Biden’s Attorney: ‘These Documents Were Inadvertently Misplaced’

( – President Biden “inadvertently misplaced” classified documents that were discovered at his home in Wilmington, Delaware and at an office in Washington, D.C., but the president “takes classified information and materials seriously,” President Biden’s attorney Richard Sauber said Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre read Sauber’s statement Thursday about the discovery of the classified documents:

As the president said, he takes classified information and materials seriously, and we have said, we have cooperated from the moment we informed the Archives that a small number of documents were found and we will continue to cooperate. We have cooperated closely with the Justice Department throughout its review, and we will continue that cooperation with the special counsel. We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and the president and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake.

Jean-Pierre told reporters that the White House has been “transparent.”

“That is why the minute his lawyers found those documents, they reported it. They reached out to the Archives and the Department of Justice, and they did that voluntarily, and they were not compelled to do it. They did it voluntarily.”

ABC White House Correspondent Mary Bruce asked, “The White House counsel’s statement this morning said that documents were found in the president’s Wilmington residence garage and an adjacent room, but when the president mentioned this himself in person earlier, he said they were found in a storage area and in his personal library. So can you just clear this up? Which room? Where were the documents actually found in his residence?”


JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. So let me just step back, because I know all of you have a lot of questions. So I’ll lay this out very clearly and precisely. I don’t want – Clearly, I want to make sure no one is confused as you just said, Mary, as the president’s lawyers found these documents, they immediately contacted Archives and Department of Justice, as I’ve said many times already, to ensure that they were handled properly. 

The president has said this. We are being fully cooperative with the Department of Justice throughout this process as part of the president’s lawyers look through the places where documents could have been stored, and the counsel’s office released, as you said, a statement explaining that. So I would refer you back to the statement. I don’t have anything more to say, but that search was completed last night, and now this is in the hands of the Justice Department.

So look, I want to be very prudent here as I said yesterday, as you all have reported over and over again. So about any questions about this, any specifics, there’s a review going on, and I would refer you to the Department of Justice or my colleagues in the counsel’s office, but again, I’m just not going to go beyond what the president said. We just laid out the process that was taken.

BRUCE: It sounds like you’re saying we should go off of the counsel’s statement saying it was found in a garage and an adjacent room.

JEAN-PIERRE: I’m just saying I’m not going to go beyond what the president said. … I just want to be very careful because there is an ongoing investigation. I want to be prudent here, and make sure if you have any additional questions about where things were found, again I refer you to the statement. I’m not going to go beyond what the president said.

BRUCE: The president said Tuesday he was surprised to learn about the documents at the Penn Biden Center. He didn’t know what was in these documents. He didn’t sort of repeat that this morning about the documents found at his residence. So was he also surprised to learn that they’re classified documents at his residence? Does he know any information about what’s in them?

JEAN-PIERRE: He was surprised that the documents were there, and that is also in line with what we shared this morning, and again, he takes this very seriously when it comes to classified information, when it comes to classified documents, and again, it still stays the same. He was surprised that the records were found. That has not changed, and again, his team, when they identified that they were there, they immediately reached out to the Archives, reached out to DOJ just as they did last night and as we have pretty much laid out previously.

BRUCE: Garland said when the FBI went to the president’s residence and secured these documents, did the FBI just retrieve documents or was there a search of the residence?

JEAN-PIERRE: Again, I’m just not going to go into the particulars or the specifics about what the Department of Justice did. I can speak to what we have done and what is already out there. We laid out a statement pretty extensively on Monday. We laid out a statement this morning on what was found last night. I’m just not going to go beyond. I would refer you to the Department of Justice to give you the specifics on that. As you know, there’s an ongoing process. There’s a review currently occurring.


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