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Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review classified documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. The classified documents from Joe Biden’s vice presidency were discovered at a think tank affiliated with the current president.
“The roughly 10 documents are from President Biden’s vice-presidential office at the center, the sources said. CBS News has learned the FBI is also involved in the U.S. attorney’s inquiry. The classified material was identified by personal attorneys for Mr. Biden on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed. The documents were discovered when Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. The documents were contained in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified papers, the sources said. The sources revealed neither what the classified documents contain nor their level of classification. A source familiar told CBS News the documents did not contain nuclear secrets,” CBS News reported.
Sauber said materials were discovered on Nov. 2 and that the National Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys,” Sauber said. “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.”
“Garland assigned U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to find out how the classified material ended up at the Penn Biden Center. The review is considered a preliminary step, and the attorney general will determine whether further investigation is necessary, including potentially appointing a special counsel. Lausch was nominated to be U.S. attorney by former President Donald Trump, and he is one of only two current Trump-era U.S. attorneys still serving. The other is Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is leading an investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden,” CBS News reported.
“Lausch recently briefed the attorney general and will eventually submit a final report to Garland. The review is expected to conclude soon. The Penn Biden Center is a think tank about a mile from the White House, in Washington, D.C., that is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and named for the sitting president. The Presidential Records Act requires all presidential and vice-presidential documents be turned over to the National Archives. There are special protocols to keep classified information secure,” the outlet added.
This comes after the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in early August for a similar reason.
At the time, Trump made an announcement regarding some of the declassified documents he had at Mar-a-Lago.
The former president said he was concerned that some of the documents that exonerated him in the Russia probe would be destroyed by the new administration so he rushed to declassify them in his final days as president, Newsmax reported:
Trump, believing the documents would expose a “Deep State” plot against him, told several people that he was concerned that incoming President Joe Biden’s administration would “shred,” bury, or destroy “the evidence.” The documents were related to the federal investigation into the since-discredited story about Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows worked to declassify information right up to when Biden took the oath of office, Rolling Stone said. The Rolling Stone story came a month after FBI agents raided Trump’s Florida home with a warrant saying the former president had 11 sets of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and that the DOJ had probable cause to conduct the search based on possible Espionage Act violations.
The former top U.S. spy chief believes that the FBI came up short during its raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate early last month.
John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. congressman from Texas whom Trump tapped to serve as director of national intelligence, told Fox News last week that the bureau “didn’t find what they were looking” for, based on his observations.
“I was a former federal prosecutor, United States attorney. Let me tell you what this is about. Good prosecutors with good cases play it straight. They don’t need to play games,” Ratcliffe said, in reference to Justice Department officials. “They don’t need to shop for judges, they don’t need to leak intelligence that may or may not exist.”