WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday and located additional documents with classified markings and also took possession of some of his handwritten notes, the president’s lawyer said Saturday.
The president voluntarily allowed the FBI into his home, but the lack of a search warrant did not dim the extraordinary nature of the search. It compounded the embarrassment to Biden that started with the disclosure Jan. 12 that the president’s attorneys had found a “small number” of classified records at a former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington shortly before the midterm elections. Since then, attorneys found six classified documents in Biden’s Wilmington home library from his time as vice president.
During Friday's search, which lasted nearly 13 hours, the FBI took six items that contained documents with classified markings, said Bob Bauer, the president’s personal lawyer. The items spanned Biden’s time in the Senate and the vice presidency, while the notes dated to his time as vice president, he said. The level of classification, and whether the documents removed by the FBI remained classified, was not immediately clear as the Justice Department reviews the records.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed Saturday that the FBI had executed “a planned, consensual search” of the president’s residence in Wilmington. The president and first lady Jill Biden were not at the home when it was searched. They were spending the weekend at their home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Speaking to reporters during a trip to California on Thursday, Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.”
It remained to be seen whether additional searches by federal officials of other locations might be conducted. Biden's personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they did not find any official documents or classified records.
Bauer said the FBI requested that the White House not comment on the search before it was conducted, and that Biden's personal and White House attorneys were present. The FBI, he added, “had full access to the President’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades."
The Justice Department, he added, “took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President."
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents.
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