When President Biden’s lawyers first found classified documents at the Penn Biden Center in November, they told the DOJ that there was no reason to believe there were other classified documents from his vice-presidency in other locations.
That theory was based on interviews with the aides who had been responsible for packing and shipping the materials.
Those officials involved in the packing up of Biden’s White House office and Vice Presidential home told Biden’s lawyers that there were two primary sets of materials involved:
- The first set consisted of material that might be useful for Biden’s post-vice-presidential career in public life or teaching, like his speeches and unclassified policy memos about topics he was interested in. Those materials were initially shipped to two transition offices and then on to his office at the Penn Biden Center when it opened in 2018. NARA would keep the original copies.
- The second set was supposed to be material like political campaign-related documents and old campaign memorabilia, which are exceptions to what counts as presidential records. Those boxes were shipped to the garage of his Wilmington residence. This set was believed to contain no official records.
Biden’s attorneys decided as a matter of due diligence to check the boxes at the Wilmington garage, and on December 20 they reported that they found several classified documents there. The discussion about whether there were more inside the residence took place with the DOJ, and Biden’s team said they would alert the DOJ if anything turned up.
On January 11, the Biden team found one document inside the residence in a storage area. This led the Biden team to invite the FBI to search every room in the residence, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and utility areas.