classified Obama-era documents discovered at institute founded by Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden in Washington on January 4, 2023.

This beginning of the year 2023 started well for the White House, thanks to the spectacle of the Republican heartbreaks, during the election of speaker in the House of Representatives.

Monday, January 9, a revelation has however compromised this favorable pass. According to the CBS channel, the Minister of Justice, theattorney general Merrick Garland, has appointed a magistrate to examine documents, some of which are classified, found on the premises of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. This is a think tank opened by the president before his election, attached to the University of Pennsylvania. These documents date from when Joe Biden was Barack Obama’s vice-president (2009-2017). We know neither the course, nor the degree of classification, nor the content. But this case comes at the right time for the Republicans, who immediately seized on it.

Joe Biden occupied these premises between mid-2017 and the spring of 2019, when he launched his presidential campaign. Former executives at the center include White House aide to the president Steve Ricchetti and the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

These documents were identified on November 2, 2022 by the president’s personal attorneys, the week before the midterm elections. They were in a closed cabinet, which had to be emptied to free up office space, said Richard Sauber, special adviser to Joe Biden, in a press release.

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That same November 2, the White House alerted the National Archives, which took possession of it the next day and informed the Department of Justice. In the process, Merrick Garland asked a magistrate appointed by Donald Trump, John Lausch, attorney for the northern district of Illinois, to examine the documents in question. It will be up to him to consider, or not, possible consequences.

Republicans hold ground for revenge

The procedures would therefore have been scrupulously respected from the discovery, without however raising all the questions about the years that preceded. The White House wanted to display its immediate desire for cooperation with the National Archives, to emphasize the contrast with the behavior of Donald Trump. The latter is at the heart of a federal investigation because of the seizure of a huge amount of classified documents, in August 2022, from his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. The former president immediately commented on the embarrassing revelation for his successor on Monday. “When did the FBI [la police fédérale] will raid Joe Biden’s many residences, and possibly even the White House? » he wrote on his network, Truth Social.

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