The FBI searches Biden’s house for almost 13 hours and finds new classified documents | International

FBI agents under the orders of the Department of Justice were searching the house of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, this Friday from 9:45 in the morning until 10:30 at night. It was an agreed search, without a requirement or court order, but offered voluntarily by Biden and his lawyers. In those almost 13 hours of thoroughly reviewing the president’s belongings, the agents found new documents with confidential classification marks and attached materials both from the time when Biden was a senator and when he was vice president, his lawyer reported this Saturday. staff. They took possession of them and also took some of Biden’s handwritten notes from the years he was vice president (2009 to 2017).

The soap opera of the classified papers seems to have no end. Since the discovery of the first ones in a private office at the Penn Biden Center, a university center where Biden was working, the trickle has been constant and the presidential explanations have been confusing. The head of the Department of Justice, Merrick Garland, appointed by Biden and who exercises the functions of attorney general, has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case, although the president has tried to play it down. There are big differences, but also obvious parallels, with the roles that his predecessor, Donald Trump, had in his Mar-A-Lago mansion in Palm Beach (Florida).

Trump asked that the houses of the current president be searched: “When is the FBI going to raid the many houses of Joe Biden, maybe even the White House?”, he wrote on his social network, Truth Social. Finally, without a raid, but voluntarily, there has been a search of his residence in Wilmington (Delaware), where the president lived before being elected and where he usually spends most of the weekends, including this one, in which he did not appear No event on his official agenda. It is a performance of which there are no precedents.

There his lawyers had already found a second batch of classified documents in a room next to the garage on December 20 and new confidential papers last week, with Justice Department officials already present then. The search, as far as is known, was not exhaustive enough.

The search of Biden’s house this Friday was not made public in advance at the request of the Department of Justice, according to Bob Bauer, his personal lawyer, who issued the statement on Saturday revealing the search and its result.

“From the outset of this matter, the President directed his personal attorneys to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice (DOJ). Accordingly, having previously identified and reported to DOJ a small number of documents bearing classification marks at the President’s Wilmington home, and in the interest of moving the process forward as expeditiously as possible, we offered to facilitate immediate access to your address to allow DOJ to conduct a search of all precincts for possible vice presidential records and possible classified material,” the statement said.

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According to Bauer, the Justice Department conducted an “extensive search” that included all work, living and storage spaces in the house. It lasted 12 hours and 45 minutes, approximately. Under an agreement with the Department of Justice, representatives of Biden’s personal legal team and the White House Office of Legal Counsel were present.

Normally, it is agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who act as judicial police, and this has happened on this occasion, according to the AP agency, although the statement does not specify it. Investigators had full access to the president’s home, including handwritten notes, files, papers, folders, memorabilia, to-do lists, calendars, and reminders dating back decades.

“The DOJ took possession of material it considered to be within the scope of its investigation, including six items consisting of documents with classification marks and accompanying materials, some of which were from the president’s term in the Senate and others from his tenure as vice president. The DOJ also took, for further examination, personal handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years,” Bauer explains in his statement. US law requires that presidential records and documents be preserved and made available to the National Archives upon leaving office, whether confidential or not.

The search of Mar-A-Lago occurred after a request neglected by Trump and his lawyers and after a court order for indications of four possible crimes, including obstruction of justice. The collaboration of the current president and his lawyers and the voluntary delivery of the classified papers is the biggest difference with the Trump case. At the same time, the search by FBI agents adds a new parallel, even if only partial.

Politically, there is no doubt that it is a blow for Biden, who when asked about the secret documents seized in the Mar-a-Lago search in an interview for the program 60 minutes broadcast last September, he replied: “How is it possible for that to happen? How can someone be so irresponsible?

The United States classifies its top secrets as confidential, but it also routinely classifies State Department communications with its embassies, even if sometimes on trivial matters, as the WikiLeaks leak showed. By its very nature, the content of the documents improperly maintained by Biden has not been disclosed, although it has been known that some dealt with the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Iran.

The ten confidential documents that Biden had in his office were discovered on November 2, days before the midterm elections, in which such news could have had a clear effect. The finding, however, was not revealed until two weeks ago and this delay is another of the issues to which the White House has not been able to respond.

Biden declared himself “surprised” to learn that there were government records in the office of the Penn Biden Center and assured that he did not know what their contents were. If he manages to convince prosecutors that there was no intention to seize and hold them, the criminal case may be watered down. Impeachment is another matter entirely.

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