A second batch of classified documents have reportedly been found by Joe Biden's aides days after the White House confirmed a cache had been discovered in former offices of the president.
The revelation comes after it was revealed the Department of Justice was reviewing “a small number of documents with classified markings” found at a think tank near the White House where the now president kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017.
Mr Biden's attorney immediately called the National Archives about the discovery, the White House said.
A search for additional material took place after Mr Biden’s lawyers found the first cache in early November, sources told CNN. Alarmed by the discovery, the White House launched a search of other locations where records from Mr Biden’s time as vice president may have been stored.CNN has previously reported that the first batch contained 10 classified documents, including US intelligence materials and briefing memos about Ukraine, Iran and the UK.
Some of the documents were marked “top secret,” and were found in boxes that contained unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act, CNN has reported.
The latest batch of classified records were discovered in a different location, Associated Press reported, but it is not yet clear where they were found or the level of classification.
The revelation that Mr Biden potentially mishandled classified or presidential records could prove to be a political headache for the president, who called Donald Trump’s decision to keep hundreds of such records at his private club in Florida “irresponsible.”
Roughly 300 documents with classification markings - including some at the top secret level - have been recovered from Mr Trump since he left office in January 2021.The former president faces legal action for allegedly mishandling classified files. Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed the department’s inquiry into his own conduct amounted to “corruption.”
Hours before the revelation that additional classified documents were uncovered by Mr Biden’s attorneys, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions about the president's handling of classified information and the White House’s management of the discovery.
She said the White House was committed to handling the matter in the “right way".
She failed to answer why the White House waited more than two months to reveal the discovery of the initial batch of documents, which were found on November 2, days before the midterm elections.
“As my colleagues in the Counsel have stated and said to all of you yesterday, this is an ongoing process under the review of the Department of Justice. So we are going to be limited on what we can say here," Ms Jean-Pierre said.
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The White House and Justice Department declined to comment on the latest reports of the second set of classified records, first reported by NBC News.
Mr Biden has said he was “surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office” but his lawyers “did what they should have done” when they immediately called the National Archives.
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee has requested that the U.S. intelligence community conduct a “damage assessment” of potentially classified documents.