After President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered secret materials at the think tank earlier that month, the FBI conducted a search of the Penn Biden Center in mid-November, according to a CBS report released on Tuesday.
According to CBS, the FBI searched without a warrant and in conjunction with Biden, but it is yet unknown whether the search turned up any classified documents or other important information.
The search’s disclosure, which neither the White House nor the Justice Department (DOJ) made public, adds fuel to Biden’s already-existing concerns about the case’s transparency.
In a shocking development first revealed by CBS on January 9, Biden’s attorneys discovered documents with the classification “classified” during his time as vice president at the Penn Biden Center on November 2 and immediately contacted the National Archives.
The National Archives notified the DOJ about the documents’ discovery on November 4, and this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel to the case. On November 9, the FBI “started an assessment consistent with standard protocols to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law,” he said.
Republicans have criticized the White House and DOJ for being aware of the classified materials issue prior to the November 8 midterm elections, but the public was not made aware of it until CBS broke the story on January 9.
The Washington Post stated in an article on the White House’s approach to the document discovery that “early on, Biden’s attorneys and Justice Department investigators both assumed they had a shared understanding about keeping the matter quiet.”
The subsequent discovery on December 20 of documents with classified markings at Biden’s Wilmington residence, which the White House initially failed to mention when it first recognized the document case on January 9, has complicated transparency concerns.
The FBI had a scheduled search of Biden’s Wilmington home the day before, in collaboration with the president, according to a lengthy statement made on January 21 by Bob Bauer, the vice president’s personal attorney, according to a story from CBS on Tuesday.
When referring to the FBI’s “inquiry, including taking possession of any documents and analyzing any surrounding material for further analysis and context,” Bauer, like the White House and DOJ, has made no mention of a search in November. Instead, they only alluded to it on January 14.