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A number of classified documents related to Ukraine, Iran, and the UK were discovered by a personal lawyer to President Joe Biden in a private office he used during his work for the University of Pennsylvania, according to CNN on Tuesday, citing several sources familiar with the matter.
The discovery, made just days before the midterm elections, was immediately reported to the National Archives and Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed a number of times about the ongoing investigation into the matter by Chicago-based U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr., one of the few holdovers from the presidency of Donald Trump.
The Tuesday report said investigators have discovered “10 classified documents including US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered” a variety of topics related to those countries, CNN noted, adding that Garland now “faces the critical decision on how to proceed, including whether to open a full-blown criminal investigation.”
The classified documents were dated between 2013 and 2016, according to the source familiar. They were found in three or four boxes also containing unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act.
The vast majority of the items in the office contained personal Biden family documents, including materials about Beau Biden’s funeral arrangements and condolence letters, the source told CNN. It is not clear if the boxes with classified documents contained personal materials.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the US attorney in Chicago, a holdover from the Trump administration, to investigate the matter, CNN previously reported. Garland made this move after receiving a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
CNN noted further that the documents were discovered six days before the midterm elections, on Nov. 2.
“After making contact with NARA, Biden’s team turned over several boxes in an abundance of caution, even though many of the boxes contained personal materials, the source said,” CNN reported.
Biden has denied any knowledge that the classified documents were in his possession.
“I was surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question during a news conference in Mexico City, as he attended a meeting with Mexican and Canadian leaders.
The documents, the president said, were found in “a box, locked cabinet – or at least a closet.”
“People know I take classified documents, classified information seriously,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump — whose Mar-a-Lago estate was raided by dozens of FBI agents in early August ostensibly for possession of classified documents — responded to the news on his Truth Social platform.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House? These documents were definitely not declassified,” Trump claimed.
“Why didn’t the ‘Justice’ Department announce the Highly Classified documents found in the Biden Office before the Election?” Trump queried.
“Biden’s documents are HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, many pertain to UKRAINE, where Hunter was ‘raking in the dough,’ and FUNDED BY CHINA, which gave $55 Million to Biden, through Penn, and probably had easy access,” he noted further.
Donald Trump Jr. also asked, “When will the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team storm one of Biden’s many vacation homes bought and paid for somehow by a lifetime of being a humble public servant?”
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), who served as White House physician during part of Trump’s administration, also asked similar questions.
“It’s just been discovered that Biden had HIGHLY CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS that were improperly stored in one of his private offices. INCREDIBLE! WHERE is the FBI? WHERE is the dramatic raid? We have two systems of justice in this country: one for them and one for us,” he wrote on Truth Social.
During an interview with Sean Hannity following the raid, Trump said the FBI took one item that “could cause a lot of problems” down the road — his will.
“They took a lot. I think they took my will. I found out yesterday,” the former president said. “I said, ‘Where is it?’”
“Am I in it?” Hannity asked before Trump repeated, “I think they took my will.”
“That could cause a lot of problems,” he said before smiling at Hannity’s question.