President Joe Biden on Tuesday addressed the discovery of classified documents at a private office he used during his days in the Obama administration, saying he was “surprised” by the findings and does not know what the records contain.
“I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office,” he said during an address in Mexico City. “But I don’t know what was in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were.”
The White House announced the document discovery on Monday, saying that in November, Biden’s lawyers found a small collection of Barack Obama-era materials in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center ― a Washington think tank that he used as an office from 2017 to 2020.
The White House said Biden’s administration immediately contacted the National Archives, which maintains government documents, and turned them over a day later.
“People know I take classified documents, classified information seriously,” Biden said Tuesday.
Sources familiar with the matter told CBS News, which was the first to report on the documents, that there were about 10 records found in total, none of which contained nuclear secrets, one source said.
That’s a tiny fraction of the 10,000-plus documents found during an FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s private Florida residence last summer, more than 100 of which were marked as classified. Richard Sauber, the special counsel looking into Biden’s files, rejected comparisons between the two incidents, saying Monday that the documents at the think tank office “were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the archives.”
“Since that discovery,” he continued, “the president’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden administration documents are appropriately in the possession of the archives.”
That hasn’t stopped Republicans, including Trump, from pouncing on the news.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many houses of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” Trump wrote on his social media network, Truth Social. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”