According to the latest reports, some of the items discovered in Joe Biden’s private office related to United States intelligence memos and briefing materials during his tenure as Vice President under former President Barack Obama on Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom.
According to reports, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland received a preliminary report on the documents inquiry and now must decide how to proceed on the matter and whether to open a full-blown criminal investigation. The classified documents were dated between 2013 and 2016 and were found in several boxes containing unclassified papers, which fall under the Presidential Records Act.
The three-year period covers significant events during the Obama administration, including the Iran nuclear deal of 2015, the Maidan Revolution that overthrew Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in February 2014. It also includes the start of Hunter Biden’s connection with Ukrainian natural gas company Purisima, which hired him to serve on its board in the spring of 2014, despite having no experience in the energy industry.
“This discovery of classified information would put President Biden in potential violation of laws protecting national security, including the Espionage Act and Presidential Records Act,” said House intel committee chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
“Those entrusted with access to classified information have a duty and an obligation to protect it. This issue demands a full and thorough review,” Turner said.
While many of the items in the office contained personal Biden family documents, including materials about Beau Biden’s funeral arrangements and condolence letters, it is not clear if the boxes with classified documents had personal materials.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to investigate the issue after receiving a referral from the National Archives and Records.
According to CNN, the documents were discovered last November, just several days before the 2022 midterm elections, but only became public recently due to news reports. The outlet notes that a personal lawyer for Biden was closing out the downtown D.C. office that the former Vice President used as part of his work with the University of Pennsylvania.
The lawyer saw a manila folder labeled “personal,” opened the envelope, and noticed the classified documents inside. The lawyer closed the envelope and called N.A.R.A.
On Tuesday, the president said that he did not know that classified documents were taken to his private office after he had left the vice presidency and that his attorneys did “what they should have done” by calling the National Archives.
In response to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Mexico City, the president said he was “surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office.”