WASHINGTON — No classified documents were found during the FBI’s search of President Joe Biden’s beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on Wednesday, an attorney for the president said in a statement.
“The DOJ’s planned search of the president’s Rehoboth residence, conducted in coordination and cooperation with the president’s attorneys, has concluded,” Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, said, adding that the search was conducted from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
“Consistent with the process in Wilmington, the DOJ took for further review some materials and handwritten notes that appear to relate to his time as vice president,” Bauer said.
The FBI’s search of Biden’s Rehoboth beach house came amid ongoing classified documents investigations. A source familiar with the matter said no warrant was involved and the search was consensual.
Earlier Wednesday, Bauer said in a statement that the Department of Justice was conducting the search with Biden’s full support and cooperation.
“Under DOJ’s standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate,” Bauer said. “The search today is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate. We will have further information at the conclusion of today’s search.”
Documents with classified markings were found earlier in Biden’s Wilmington residence and a Washington think tank office, but Bauer and the White House said earlier this month that no classified documents were found at the president’s beach house.
The National Archives, which is responsible for retaining presidential records, declined to comment on the search of the president’s Rehoboth home.
The FBI previously searched the offices of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in mid-November after classified documents were discovered there, NBC News reported Tuesday.
Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, in taking questions from reporters outside the White House repeatedly said that the president and his team have been fully cooperative with the Justice Department. In leaving several questions unanswered, he said the White House wants to “be careful” about sharing information that is part of an ongoing investigation.
“We’re gonna continue to try to provide information as this investigation goes on and ensure that you guys have the ability to share with the American people sort of the information that is important for them to see as the president’s cooperating with this investigation,” Sams said.
News of the FBI’s search of Biden’s beach house comes as former President Donald Trump has been under investigation after classified documents were found at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. FBI agents executed a search at Trump’s Florida estate last year and found more than 100 classified documents, including some marked top secret. Last December, two more documents with classified markings were found at a Florida storage facility not far from Mar-a-Lago and were turned over to the FBI.
A “small number” of classified documents were also discovered last month at former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home, the former vice president’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, said in a letter sent to the National Archives. Pence had asked “outside counsel” to look for records bearing classified markings, according to Jacob.
Reacting to news of the FBI’s search of Biden’s beach home, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said it’s good that the president is cooperating with the inquiry.
“I’m sure that he says, ‘Hey, everything I have is fair game.’ I think that’s very open, very honest. And that’s great,” Manchin said. “I don’t think there’s any resistance, is there? I would think, if anything, he’d probably encourage it to be done.”
Asked about the search of Biden’s home for classified documents, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the first priority must be to “make sure that they don’t put this country at risk.”
“The Intel Committee at a minimum should know what’s in those documents — not just Biden’s documents but Pence’s documents, Trump’s documents,” Tester said Wednesday.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said Wednesday that he’s working with ranking member Jamie Raskin, D-Md., about a bipartisan bill to overhaul the system involving classified documents for former White House officeholders.
Comer said he wants “a set pattern for how documents” leave the president’s and vice president’s offices as they enter private life, and a way to tackle over-classification, in part by revamping the governmental process for those decisions.
Comer asked the White House last month for the release of visitors logs from Biden’s home in Delaware. The White House Counsel’s Office said it is reviewing Comer’s request related to Biden’s handling of classified documents and signaled it plans to cooperate to an extent.
Raskin on Tuesday demanded the Secret Service provide information about visitors to Trump’s and Pence’s personal residences since they left office in light of the “mishandling of sensitive, highly classified documents.” In a news release, Raskin described the request as “similar” to the requests by Comer last month focusing on classified documents discovered at Biden’s home in Wilmington.