- DOJ finds more classified documents in Biden's Delaware home during 12-hour search.
- This is the first time federal law enforcement searched Biden's private addresses.
- Special counsel appointed to investigate how Biden handled classified documents.
The U.S. Justice Department conducted a search of President Joe Biden's home in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday, and found six more items, including classified documents and "surrounding materials" dating from Biden's tenure in the U.S. Senate, where he represented Delaware from 1973 to 2009, and his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration, from 2009 through 2017, according to a statement from Biden's lawyer Bob Bauer.
The search, which lasted over 12 hours, also included some notes that Biden had personally handwritten as vice president. According to Bauer, the president had offered access "to his home to allow DOJ to conduct a search of the entire premises for potential vice-presidential records and potential classified material."
Neither Biden nor his wife were present during the search, as the President is in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, for the weekend. Justice Department investigators coordinated the search with Biden's lawyers ahead of time, and the president's personal and White House lawyers were present during the search.
This is the first time federal law enforcement authorities have conducted a search for government documents at Biden's private addresses. Previously, classified government records were discovered this month at Biden's Wilmington residence, and in November at a private office he maintained at a Washington, D.C., think tank after ending his tenure as vice president in the Obama administration in 2017.
The search shows that federal investigators are swiftly moving forward with the probe into classified documents found in Biden's possession. This month, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel to investigate the matter, Robert Hur, is investigating how the president and his team handled Obama-era classified documents that were recently found in Biden's private possession.
Biden's lawyers found all the documents discovered before Friday's search by the DOJ, according to the White House. Republicans have compared the investigation to the ongoing probe into how former President Donald Trump handled classified documents after his presidency. The White House has noted that Biden's team has cooperated with authorities in their probe and had turned over those documents. Trump resisted doing so until an FBI search in August at his Florida resort.
The search escalates the legal and political stakes for the president, who has insisted that the previous discovery of classified material at his home and former office would eventually be deemed inconsequential. Biden said on Thursday he has "no regrets" about not publicly disclosing before the midterm elections the discovery of classified documents at his former office and he believed the matter will be resolved. "There is no there, there," Biden told reporters during a trip to California on Thursday. Since the discovery of Biden's documents, Trump has complained that Justice Department investigators were treating his successor differently.