D.C. think tank after ending his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration in 2017. That discovery touched off a frantic hunt for additional documents, leading Mr. Biden’s attorneys to search his homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

The previous searches were carried out by Mr. Biden’s attorneys. On Friday, the Justice Department conducted the search of Mr. Biden’s house at the invitation of his legal team.

It is the first publicly known search for sensitive government documents conducted by federal law enforcement authorities at Mr. Biden’s private addresses. The search also marks a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the potentially illegal mishandling of government documents.

Mr. Bauer, in his statement, said the president’s legal  team offered to provide investigators with “prompt access” to the residence to allow the Justice Department “to conduct a search of the entire premises for potential vice presidential records and potential classified material.”

The offer, Mr. Bauer said, was made “in the interest of moving the process forward as expeditiously as possible.” It also raises questions about the thoroughness of the two earlier searches of Mr. Biden’s home conducted by his attorneys.  

Mr. Bauer did not say what triggered the search on Friday, which is the fourth publicly known search of Mr. Biden’s properties.

Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter.

Federal law strictly forbids the removal or retention of classified documents or materials outside secured locations without authorization, which Mr. Biden would not have had during his tenure as vice president in the Obama White House.

A separate statement from Richard Sauber, a member of the White House Counsel’s Office, said neither the president nor first lady Jill Biden was home at the residence at the time of the search.

“The President’s lawyers and White House Counsel’s Office will continue to cooperate with DOJ and the Special Counsel to help ensure this process is conducted swiftly and efficiently,” Mr. Sauber said.

Mr. and Mrs. Biden spent the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach. The unusual trip to the beach resort in the dead of winter fueled speculation that the Bidens’ choice to spend the weekend at their beach home might be related to the classified document drama.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday declined to answer questions about why the Bidens were spending the weekend in Rehoboth Beach instead of his Wilmington residence, where he typically relaxes.

“As it relates specifically to the investigation I would refer you to the Department of Justice, so I’m not going to — not going to comment on that piece at all from here,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.

“As it relates to his travel, as you know, he often travels to Delaware on the weekends,” she added. “I just don’t have anything else to share.”

The search of Mr. Biden’s residence by law enforcement will inevitably draw comparisons to the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August.

The FBI obtained a warrant to search Mr. Trump’s Florida residence because investigators had evidence suggesting that the former president had not handed over all classified materials in his possession after receiving a subpoena from the National Archives. Mr. Trump’s potentially illegal handling of classified materials is also the subject of a special counsel investigation.

Republicans will likely have new ammunition against Mr. Biden with the discovery of the additional documents.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, Kentucky Republican, is leading Congress’s investigation into the documents drama and has demanded that Mr. Biden and his legal team provide more information to Congress.

“It is troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored at the home of President Biden for at least six years, raising questions about who may have reviewed or had access to classified information,” Mr. Comer wrote in a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

Mr. Biden told reporters this week that he had “no regrets” about how the White House had handled the matter. He promised to cooperate with the Justice Department and expressed confidence that it would be resolved soon.

“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” Mr. Biden said in his most extensive comments since the matter became public on Jan. 9. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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