The White House says five additional documents bearing classification markings were discovered at President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware residence while transferring a previously-discovered document to Department of Justice officials.
In a statement, Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber said the five documents were found while he and a group of Justice Department officials were in the process of handling a document discovered by Mr Biden’s personal lawyers earlier in the week.
Mr Sauber said the additional documents had not been identified when the previously-identified document was found because Mr Biden’s personal attorneys lack the requisite security clearances to handle documents with classification markings.
Since Mr Biden’s private legal team, which includes ex-White House Counsel Robert Bauer, are not legally permitted to view or handle such documents, they stopped their search of the box the documents were in when they discovered the first document.
“The President’s personal attorneys conducting the searches do not have active security clearances, so if they identified a document with a classified marking, they stopped and did not review it, and suspended any further search in that box, file or other specific space where the document was found, as appropriate,” he said.
“This is what occurred in Wilmington on Wednesday when the President’s personal attorneys discovered one document with a classified marking consisting of one page in a room adjacent to the garage. At that point, the President’s personal attorneys stopped searching the immediate area where the document was found”.
Mr Sauber added the “next step” in the process which he described as being “coordinated” with the Justice Department was to have department officials take possession of the initial document.
He said he travelled to Wilmington to “facilitate” providing the first document to the DOJ because he holds an appropriate security clearance.
“While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages,” he said, adding that the Justice Department “immediately took possession” of all six pages.
Continuing, Mr Sauber said the White House has now disclosed “specific details” about how the documents were found, when they were found, and where they had been located, and directed further questions to Robert Hur, the Department of Justice Special Counsel who Attorney General Merrick Garland has named to oversee an inquiry into how the documents ended up at Mr Biden’s residence and at a think tank in Washington where he had kept an office while out of government service.
“The appointment of the Special Counsel in this matter this week means we will now refer specific questions to the Special Counsel’s office moving forward. As I said Thursday, the White House will cooperate with the newly-appointed Special Counsel,” he said.