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US lawyer reviewing classified documents from Joe Biden’s vice president found at Biden think tank

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a U.S. attorney in Chicago to investigate classified documents discovered at the Penn-Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, according to the investigation. Two sources told CBS News. About 10 documents are from President Biden’s vice president’s office at the center, the sources said. CBS News has learned that the FBI is also involved in an investigation of a US attorney.

Biden’s personal lawyers identified the documents on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, the president’s special adviser, Richard Sauber, confirmed. In a statement to CBS News, Sauber said Biden’s personal attorney “was putting together files kept in a locked closet to prepare to move out of the office space at the Penn-Biden Center in Washington, DC. The documents were found in a boxed folder with other unclassified papers, sources said. It also does not reveal the classification level. A source familiar with the matter told CBS News that the document contained no nuclear secrets.

Sauber also said the White House attorney’s office notified the National Archives on Nov. 2, the same day the materials were discovered, and the National Archives obtained the materials the next morning.

“The discovery of these documents was made by the president’s attorneys,” Sauber said. “The documents were not the subject of any previous requests or investigations by the archives. I am sure there is.”

A representative of the National Archives later notified the Justice Department, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Garland ordered U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John Rausch, to investigate how the classified material ended up at the Penn-Biden Center. The investigation is considered a preliminary step, and the Attorney General will determine whether further investigation is necessary, including the possibility of appointing a special counsel.

Rausch was named United States Attorney by former President Donald Trump and is one of two individuals still serving as United States Attorneys during the Trump era. Another is Delaware federal prosecutor David Weiss, who is leading the investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden.

Lausch recently briefed the Attorney General and will eventually file a final report with Garland. The review will be finished soon.

The Penn-Biden Center is a think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and named after a sitting president, located about a mile from the White House in Washington, DC.

The Presidential Records Act requires that all presidential and vice presidential documents be filed with the National Archives. There are special protocols to keep sensitive information safe.

Biden learned of the documents’ existence in November when his attorney reported them to the White House attorney’s office. A source familiar with the matter said the president was unaware of its contents. The documents are now believed to be in safe custody in Washington.

Roach’s review will look, in part, at how the documents arrived at the Penn-Biden Center from Biden’s Office of the Vice President.

The Penn-Biden Center and the University of Pennsylvania did not respond to requests for comment. The National Archives declined to comment. Lawyers assigned to oversee Biden’s vice president’s record, Robert Renhardt, James Garland and Dana Remus, did not respond to voice messages and emails seeking comment, according to the Department of Justice and his FBI. declined to comment.

Sources say the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is aware of the Justice Department investigation. ODNI also declined to comment.

Former President Donald Trump commented on a CBS News article Monday night, asking on the Truth Social app: These documents have apparently not been declassified. ”

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he was “deeply concerned” by the recovery of classified documents from the time Biden was vice president. He added: [documents]and what did he say about the other presidents in classified documents?” When asked if this case was different, McCarthy replied, “Ah. , really?, after so many years, they found them.

Rep. James Comer, incoming chairman of the House Oversight Committee, was skeptical when he learned of the document. “What’s the difference between what President Trump did and what we now know President Biden did,” he wondered. “We want to know exactly what documents both President Trump and current President Biden got, and we want to know if they treat President Biden differently than President Trump. sea ​​bream.

Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan wants to know what the document is before the committee decides whether it needs to investigate further, but he said: It seems to be a different standard than President Biden. So let’s go from there. ”

Democratic Rep. Jamie Ruskin, a leading member of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Biden’s lawyers “appear to have taken immediate and appropriate steps to notify the National Archives.” . I am confident that the Attorney General has carefully considered the circumstances surrounding the possession and discovery of these documents and has taken appropriate steps to make an impartial determination as to further action necessary. ”

The Penn-Biden Center lawsuit is similar to the Justice Department’s pursuit of Donald Trump’s presidential record, but is vastly different in scope and scale. and produced hundreds of classified documents.

That unprecedented search continued Quarrel over a year Between Trump’s agents, the National Archives, and the Justice Department. The search warrant, sought in August after repeated unsuccessful attempts by the federal government to obtain what was deemed classified documents at the former president’s private residence, should have been handed over to the Archives under the law. was executed.

of Trove of Mar-a-Lago Among other things, it included secrets about nuclear capabilities and communications between Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In January 2022 he was returned the first batch of 15 boxes, but archives officials believe some records are still missing, and in February 2022 he reported the matter to the Department of Justice. urged the authorities to refer to

The Trump investigation is now under the control of the recently appointed special adviser Jack Smith.

In September, Mr. Biden appeared on “60 Minutes” and was asked to respond to photographs showing documents recovered in Mar-a-Lago. “How could that happen? Who could do something so irresponsible,” said the president. “And it’s just — completely irresponsible.”

Federal officials have recovered over 300 classified documents once in Trump’s possession.

Retaining confidential information after leaving government does not necessarily result in criminal liability. The FBI determined that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been sorting materials in her private emails on her server for several years after she left the State Department in 2013.

FBI Director James Comey said at the time, “While there is evidence of possible violations of classified information statutes, we have determined that a reasonable prosecutor would not pursue such a lawsuit.”

The Penn-Biden Center gives Philadelphia-based University of Pennsylvania a foothold in the U.S. capital. Launched in 2018, the think tank hosts academic programs and events focused on foreign policy.

Biden used the office space from mid-2017 until he announced his presidential bid in the spring of 2019.

The Center’s sixth-floor offices are located at the foot of Capitol Hill and offer panoramic views of the Capitol through floor-to-ceiling windows. The center’s staff consists primarily of former Obama administration officials, many of whom left the center to join the Biden administration.

For example, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken served as the Center’s Executive Director in 2018. Steve Ricketty, who currently serves as Biden’s White House aide, served as the center’s managing director in 2019.

The university appointed Biden as Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of Practice in 2017 and paid him $917,643 to lead the speech and the center that bears his name between 2017 and 2019. He is currently at the university. is on leave of absence.

Biden has deep ties to the University of Pennsylvania. His deceased son Beau and his granddaughter Naomi both have bachelor’s degrees in college. Biden’s daughter Ashley has a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and his granddaughter Natalie is currently an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. Then-Vice President Biden launched the Obama administration’s “cancer moonshot” in 2016 with a pen.

During a question-and-answer session with reporters last August, the president talked about how he manages classified information at home. “My house has his space off the cabin, completely safe. Today is the takeaway. Today’s [Presidential Daily Briefing]It’s locked. I have a soldier I read it, put it back together, and give it to the military. ”

Asked whether it would be appropriate for the president to bring back classified material, Mr Biden said, “It depends on the documents, it depends on the security of the room.”

Rebecca Kaplan, Zachary Hudak, and Rob Legare contributed to the report.

https://www.wtrf.com/news/u-s-attorney-reviewing-documents-marked-classified-from-joe-bidens-vice-presidency-found-at-biden-think-tank/ US lawyer reviewing classified documents from Joe Biden’s vice president found at Biden think tank

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