The US attorney in Chicago was asked by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the matter after President Joe Biden’s attorneys acknowledged Monday that several classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president were discovered in a private office last fall.
Congressional Republicans are also taking notice of the issue since it’s unclear what the documents pertain to or why they were taken to Biden’s private office apart from the information that they included some top-secret files with the designation “sensitive compartmented information” – also known as SCI – which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources.
Biden’s special counsel confirmed that the classified documents were discovered in a private office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement – periodically used by Biden from mid-2017 until the start of his 2020 campaign as part of his relationship with the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an honorary professor – while Biden’s personal attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet.
According to special counsel Richard Sauber, the documents were turned over to the National Archives in November, noting that since that discovery, the White House is cooperating with both the National Archives and the Department of Justice to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.
Sauber emphasized that none of the documents were the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives.
Garland appointed US attorney in Chicago, John Lausch Jr. – one of the rare Trump-era holdovers who wasn’t asked to resign after Biden’s inauguration – to investigate the matter.
Back in 2021 Illinois’ two Democratic senators noted they want Lausch to remain at his top post to conclude sensitive investigations, avoiding revealing what probes he was working on.
It’s unclear if any investigation will be launched based on the discovery though we must have in mind that the Department of Justice is investigating Trump for his handling of classified information after classified documents were similarly found and seized by the FBI from former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate.
House Committee on Oversight and Accountability GOP chair, James Comer, recalled President Biden’s earlier statement that taking classified documents from the White House is ‘irresponsible.’
Pointing out that DOJ and the National Archives have made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority under the Biden Administration, Comer stressed that they expect the same treatment for Biden, who has obviously inappropriately maintained classified documents in an insecure setting for several years.
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