Dear Commons Community,
President Biden’s aides found a new batch of classified documents at a second location associated with Mr. Biden, a person familiar with the situation said yesterday. It was the second such disclosure in three days. As reported by The New York Times.
Republicans reveled in the new disclosures, accusing Mr. Biden of hypocrisy in calling former President Donald J. Trump irresponsible for hoarding sensitive documents at his private club and residence in Florida. This week, the new Republican chairman of the House oversight committee issued a far-ranging request to the National Archives and Records Administration, which is supposed to receive all highly sensitive materials after an administration leaves office, for documents and correspondence.
It is not clear where or when the records were recovered. But Mr. Biden’s aides have scoured various places since November, when his lawyers discovered a handful of classified files, including briefing materials on foreign countries, as they closed a think tank office in Washington. The Justice Department is reviewing the discovery to determine how to proceed.
A White House spokesman and a member of Mr. Biden’s legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden told reporters in Mexico City that he was “surprised” to learn in the fall that his lawyers found classified government documents in his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
He said his staff had fully cooperated with the National Archives and the Justice Department.
A day later, NBC News reported that another cache had been found at a different, undisclosed location.
Under government regulations, access to classified documents is limited to people who are currently authorized to see them and the materials must be stored in special security containers to limit the risk of exposing sensitive information. The Presidential Records Act says official documents in the White House — classified and unclassified alike — should be turned over to the National Archives when an administration departs.
After Mr. Trump left office, officials with the archives identified sensitive documents that had not been recovered, prompting numerous appeals for their return. The matter was eventually referred to the Justice Department, which conducted a court-approved search of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and turned up classified materials, including some bearing the most restrictive top secret markings.
By contrast, the first set of documents found by Mr. Biden’s lawyers was voluntarily returned to the archives in November, and had not been logged as missing. It is not clear if the archives had flagged the new materials.
A spokesman for the archives declined to comment.
The discovery of the second batch raises new questions about the handling of sensitive documents by a Biden team that has prided itself for adhering to norms and rules flouted by his predecessor.
But the circumstances of the two cases appear strikingly different. Unlike Mr. Trump, who resisted returning the records stored at Mar-a-Lago and failed to fully comply with a subpoena, Mr. Biden’s team appears to have acted swiftly and in accordance with the law, immediately summoning officials with the National Archives to retrieve the files. The archives then alerted the Justice Department, according to the White House.
Biden and his staff have given Republicans lots of fodder for criticism and sloppiness!