Fri, 01 Dec 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden's holiday home subject of FBI search

Voice of America
02 Feb 2023, 07:11 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, DC - FBI agents on Wednesday searched for classified documents at U.S. President Joe Biden's vacation retreat in the city of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as part of its investigation into Biden's handling of government security materials after he left the vice presidency in 2017, his personal lawyer said.

In a statement, the lawyer, Bob Bauer, said the search at the blue-and-white, three-story home was "planned" and being conducted with Biden's "full support and cooperation."

Bauer said under the Department of Justice's "standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate. The search [Wednesday] is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate. We will have further information at the conclusion of today's search."

The search at the home near the Atlantic Ocean follows earlier ones in which Biden aides late last year found a collection of documents with classified markings at a Washington research organization, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, where Biden occasionally worked after his vice presidential term ended, and at his primary private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

The White House said at the time that no more classified documents were found at the Rehoboth Beach home.

FILE - U.S. President Joe Biden walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Jan. 6, 2022.

Key Dates in the Discovery of Classified Records Tied to Biden

The FBI's search of the vacation property comes after an intensive, 13-hour search on January 20 at the Wilmington residence, where agents found documents with classified markings and took possession of some of Biden's handwritten notes.

Altogether, some 20 or more classified documents have been recovered by Biden's lawyers or the FBI agents at the Washington office and Wilmington home.

The January search came after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland named a career prosecutor, Robert Hur, to investigate Biden's handling of the classified material, months after naming another prosecutor, Jack Smith, to investigate about 320 documents with classified markings found at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump's Atlantic Ocean retreat in Florida.

FILE - Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at an event in Manchester, N.H., June 3, 2021.

US Presidents Facing Scrutiny on Documents

Last month, Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, said some classified material was found at his home in Indiana.

Under U.S. law, all three officials were required to turn over the documents to the National Archives and Records Administration when their terms in office ended.

Biden and his lawyers have sought to downplay the probe, suggesting that a small number of documents was retained inadvertently.

Trump only reluctantly turned over dozens of documents after taking them to Mar-a-Lago when he left office two years ago, eventually forcing the government to secure a warrant for a court-approved search because it suspected Trump had not turned over all the materials in his possession. Agents recovered about 100 more in a search last August.

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