Key dates related to the discovery of classified documents tied to President Joe Biden, based on statements from the White House, the president, his attorneys, and Attorney General Merrick Garland:
— Jan. 20, 2017: Biden's two terms as vice president to President Barack Obama end.
— Mid-2017-2019: Biden periodically uses an office at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington.
— Jan. 20, 2021: Biden is sworn in as president.
— Nov. 2, 2022: Biden's personal attorneys come across Obama-Biden administration documents in a locked closet while packing files as they prepare to close out Biden's office in the Penn Biden Center. They notify the National Archives.
— Nov. 3, 2022: The National Archives takes possession of the documents.
— Nov. 4, 2022: The National Archives informs the Justice Department about the documents.
— Nov. 8, 2022: Midterm elections.
— November-December 2022: Biden’s lawyers search the president’s homes in Wilmington, Delaware, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, to see if there are other documents from his vice presidency.
— Nov. 9, 2022: The FBI begins an assessment of whether classified information has been mishandled.
— Nov. 14, 2022: Garland assigns U.S. attorney John Lausch to look into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the matter.
— Dec. 20, 2022: Biden's personal counsel informs Lausch that a second batch of classified documents has been discovered in the garage at Biden's Wilmington home. The FBI goes to Biden's home in Wilmington and secures the documents.
— Jan. 5, 2023: Lausch advises Garland he believes that appointing a special counsel is warranted.
— Jan. 9, 2023: CBS News, followed by other news organizations, reveals the discovery of the documents at the Penn Biden Center. The White House acknowledges that “a small number” of Obama-Biden administration records, including some with classified markings, were found at the center. It makes no mention of the documents found in Wilmington.
— Jan. 10: 2023: Biden for the first time addresses the document issue. During a press conference in Mexico City, he says he was “surprised to learn that there were any documents” in the Penn Biden Center and doesn't know what's in them. He does not mention the documents found in Wilmington.
— Jan. 11, 2023: Biden's lawyers complete their search of Biden's residences, find one additional classified document in the president's personal library in Wilmington. NBC News and other news organizations reveal a second batch of documents has been found at a location other than the Penn Biden Center.
— Jan. 12: 2023: Biden’s lawyer informs Lausch that an additional classified document has been found. Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, reveals publicly for the first time that documents were found in Biden's Wilmington garage and one document was found in an adjacent room. Garland announces that he has appointed Robert Hur, a former U.S. attorney in the Trump administration, to serve as special counsel.
— Jan. 14: 2023: The White House reveals that Biden's lawyers found more classified documents at his home than previously known. Sauber said in a statement that a total of six pages of classified documents were found during a search of Biden’s private library. Sauber said Biden’s personal lawyers, who did not have security clearances, stopped their search after finding the first page on Wednesday evening. Sauber found the remaining material Thursday as he was facilitating their retrieval by the Justice Department.
— Jan. 19, 2023: A frustrated Biden said there is “no there there” when he was persistently questioned about the discovery of the documents. “We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said to reporters who questioned him during a tour of the damage from storms in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.” Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s no there there.”
— Jan. 21, 2023: Biden's attorneys say the FBI searched Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and located additional documents with classified markings and also took possession of some of his handwritten notes. The search lasted nearly 13 hours. The FBI took six items that contained documents with classified markings, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. The items spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, he said.