Five additional pages of classified material have been found at the Delaware residence of President Joe Biden, the White House has said, bringing the total number of secret documents uncovered to about two dozen.
The discovery came just hours after the White House Counsel’s Office had released a statement specifically citing the discovery of a single document and the same day Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former US Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate the matter.
With this, the total number of classified documents found at Biden’s residences in Delaware and his private office in Washington DC has increased roughly to about two dozen.
While the details and contents of these documents are not known, these are from the period when he was serving as the vice president under the Barack Obama administration from 2009 to 2016.
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There are three basic levels of US classification of documents: confidential, secret and top secret.
Biden, who normally spends his weekends at his residence in Wilmington, Delaware, arrived there on Friday evening. The White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber in a statement on Saturday said that one classified document was found in a room adjacent to Biden’s garage Wednesday night.
The lawyers who discovered that document did not have security clearances paused their search as a result, Sauber said on Saturday.
“While I was transferring it to the DOJ (Department of Justice) officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them,” he said.
“The President’s lawyers have acted immediately and voluntarily to provide the Penn Biden documents to the Archives and the Wilmington documents to DOJ. We have now publicly released specific details about the documents identified, how they were identified, and where they were found,” he said.
The White House is facing increasing criticism for its lack of transparency with the public over the documents.
The initial batch of documents – 10 classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president were found at his former private office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement – were found on November 2 but not revealed to the public until Monday.
Biden used the office from 2017 to 2019 when he was an honorary professor for the University of Pennsylvania.
In a separate statement, Biden’s attorney Bob Bauer said that the president’s attorneys do not know the precise number of pages in the discovered material, nor have they reviewed the content of the documents, consistent with standard procedures and requirements.
“Adhering to this process means that any disclosure regarding documents cannot be conclusive until the government has conducted its inquiry, including taking possession of any documents and reviewing any surrounding material for further review and context,” Bauer said.
“The President’s personal attorneys have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity,” Bauer said.
“These considerations require avoiding the public release of detail relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.” The White House on Thursday said Biden takes classified documents and information “very seriously” and does not know what is in the secret papers found at his personal residence and private office.
Meanwhile, Republicans have asked the White House to release visitor logs of Biden’s homes, but the White House has refused to say if such information will be made public.
Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, is also under investigation by the Justice Department after he kept more than 300 classified files – including some marked secret and top secret – at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.