White House says classified documents were found in Biden’s garage in Delaware

A “small number” of Obama administration documents with classified markings were found in President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, the White House said Thursday.

In a statement released on Twitter, Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber said the documents were found during a search for documents in Biden’s two Delaware homes.

“All but one of these documents were found in storage space in the president’s Wilmington residence garage. One document consisting of one page was discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room,” Sauber said.

No documents were found in Biden’s Rehoboth Beach residence.

In brief remarks to reporters, the president said the documents were found in “storage areas and file cabinets in my home, in my personal library.”

Asked why he’d had classified documents next to his Corvette in his garage, Biden said, “My Corvette’s in a locked garage. It’s not like they’re sitting out on a street.” 

He then added that “people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously.”

Sauber said the Department of Justice was “immediately notified” about the find, and Biden’s lawyers arranged for DOJ to take possession of the documents.

The White House says the search was completed Wednesday night.

It’s unclear why Biden’s homes were just being searched now. Sauber acknowledged earlier this week — following a CBS News report — that some classified documents had been found on Nov. 2 in a Washington office that had been used by Biden.

Sauber’s statement comes a day after NBC News first reported aides to the president had discovered at least one additional batch of classified documents in a location separate from the Washington office he used after leaving the Obama administration.

On Thursday, Sauber said the president’s lawyers have now completed searches of “locations where files from his Vice-Presidential office might have been shipped in the course of the 2017 transition.” 

Sauber said the White House “will continue to cooperate” with the DOJ review.

Sauber’s statement Thursday gave a slightly different account of what happened following the initial discovery of classified material in a locked closet in Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.

In his statement Monday, Sauber said, “On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.” In the statement Thursday, Sauber said, “As was done in the case of the Penn-Biden Center, the Department of Justice was immediately notified, and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of these documents.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked John R. Lausch, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and a holdover Trump appointee, to review how the classified material ended up in the closet, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News earlier this week.

Garland has scheduled a public announcement for 1:15 pm ET Thursday. The topic was not disclosed. It’s unclear if it’s related to the Biden case.

Rebecca Shabad and Scott Wong contributed.

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