Joe Biden said that there was “no there there” following the discovery of classified documents at the president’s home and his post-vice presidential office.
Mr Biden used the phrase, first coined by the writer Gertrude Stein, as he dismissed the scandal during a visit to storm-ravaged California.
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Mr Biden told reporters during a tour on Thursday of the damage caused by violent winter storms.
“We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.” And Mr Biden insisted that he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there. There’s no there there,” he added.
The White House says that Mr Biden’s lawyers found classified documents on four separate occasions at the Penn Biden Center in Washington DC, the garage of his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and in his home library.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to run the Justice Department’s probe into the discovery of the documents.
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds of American adults support Congress investigating classified documents found at President Biden’s home and the post-vice presidential office, according to a new poll.
The survey from Yahoo News/YouGov found that 39 per cent of Democratic-leaning independents want to see another person be the Democratic nominee for president in 2024, while 38 per cent said they wanted Mr Biden. In December, 46 per cent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents wanted Mr Biden to be the nominee and 37 per cent said “someone else”, marking a drop in support for the incumbent president.
In addition, the number of people who said they were “not sure” about who they wanted as the Democratic nominee climbed seven points in the past month.
Stein used the phrase in her 1937 book Everybody’s Autobiography to describe returning to her hometown of Oakland, California.
It has since become a popular phrase on Capitol Hill to refer to something that is unsubstantial or unimportant.