White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that the Justice Department is looking into a cache of confidential information seized in the Washington headquarters of former President Joe Biden’s institution.
As Biden’s personal attorneys were cleaning out his office at the Penn Biden Center, where he continued to work after he ceased to be vice president in 2017 and up until he announced his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019, special counsel to the president Richard Sauber said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered. On November 2, 2022, Sauber reported discovering the files in a “closed closet” in the workplace.
According to Sauber, as the lawyers found out, they promptly told the White House Counsel’s office, who then informed the National Archives and Records Administration, which took control of the documents the following business day.
As a result of this finding, “the President’s personal counsel has collaborated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to guarantee that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the hands of the Archives,” as stated by Sauber.
After the Archives brought the situation to the attention of the Justice Department, an informed but unnamed source indicated that Attorney General Merrick Garland asked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to investigate. One of the few holdovers from President Trump’s administration, Lausch is a member of the United States Attorney’s Office.
Regardless of the outcome of the Justice Department’s investigation, the possibility that former Vice President Biden improperly handled classified or presidential records poses a political problem for Trump, who has been criticized for keeping hundreds of similar documents at his private club in Florida.
On Monday, Trump chimed in on Twitter, asking, “When is the FBI going to raid the multiple houses of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” This news arrives as Republicans gain control of the House and vow to conduct extensive probes of the Biden administration.
Trump has already announced his intention to run for president again in 2024, and he has repeatedly claimed that the Justice Department’s investigation into his own conduct amounted to “corruption,” both of which could make the department’s decision on whether to press charges against him more difficult.
On Monday, we reached out to the National Archives for comment, but did not hear back right away. Garland and Lausch’s respective spokespeople both declined to comment. The new Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer, said on Monday that the discovery cast doubt on the Justice Department’s conduct of the Trump investigation.
Is there going to be a raid on the White House later? He questioned the reporters, “Are they going to raid the Bidens?” Concerns about a double standard in the Department of Justice’s treatment of political parties and their respective leaders have been heightened by this news.
Biden’s attorneys “appear to have taken swift and correct action,” according to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), his Democrat counterpart. He went on to say, “I have confidence that the Attorney General took the right steps to ensure the comprehensive investigation of the facts surrounding the acquisition and discovery of these documents and make an unbiased determination about any further action that may be warranted.”
On Monday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the influential House Judiciary Committee, argued that the public deserved to be informed about the leak of secret papers sooner. A week before the election, “they knew about this, maybe the American people should have understood it,” Jordan told reporters.
It would have been good if the country had known that there were sensitive materials at the Biden Center on November 2, despite the fact that they undoubtedly knew about the raid on Mar-a-Lago 91 days before this election.
Jordan is one of the Republicans in the House that wants the Judiciary Committee to form a “special subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal government.” The committee’s formation is anticipated to be voted on as soon as this week, setting the stage for a confrontation between Republicans and the federal prosecutors overseeing the numerous investigations, including the ones involving Trump.
There was some mystery as to why the White House waited so long to announce the finding of the documents and the Department of Justice investigation. On Monday, CBS broke the story that the possibly secret documents had been found.
The Justice Department has been looking into Trump’s Florida estate for months now, after it was discovered that he had kept about 300 secret documents there. Prosecutors claim Trump’s representatives rejected demands to return the whole cache of sensitive papers and did not completely comply with a subpoena that requested their return.
In August, FBI investigators executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and took 15 boxes of documents. Jack Smith is the special counsel in charge of that probe. The grand jury has heard testimony from a number of witnesses, including people who have been interviewed by the prosecutors and are connected to Trump.
It is unclear when a determination will be made as to whether Trump or anybody else will face criminal charges. Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement is a University of Pennsylvania-affiliated think tank that has always functioned independently from the Biden administration.
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