Classified material from when President Joe Biden was vice president was found in one of his private offices in November, less than three months after a political firestorm erupted from an FBI raid for classified documents kept by former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club.
The ongoing investigation into the documents found at Biden’s office was revealed for the first time Tuesday by CBS News.
The matter is now under a Justice Department investigation led by John Lausch Jr., the U.S. attorney in Chicago, CNN reported. There have been no reports on an FBI raid of Biden’s private office.
In a statement, White House lawyer Richard Sauber said Biden’s personal attorneys were packing up his office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 2 when they discovered “a small number of documents with classified markings” dating to the Obama administration in a locked closet, CNN reported.
Included among the materials were top-secret files designated as “sensitive compartmented information,” a label used for highly sensitive information provided by intelligence sources, according to CNN.
The White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives on the day of the discovery, and the Archives took the materials the next morning, Sauber stated.
The National Archives determined the documents were there by mistake due to a lack of safeguards, an anonymous source told CNN. Still, the Archives referred the matter to the Justice Department, another anonymous source told CNN.
The office was located at a think tank named for Biden that was established in 2018. Biden “periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign,” according to Sauber.
Biden ignored questions about the documents shouted by reporters Monday evening during a summit in Mexico. Attorney General Merrick Garland, head of the Justice Department, was seated to the president’s left side, CNN reported.
Biden previously tried to dismiss Lausch, the Trump-appointed attorney now investigating him, but reversed that decision after both Illinois senators insisted he allow Lausch “to conclude sensitive investigations,” as reported by WTTW.
Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith recently took over the investigation into hundreds of classified documents from former President Donald Trump’s term that he kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The high-profile FBI raid to recover the documents set off a partisan controversy ahead of Trump launching his third presidential campaign.