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Sources have told CNN that some of the materials discovered last fall in a private office used by President Joe Biden include classified documents related to Ukraine, Iran, and the UK. The Tuesday report said investigators have discovered “10 classified documents including US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered” a variety of topics related to those countries.
The report noted further that Attorney General Merrick Garland has been sent a preliminary investigative report regarding the inquiry, a law enforcement source told CNN. Now, he “faces the critical decision on how to proceed, including whether to open a full-blown criminal investigation,” the outlet continued.
The network’s report went on to say that Chicago-based U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. has briefed the AG several times, and while no additional briefings are scheduled at the moment, CNN said a source noted more would be held if they become necessary.
The classified documents were dated between 2013 and 2016, according to the source familiar. They were found in three or four boxes also containing unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act.
The vast majority of the items in the office contained personal Biden family documents, including materials about Beau Biden’s funeral arrangements and condolence letters, the source told CNN. It is not clear if the boxes with classified documents contained personal materials.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the US attorney in Chicago, a holdover from the Trump administration, to investigate the matter, CNN previously reported. Garland made this move after receiving a referral from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
CNN noted further that the documents were discovered six days before the midterm elections, on Nov. 2. However, the issue only became public on Monday, thanks to news reports.
A source told the outlet that the document discovery was made by a personal lawyer of the president as he was closing out a downtown D.C. office that Biden had been using as part of his work with the University of Pennsylvania. The attorney apparently found a manila folder labeled “personal,” and when he opened it, he noticed it contained some classified items. At that point, CNN said, citing a source, the attorney closed the folder and called NARA.
“After making contact with NARA, Biden’s team turned over several boxes in an abundance of caution, even though many of the boxes contained personal materials, the source said,” CNN reported.
Not surprisingly, Biden on Tuesday claimed he didn’t know that classified documents were at his private office after he left the vice presidency. He added that his lawyers “did what they should have done” by calling the National Archives right away.
“I was surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question during a news conference in Mexico City, as he attended a meeting with Mexican and Canadian leaders.
The documents, the president said, were found in “a box, locked cabinet – or at least a closet.”
“People know I take classified documents, classified information seriously,” he said.
A law enforcement source told CNN that Lausch has already submitted a preliminary report to Garland.
“That means Garland now must decide how to proceed. Garland was also personally involved in some of the key decision-making related to the Trump documents investigation and the decision to send the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago,” CNN reported.
“In the Trump matter, Garland tapped special counsel Jack Smith to take over both the criminal investigation into Trump’s post-2020 election activities and the inquiry into classified documents the former president had taken to his Florida resort. The Biden probe is nowhere near that stage,” the outlet continued.
Trump responded to the revelation on his Truth Social platform.
“Biden’s documents are HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, many pertain to UKRAINE, where Hunter was “raking in the dough,” and FUNDED BY CHINA, which gave $55 Million to Biden, through Penn, and probably had easy access,” he wrote on Tuesday.