WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI raided President Joe Biden’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday and found no classified documents.The latest twist in his and his predecessor’s extraordinary pursuits of property.
Agents took handwritten notes and other materials related to Biden’s time as vice president for review, and when they searched his Wilmington home last month, they also found classified material. Investigators searched his former office at the Washington think tank that bears his name in November, but it’s unclear if they took anything.
The Biden searches, conducted with his blessing, have investigators working to determine how classified information from his time as senator and vice president got into his home and former office — and whether any mishandling involved criminal intent or simply existed. Fault in a city dealing with classified documents in an unauthorized manner.
Law enforcement searches of property are a routine part of criminal investigations, but while Biden and his aides have tried to draw comparisons to his predecessor’s actions, there is nothing out of the ordinary about the FBI searching the home of a sitting president.
Former President Donald Trump is facing a criminal investigation by the special counsel over the storage of hundreds of classified documents and other government records at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. — and his resistance to giving them up led to an FBI warrant and search warrant to seize them last August.
On Wednesday, Bob Bauer, Biden’s personal attorney, said that FBI agents authorized by the Department of Justice searched the president’s beach house for three and a half hours and “did not find any documents with detailed identification.”
In a statement disclosing the search, Bauer sought to portray Biden and his team as fully transparent and cooperative. He described the search as “planned” and that “we will continue to fully support and facilitate a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process.”
He did not name Trump, but the statement was intended to align the Biden investigation with the Trump case, where months of unsuccessful judicial efforts culminated in an August search warrant for all classified records taken to the former president’s Florida estate. Removing nearly three dozen boxes of documents and other items.
By contrast, the searches of Biden’s former office and Delaware home were all voluntary and without a warrant. But the FBI conducted its own search, not relying on assurances that such documents existed, reflecting the Justice Department’s determination to recover all possible classified material.
Biden said he was surprised It was discovered by Ben Biden’s lawyers in November while cleaning out an office inside the center.
The latest search follows the FBI’s 13-hour, top-to-bottom search of his Wilmington, Delaware home.Agents found classified documents from his time as vice president and senator, and seized some of his handwritten notes.
A week ago, Biden’s personal attorneys revealed that they found a document containing classified identities while searching the Wilmington property. But he said a separate inspection of the Rehoboth Beach house found no others.
The White House did not release the Justice Department’s investigation until it acknowledged the findings on November 2 last month. A “small number” of classified documents were released by Biden lawyers when they closed an office at the Ben Biden Center, a think tank affiliated with the Ivy League school.
The Associated Press and other news outlets reported it Tuesday, though officials did not release it The FBI conducted a voluntary search of the office in November.
The administration’s public response has been slow and incomplete. Despite the insistence of Biden’s lawyers and White House counsel, many questions remain unanswered about what information the documents contain, how much of it was discovered, and why he had them in his possession.
“I think we’ve been very transparent from the beginning,” Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, said Wednesday. “We want to be careful to be very respectful of the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”
Sams reiterated that Biden is cooperating with justice investigators.
“The president has fully cooperated in providing unprecedented access to his home … in every room of his home in Rehoboth and Wilmington,” he said.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the search Wednesday.
Biden’s lawyers have described the retention of the records as “misleading.” The Department of Justice has historically brought criminal charges related to the mishandling of classified records, among other things, only when it can establish that someone knowingly acted in the improper disposal or storage of sensitive records.
The Biden documents investigation is being handled by special counsel Robert Hurr. The former Justice Department official served as the top federal prosecutor in Baltimore during the Trump administration. He starts his job this week, receiving a month-long investigation that has already been carried out by FBI agents and Justice Department prosecutors.
Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned John Lash, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to conduct a preliminary review before announcing Harin’s nomination last month.
In a separate effort prior to the Biden study, Special Counsel Jack Smith It is investigating Trump’s retention of some 300 documents with classified markings that were taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. Agents obtained a search warrant last August to retrieve classified documents after the Justice Department said Trump and his representatives had resisted returning the records to the government for months.
Investigators in the Biden case have already conducted interviews in which former Biden executive assistant Ben Biden helped oversee the packing of boxes that went to the center. It is not yet clear when the Justice Department may question Biden himself.
In June 2017, months after he left the vice presidency, the Bidens bought their Rehoboth Beach home, which overlooks a state park along the coast.