US president Joe Biden’s counsel said on Saturday that five additional pages with classified markings were discovered at the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home on Thursday, and they were immediately handed over to Justice Department officials.
Biden’s special counsel, Richard Sauber, said he travelled to Mr Biden’s Wilmington home on Thursday to facilitate the handover to the US justice department of a document with classified markings that was found there earlier.
“While I was transferring it to the DOJ [justice department] officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them,” Mr Sauber said in a statement.
[ Confidential files: Biden and Trump cases differ, but public may not see it that way ]
Biden's legal team acknowledged this week it had found classified documents relating to his time as vice-president in the Obama administration at his Delaware home, including some in his garage.
Aides previously found another batch of classified documents at his residence, and at a Washington think tank he was associated with. US attorney general Merrick Garland named a special counsel on Thursday to probe the matter.
“How many more classified documents will they find at Joe Biden’s house?” the Republican House Judiciary Committee said in a tweet early on Saturday.
Mr Sauber said Biden’s lawyer have acted “immediately and voluntarily” to handover all the documents found to the proper authorities.
“We have now publicly released specific details about the documents identified, how they were identified, and where they were found. The appointment of the special counsel in this matter this week means we will now refer specific questions to the special counsel’s office moving forward. As I said Thursday, the White House will co-operate with the newly appointed special counsel,” he said.
Mr Biden is spending the weekend at his Wilmington home with his wife, Jill Biden, who underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove skin lesions from her face and chest.
[ Classified US government documents found at Biden home ]
Mr Biden was asked by a reporter on Thursday about the wisdom of storing important material next to his Corvette. The self-declared “car guy” president said both were in a locked garage.
“It's not like they’re sitting out in the street,” he said. “People know I take classified documents and classified material seriously.”
Republicans in the US House of Representatives launched an investigation on Friday into the Justice Department’s handling of improperly stored classified documents possessed by Biden, and questioned whether his son, Hunter, had access to any.
Republicans have sought to compare the investigation of Biden’s handling of classified documents to the ongoing probe into how former US president Donald Trump handled classified documents after his presidency.
The White House, however, says the two cases are different because Biden's team has co-operated with authorities in their probe and had turned over those documents. Trump had resisted doing so until an August FBI search at his Florida home.
Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal lawyer, said in a statement that Biden had directed his personal attorneys to be “forthcoming and fully co-operative with the National Archives and Records Administration and the justice department regarding the documents.
“In addition, the president’s personal attorneys have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity. These considerations require avoiding the public release of detail relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing,” he said. – Reuters