Surprise! FBI searched Penn Biden Center in November

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

And … we’re only finding this out now? So much for all the “transparency” that the White House keeps claiming in Joe Biden’s classified-material scandal.


CBS News reports that the FBI conducted its own search of the Penn Biden Center in mid-November after Biden’s attorneys found the data stored illegally there. Their sources claim that Biden and his team cooperated and that a search warrant didn’t get issued, but that late revelation once again raises the question of what else the White House hasn’t disclosed.

For instance, whether the FBI found some of the material rather than Biden’s attorneys:

The FBI searched the Penn Biden Center offices in mid-November, according to two sources familiar with the investigation, after lawyers for President Biden had found about 10 documents marked classified there on Nov. 2. The material originated from Mr. Biden’s time as vice president.

It is not clear whether FBI personnel found any additional classified or presidential material during the mid-November sweep.

This raises another question, too. No one has adequately explained why Biden’s attorneys were parsing through the PBC files when they found the material. David Harsanyi wonders whether the National Archives or Department of Justice prompted the opening of the files in the first place. His second point is even more debatable:


I couldn’t disagree on the mitigation motive more strongly. The best way to have handled this would have been full disclosure up front, but failing that, full disclosure at the time CBS News broke the original story. Stringing this out over several weeks of news cycles in ways that make them look dishonest and forcing them to change their narrative is the worst possible political strategy to employ here. Especially for a president who keeps insisting that he takes classified-material security “very seriously.”

The timing doesn’t necessarily mean that the feds initiated this sequence by figuring out that Biden had taken classified material. It does raise a serious question about the DoJ’s role in this now, however. If the FBI needs to conduct a search of a sitting president’s files in relation to potential criminal conduct, that should require notification of the relevant congressional committees — Judiciary especially, but also the committees that oversee the type of classified data involved.


Why did it take a leak to make this part of the timeline public? Did the FBI or DoJ notify Congress at all? If not, why not, and who made that call?

CBS also provides an inventory — for now, anyway:

In all, federal authorities have recovered between 25 and 30 documents marked classified from the office space and Mr. Biden’s Wilmington home. The material includes classified items and other records from Mr. Biden’s vice presidential and Senate days. Some documents found at  the Penn Biden Center were labeled top secret.

This won’t help Biden fight off Congress. Even before this leak, Senate Democrats had begun to lose patience with Biden in this scandal:

The Justice Department told committee leaders Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that they were “working” on getting them “information that will satisfy the Committee’s responsibilities,” but the senators do not appear to be satisfied with this.

“I appreciate the communication. But the subject of the communication doesn’t give me clarity on how and when we’re going to be able to fulfill our obligation,” Warner told Punchbowl News.

Fellow Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., described the Justice Department’s position as a “stonewall,” telling Punchbowl that it is “a complete non-starter.”

“Just from a counter-intelligence standpoint — one of the most important aspects of national security — you’ve got to be able to see the documents,” Wyden said. “This is not a close call.”


You can bet that this revelation will force more Senate Democrats to demand real transparency — and the rest of us to wonder how much more the White House is still hiding.

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