Biden Says He’s “Surprised” After Classified Documents Found

( Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said he was “surprised to learn” about classified government records that were found in a private office he ran.

Those documents were found by his personal attorneys when they were clearing out his office this week. They originated from his time as vice president under former President Barack Obama.

Responding to a question by a reporter on Tuesday during a news conference he held in Mexico City — as part of a summit he was attending with leaders from both Canada and Mexico — Biden said:

“I was surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office.”

He added that he doesn’t know what information is in the actual documents that his lawyers found in the office in Washington, D.C., that he used while he was serving as an honorary professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to a CNN report, the documents that were found included U.S. intelligence memos as well as briefing materials that included information about the United Kingdom, Iran and Ukraine.

Biden said that he wasn’t aware that the documents were there, and was only notified that they were in the office once his personal lawyers let the counsel’s office at the White House know.

Those records were found back in November when Biden’s personal attorneys were packing files, according to the White House. Once the White House counsel’s office was made aware of it, they sent notification to the National Archives and Records Administration.

CNN reported that less than a dozen classified documents were found at the office. Some of those files, though, had the designation of “sensitive compartmented information, or SCI, meaning they were top-secret. Often, this designation is used for information that’s highly sensitive and obtained from various intelligence sources.

All federal officials have to turn over any official document as well as classified records when their time in government comes to a close. This is the central crux of the Department of Justice’s inquiry into former President Donald Trump, who took boxes of classified documents with him to his home in Florida, and then denied he had them when asked.

The FBI seized those documents in a well-publicized raid back in August.

While the White House downplayed the presence of the classified documents, the DOJ is certainly taking it seriously.

On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur to serve as a special counsel to oversee the investigation into the documents. In 2017, Hur was nominated to be U.S. attorney in Maryland by Trump, who was then serving as president.

In making the appointment of the special counsel, Garland commented:

“I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity. But, under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter.

“This appointment underscores for the public the department’s commitment to independence and accountability, and particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”