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Attorney General Merrick Garland has reportedly assigned U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to review classified material from President Joe Biden’s time as vice-president that was discovered at a Biden think tank.
CBS News reported that the approximately 10 documents were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.
The files were discovered by Biden’s personal attorneys when they “were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.”
The attorneys said that the information was found in a box with other materials that were not classified.
CNN reported that some of the classified materials that were discovered included top-secret files designated as “sensitive compartmented information,” which means that the materials include highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources.
Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, said that the moment the material was found – on November 2nd – that the White House’s counsel’s office immediately notified the National Archives and the material was retrieved the next day.
Upon learning about the classified material, the National Archives alerted the DOJ. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys,” Sauber said. “The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
The DOJ review of the material is the first step in determining what further actions could be warranted, the report said, including the possibility of a criminal investigation and appointment of a special counsel.
Lausch was appointed by former President Donald Trump and is one of only two remaining U.S. attorneys from the Trump administration, the report noted. The other holdover is David Weiss, who is conducting a criminal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
This report has been updated to include additional information.