(CNSNews.com) – At a news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden was asked to “explain how classified documents ended up in one of your offices? And should the public have been notified sooner?” the reporter asked Biden — who has criticized his predecessor for mishandling classified documents.
“Well, let me get rid of the easy one (question) first,” Biden responded, clearly prepared for that particular question:
“People know I take classified documents and classified information seriously,” Biden said:
“When my lawyers were clearing out my office at the University of Pennsylvania, they set up an office for me — a secure office in the Capitol, when I — the four years after being Vice President, I was a professor at Penn.
“They found some documents in a box — you know, a locked cabinet, or at least a closet. And as soon as they did, they realized there were several classified documents in that box. And they did what they should have done: They immediately called the Archives — immediately called the Archives, turned them over to the Archives.
“And I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office.
“But I don’t know what’s in the documents. I’ve — my lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes — they’ve turned over the boxes to the Archives. And we’re cooperating fully — cooperating fully with the review, and — which I hope will be finished soon, and will be more detail at that time.”
The classified documents were discovered in office space formerly used by Joe Biden at the University of Pennsylvania’s Biden Center in Washington, D.C., on November 2, 2022 — six days before the general election.
“The documents were discovered when the President’s personal attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.,” according to a statement from the White House Counsel’s office.
“The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign. On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the US attorney in Chicago, John Lausch Jr., a Trump appointee, to investigate the discovery.
“Among the items from Joe Biden’s time as vice president discovered in a private office last fall are 10 classified documents, including US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland has received a preliminary report on the documents inquiry, a law enforcement source said, and 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.”
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