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In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by America First Legal, a group founded by former Trump administration official Stephen Miller, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said it “must deny” the request “in full for approximately 1,170 pages” found at the Penn Biden Center.
NARA’s March 29 letter attributed the rejection to special counsel Robert Hur’s ongoing investigation into Biden’s handling of classified government documents to determine whether anyone broke the law. The letter, signed by Archival Operations Division Director Stephannie Oriabure, offers more clarity about the sheer number of pages investigators may be examining.
/1 BREAKING — The National Archives admits to America First Legal that 1,170 pages of Biden’s Vice Presidential records were found at the Penn Biden Center.
They also admit they “lack custody” of Biden’s other misplaced records found in Delaware.
Where are the records? ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/EJA0YpZ55A
— America First Legal (@America1stLegal) March 30, 2023
In the days before the 2022 election, Biden’s team said they found about 10 records marked classified while clearing out Biden’s office at the D.C. think tank. Since then, searches by Biden’s lawyers and the FBI have taken place at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, his beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware, which have turned up more materials of interest to investigators. NARA also informed Congress its staff obtained nine boxes of materials from the Boston office of a personal attorney to Biden that had been moved from the Penn Biden Center.
NARA is tasked with taking custody of presidential and vice presidential records at the end of an administration under the Presidential Records Act. However, the agency said it could not provide any other new information in response to other aspects of America First Legal’s FOIA request for vice presidential records either because of a lack of physical custody of certain records or because of Hur’s inquiry.
Beyond the scope of the FOIA request, some documents that have been uncovered reportedly date back to Biden’s time as a U.S. senator. Between 25 and 30 classified documents were known to have been found since November, a source told CBS News in late January.
Biden’s personal attorneys and the White House have insisted they are cooperating with the National Archives and Justice Department. Still, there is frustration in Congress about a lack of transparency from the Biden administration, even among Democrats. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC he gives the Biden administration an “absolute failing grade” on this front.
Classified documents have also been found in the homes of former President Donald Trump, who is facing an investigation by a separate special counsel, and former Vice President Mike Pence, prompting the National Archives to call on other former presidents and vice presidents to check for such materials.