DOJ reviews potentially classified documents at Biden Center

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is reviewing a possible set of classified documents discovered in the Washington office space of President Joe Biden’s former lab, the White House said Monday.

Presidential Special Counsel Richard Sauber said as Biden’s personal attorney was clearing out the offices of the Penn-Biden Center, where the president maintained office until 2017 after he stepped down as vice president in 2017. A small number of documents with classified markings” were found. Sauber said the documents were found in a “locked closet” in his office on Nov. 2, 2022, just before he launched his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019.

Sauber said the attorneys immediately notified the White House attorney’s office, who notified the National Archives and Records Administration, who filed the documents the next day.

“Since that discovery, the president’s personal attorneys have worked with the archives and the Department of Justice to ensure that the records of the Obama-Biden administration are properly preserved in the archives,” Sauber said.

A person familiar with the matter, but not authorized to discuss it publicly, said Attorney General Merrick Garland told U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Rausch after the Archives referred the matter to the department. John Rausch was appointed to his post by former President Donald Trump.

A message from the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago seeking comment was not immediately returned on Monday.

CBS was the first to report the discovery of potentially classified documents.

The Justice Department has been investigating the holding of about 300 documents marked classified for months. Former President Donald Trump’s Florida mansion. In that case, prosecutors said Trump’s representatives resisted demands to return the full cache of classified documents and did not fully comply with the subpoena seeking their return.

In August, FBI agents issued a search warrant on the Mar-a-Lago property and 15 boxes of records were removed.

The investigation is led by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Prosecutors have interviewed a series of Trump associates and used a grand jury to hear evidence.

It is not clear when a decision will be made on whether to indict Trump or someone else.

Officially known as the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, the think tank is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and continues to operate independently of the Biden administration.

Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Farnoush Amiri contributed to Washington and Michael Term contributed to Chicago.