DOJ officials considered sending FBI agents to monitor the search conducted by Biden’s personal attorneys, but decided against the oversight to avoid “complicating” the investigation and because Biden’s legal team had been cooperative, according to The Wall Street Journal.
After 10 classified documents were found in Biden’s office at a think tank in D.C., Biden’s attorneys prepared to search the president’s other properties for sensitive government papers. DOJ officials met with Biden’s attorneys ahead of the search, and the two sides agreed to allow Biden’s team to conduct the search without immediate oversight from the FBI, people familiar with the matter told WSJ.
Classified documents connected with Biden were first found in his private office at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., on November 2, less than a week before the 2022 midterm elections. Since then, Biden’s attorneys have located more classified documents at Biden’s home in Wilmington on three separate occasions: an unspecified number found in the garage on December 20, one document found in Biden’s study on January 11, and five more found in the study on January 12.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have demanded answers from the White House over the document drama and alleged a double standard between the DOJ’s handling of classified documents related to Biden versus those related to former President Donald Trump. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-KY) has called on the White House to hand over visitor logs of guests to Biden’s home in Delaware who could have come into contact with the classified information. The White House and Secret Service has said it does not keep such records.
In August, the FBI raided Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida resort, to recover allegedly classified documents that Trump had refused to hand over to the government. In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland handed the DOJ investigation into Trump’s documents to a special counsel, former war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith.
Garland appointed former U.S. District Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to take over the DOJ investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents.
The White House accused House Republicans of “playing politics” over classified documents on Monday.
“House Republicans are playing politics in a shamelessly hypocritical attempt to attack President Biden,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said. “Their demands should be met with skepticism and they should face questions themselves about why they are politicizing this issue and admitting they actually do not care about the underlying classified material,” he added, referring to Comer earlier expressing concern over the “discrepancy in how former President Trump was treated.”