President Joe Biden’s legal team reportedly conducted a search of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, for sensitive documents without being observed by the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to reports.
According to The Wall Street Journal, DOJ officials debated deploying FBI agents to oversee the search carried out by Biden’s personal lawyers but ultimately opted against it to avoid “complicating” the inquiry and since Biden’s legal team had already been helpful.
Biden’s attorneys prepared to examine the president’s other properties for sensitive government materials after 10 secret documents were discovered in Biden’s office at a Washington, D.C. think tank. Before the search, DOJ officials met with Biden’s lawyers, and the two sides agreed to let Biden’s staff carry out the search without any immediate FBI monitoring, according to persons with knowledge of the situation who spoke with WSJ.
On November 2, less than a week before the 2022 midterm elections, classified documents associated with Biden were discovered for the first time in his personal office at the Pennsylvania Biden Center, a think tank in D.C. Since then, more classified materials have been discovered by Biden’s attorneys at his residence in Wilmington on three different occasions: on Dec. 20, an unspecified number of documents were discovered in the garage; on January 11, one document was discovered in Biden’s study; and on January 12, five more documents were discovered in the study.
GOP on Capitol Hill have pressed the White House for clarification on the document saga and accused them of applying different standards to secret data pertaining to Biden and former President Trump. James Comer (R-KY), House Oversight Committee chairman, has requested the White House turn over visitor logs of visitors to Biden’s Delaware residence who may have had access to the secret information. The Secret Service and the White House have stated that they do not maintain such records.
The former president’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, was the target of an FBI raid in August to recover purportedly secret records that Trump had refused to turn over to the authorities. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former war crimes attorney Jack Smith as a special counsel in Nov. to oversee the DOJ probe into Trump’s materials.
Robert Hur, a former U.S. district attorney, was chosen by Garland to serve as special counsel for the DOJ inquiry into Biden’s handling of secret documents.