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DOJ Investigates Classified Biden Documents

National

President Joe Biden | Image by Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has recruited a Trump-appointed attorney to investigate classified documents recovered from a Biden-aligned think tank.

John Lausch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, was appointed in November 2017 by President Donald Trump.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Lausch to investigate a collection of documents found in the offices of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement — a think tank launched in 2018 and named after Joe Biden that focuses on diplomacy and engagement with foreign policy leaders.

Lawyers for President Biden said they notified the National Archives immediately after the documents were discovered and returned them to the Archives in November.

The documents are dated from the Obama administration, and some are marked as classified.

Richard Sauber, special counsel to the White House, confirmed on Monday that Biden’s attorneys discovered the documents on November 2 — mere days before the midterm elections.

He said the documents were discovered when the attorneys “were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.”

“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives,” said Sauber. “Since that discovery, the President’s attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”

President Biden responded Tuesday, saying he was surprised the classified documents were found and he does not know what they contain.

“People know I take classified documents, classified information, seriously,” he said during a press conference in Mexico City. “I was surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office.

“We are cooperating fully … with the review, which I hope will be finished soon,” he continued.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, noted on Monday that the DOJ and the National Archives under the Biden administration “made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority.”

After revelations last year that former President Donald Trump had classified documents in his home, the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago and recovered roughly 300 classified documents.

“We expect the same treatment for President Biden, who has apparently inappropriately maintained classified documents in an insecure setting for several years,” said Comer.

“What’s the difference in what President Trump did versus what we now know President Biden did?” Comer asked. “We want to know exactly what documents were taken by both President Trump and now President Biden and want to know if they’re gonna treat President Biden any differently than they treated President Trump.”

Trump himself wrote on Truth Social, “When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House? These documents were definitely not declassified.”

Others argue that the two cases are not comparable.

“So far, it’s completely apples to oranges here,” said Bradley Moss, a security clearance expert and deputy executive director of the James Madison Project.

Moss told CNN that, assuming no more evidence comes to light, the conduct of Biden’s team is materially different because of “the cooperation and the absence of obstruction in which they have engaged compared to what Donald Trump did.”

The collection of documents at Mar-a-Lago contained information about nuclear capabilities and correspondence between Trump and Kim Jong-un. That investigation is now under the control of Special Counsel Jack Smith, whom Garland appointed on November 18, 2022.

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