The FBI searched the Penn Biden Center in mid-November after President Joe Biden’s attorneys found documents with classified markings at the think tank earlier that month, according to a report published Tuesday by CBS.
The search by the FBI was conducted without the use of a warrant and in coordination with Biden, but whether the FBI uncovered any classified documents or other relevant materials from the search remains unknown, per CBS.
The revelation of the search, which neither the White House nor Justice Department (DOJ) have disclosed to the public, compounds existing concerns Biden is facing about transparency with the case.
Biden’s attorneys initially found documents marked classified dating back to Biden’s time as vice president at the Penn Biden Center on November 2 and alerted the National Archives, a bombshell first reported by CBS on January 9.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said when announcing a special counsel to the case this month that the National Archives informed DOJ about the documents discovery on November 4 and that the FBI then, on November 9, “commenced an assessment consistent with standard protocols to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law.”
Republicans have taken issue with the fact that both the White House and DOJ knew about the classified documents issue before the November 8 midterm election but that the public did not become aware of it until CBS reported it on January 9.
“Early on, Biden’s attorneys and Justice Department investigators both thought they had a shared understanding about keeping the matter quiet,” the Washington Post noted in a report about the White House’s strategy for handling the document discovery.
Complicating transparency concerns has been the subsequent discovery made December 20 of documents with classified markings at Biden’s Wilmington home, which the White House initially omitted when it first acknowledged the document case on January 9.
In CBS’s report on Tuesday, the outlet highlighted how Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer announced in a detailed statement on January 21 that the FBI had conducted a planned search of Biden’s Wilmington home, in coordination with the president, the prior day.
Bauer, like the White House and DOJ, has made no mention of a November search, only alluding on January 14 to the FBI’s “inquiry, including taking possession of any documents and reviewing any surrounding material for further review and context.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.