The Department of Justice reportedly opted against having FBI agents oversee a search by President Joe Biden’s lawyers for classified documents at his private homes.
Biden’s legal team discussed directly with the DOJ the idea of having FBI agents present during such searches, according to the Wall Street Journal, though both parties ultimately agreed to leave the matter to the president’s own attorneys.
Current and former law enforcement officials indicated to the outlet that the decision to allow Biden’s lawyers to conduct the searches privately may afford the DOJ greater leeway to take firmer measures in the future.
News of the discussions comes as Biden’s aids have discovered multiple troves of classified materials in various locations occupied by the president, including both his Delaware home and his former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington. Materials found in the Penn Biden Center reportedly included intelligence materials on Ukraine, Iran and the UK. The early November discovery of documents in the Penn Biden Center prompted the president’s aides to begin searching other locations.
Biden has expressed his surprise at the discovery of documents in the Washington office, while acknowledging that the Delaware batch was in his garage, defending his storage of the materials in his garage alongside his Corvette.
Attorney General Merrick Garland recently appointed special counsel Robert Hur to investigate the president’s handling of classified materials, amid growing demand from Republicans that he do so. GOP leaders have long accused the DOJ of partisan bias, given its handling of the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s own storage of classified materials.
Hur’s appointment has not been without controversy as the former U.S. Attorney has a longstanding record of prosecuting corrupt Democratic officials, but also has links to former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, both of whom many conservatives regard as highly suspect.
Biden has thus far declined to commit to an interview with Hur. White House spokesman Ian Sams and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre have both deferred on the question of the president’s participation in Hur’s inquiry.