According to CBS’ report Tuesday, the FBI searched the Penn Biden Center mid-November after President Joe Biden’s lawyers found classified markings on documents at the think tank earlier in the month.
According to CBS, the FBI’s search was carried out without a warrant and in coordination avec Biden. However, it is not known if the FBI found any classified documents or other relevant material from the search.
Biden’s concerns about transparency in the case are compounded by the revelation of the search. Neither the White House nor the Justice Department (DOJ), have made it public.
Biden’s lawyers initially discovered documents marked classified that date back to Biden’s time as vice-president at the Penn Biden Center in November 2. They alerted National Archives. This bombshell was first reported by CBS on Jan 9.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the National Archives had informed DOJ of the discovery of documents on November 4, and that the FBI then, starting on November 9, began an assessment consistent with standard protocols in order to determine if classified information was mishandled in violation federal law.
Republicans are disputing the fact that DOJ and the White House knew of the classified documents issue prior to the November 8 election, but that it was not known by the public until CBS reported it on February 9.
“Early, Biden’s lawyers and Justice Department investigators thought they had a common understanding about keeping it quiet,” Washington Post reported in a report on the White House’s strategy to handle document discovery.
Transparency concerns were further complicated by the discovery on December 20th of documents with classified markings at Biden’s Wilmington home. This discovery was made after the White House first acknowledged the case on January 9.
CBS reported Tuesday that Biden’s personal lawyer Bob Bauer had announced on January 21 in a detailed statement that the FBI had carried out a planned search at Biden’s Wilmington home in coordination with President Obama.
Like the White House, DOJ and others, Bauer has not mentioned a November search. Instead, he only alluded to the FBI’s “inquiry” on January 14, referring to any documents taken and any surrounding material reviewed for context and further review.