Biden 'surprised' government records found at think tank
US President Joe Biden said he was surprised to hear that classified documents were found at his former office space in Washington.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he was surprised that classified documents from his time as vice president were found at an office he used at a Washington think tank.
"People know I take classified documents, classified information seriously," he told reporters after a summit in Mexico City. The president was asked about the issue after the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee requested that the US intelligence conduct a "damage assessment" of potentially classified documents.
"I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office. But I don't know what's in the documents," Biden added, vowing full cooperation with the review.
The White House confirmed that the Department of Justice was reviewing "a small number of documents with classified marking" found at the office.
What was discovered?
Biden's special counsel Richard Sauber said on Monday that the president's lawyers discovered the documents last November while clearing out the office space and handed them over to the National Archives, which handles such materials.
He described it as "a small number of documents with classified markings" that were found in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania.
"The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry" and since handing them over, Biden's attorneys have also cooperated "to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives," he said.
Biden kept an office at the Penn Biden Center after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.
Trump's classified documents
This discovery reminded of the situation around the documents found last year in former President Donald Trump's residence.
In August, authorities searched Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago after he failed to respond to repeated requests for cooperation on retrieving documents taken from the White House after his 2020 election loss.
The FBI found thousands of government documents, including more than 100 that were marked classified, and some marked top secret in the ex-president's Florida club. Subjects covered in the documents reportedly included sensitive intelligence on China and Iran, as well as alleged nuclear secrets.