The U.S. Department of Justice and National Archives are reportedly reviewing a “small number” of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, told CBS News the documents were uncovered by Biden’s personal attorneys at the center on November 2, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The President’s personal attorneys were reportedly “packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space” when the discovery was made. Shortly thereafter, the White House counsel’s office reportedly notified the National Archives and the materials were collected the following morning. At this time, it is believed the classified documents were obtained during Biden’s time as Vice President and it is unclear what information the items contain or their exact classification.
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys,” Sauber told CBS News.
“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch has been tasked with determining how the documents ended up at the Penn Biden Center. From there, Attorney General Merrick Garland will determine if further investigation is needed.
President Biden was attending the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico when the story broke. He told reporters that he was “surprised” to learn classified documents ended up in his office.
“They found some documents in a box, you know, in a locked cabinet, or at least a closet. And as soon as they did, they realized there were several classified documents in that box and they did what they should have done,” he said.
“They immediately called the Archives, immediately called the Archives, turned them over to the Archives and I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office.”