Federal investigators reportedly interviewed a personal attorney to President Joe Biden, but did not use a form to summarize the interview.
Patrick Moore, the attorney identified as the one who initially found classified materials while packing up Biden’s former think tank office, spoke with a team led by U.S. Attorney John Lausch during the initial review of the president’s handling of documents, sources told CNN. The report said Lausch’s team not using a “302” form to memorialize the interview underscored the informal nature of the inquiry at the time. The report also stressed that all statements made to a U.S. attorney’s office carry the same legal weight.
A “source briefed on the matter” said Moore gave non-classified personal documents to the National Archives that included speeches and reference material sent from the Penn Biden Center to the attorney’s law office in Boston, per the report.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last week he appointed former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to take over what is now a criminal investigation. Hur is investigating whether there were any violations of law in connection to classified documents found in Biden’s former Penn Biden Center office in Washington, D.C., and in his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
The new report said Hurr is still putting together a team and may reinterview some witnesses.
The documents, some of which have “top secret” materials, date back to Biden’s time as vice president. Although the first batch of documents was reportedly found in early November, days before the 2022 midterm elections, the discovery did not become public until last week.
According to a timeline provided by Biden’s personal legal team, Biden’s personal attorneys immediately reached out to the National Archives on the day of the initial discovery on November 2. Biden’s personal attorneys “anticipated” the agency would notify the Justice Department, and, on November 10, the Justice Department informed them it had launched its assessment, the timeline added. Subsequent searches led to the discovery of more classified materials at Biden’s Wilmington residence in December and January.
Among Biden aides already interviewed by federal investigators was Kathy Chung, an executive assistant to Biden while he was vice president who is now an aide to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to NBC News. That report said Chung helped pack up Biden’s vice presidential office in January 2017.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said on Friday he personally traveled to Biden’s home in Wilmington on Thursday to “facilitate” the transfer of a document with classified markings to the Justice Department because he had a security clearance, whereas Biden’s personal attorneys who were conducting searches did not. Sauber said five additional pages with classified markings were discovered while he was transferring the original document to Justice Department officials who “accompanied” him.
House Republicans began an investigation of their own into the growing documents scandal and a government watchdog group filed an ethics complaint over Biden’s use of White House lawyers in response to the controversy.
Sauber has said the White House is “fully” cooperating with the National Archives and Justice Department. Biden told reporters last week he was “surprised” to learn about the classified documents discovery, and claimed he did not know what was in the records. “People know I take classified documents or classified information seriously,” Biden claimed.