Biden on classified docs discovery: ‘There’s no there there’

Jan 19, 2023, 1:21 AM | Updated: Jan 20, 2023, 1:09 pm
President Joe Biden returns a salute as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thu...

President Joe Biden returns a salute as he boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, en route to California. (AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

(AP Photo/Jess Rapfogel)

APTOS, Calif. (AP) — A frustrated President Joe Biden said Thursday there is “no there there” when he was persistently questioned about the discovery of classified documents and official records at his home and former office.

“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said to reporters who questioned him during a tour of the damage from storms in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.”

Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”

“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s no there there.”

The White House has disclosed that Biden attorneys found classified documents and official records on four occasions in recent months — on Nov. 2 at the offices of the Penn Biden Center in Washington, and then in follow up searches on Dec. 20 in the garage of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and on Jan. 11 and 12 in the president’s home library.

The discovery complicates a federal probe into former President Donald Trump, who the Justice Department says took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government.

The two cases are different — Biden for example, willingly turned over the documents once found. But the issue is wearing on the president and his aides, who have repeatedly said they acted swiftly and appropriately when the documents were discovered, and are working to be as transparent as possible though key questions remain unanswered.

Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed Robert Hur, a former Maryland U.S. attorney, to serve as special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s inquiry into the documents. Garland said the extraordinary circumstances warranted a special counsel, and he also made the decision in part to show the Justice Department’s “commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.”

Hur is taking over for federal prosecutor John Lausch, who was initially asked to review the documents and whose team has already been interviewing former Biden aides responsible for packing up boxes during his time as vice president. Those interviews include Kathy Chung, who served as an administrative assistant during that time, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Biden expressed frustration that the documents matter was coming up as he surveyed coastal storm damage, telling reporters that it “bugs me” that he was being asked about the handling of the classified material even as “we have a serious problem here” in California.

“Why you don’t ask me questions about that?” he pressed.

Biden’s team has faced criticism for its fragmented disclosures — the public wasn’t notified of the documents until early January and after that the additional findings dripped out slowly. It has occasionally led to heated exchanges between reporters and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in the White House briefing room. She ran into trouble when she suggested last Friday that all documents had been recovered, only to have an additional discovery disclosed over the weekend.

Biden said Thursday he has “no regrets” over how and when the public learned about the documents.

“I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do,” he said.

___

Long reported from Washington. Associated Press Writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

substation...
Associated Press

Puyallup man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood, 32, after renewed efforts by his attorney to get Greenwood into a drug-treatment facility.
24 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Associated Press

Democrats in Washington state choose Conrad as new leader

The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.
24 hours ago
FILE -- Police block a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Yekaterin...
Associated Press

Global report highlights link between corruption, violence

BERLIN (AP) — Most of the world continues to fail to fight corruption with 95 % of countries having made little to no progress since 2017, a closely watched study by an anti-graft organization found Tuesday. Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, […]
24 hours ago
Morning service concludes in the annex of the Cathedral Notre Dame du Congo in Kinshasa, Democratic...
Associated Press

Pope’s Africa trip spotlights conflict, and church’s future

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is opening a six-day visit to Congo and South Sudan on Tuesday, aiming to bring a message of peace to two countries riven by poverty, conflict and what Francis has called a lingering “colonialist mentality” that still considers Africa ripe for exploitation. Aid groups are hoping Francis’ trip will […]
24 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian shares fall in muted trading ahead of Fed meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited decisions on interest rates and earnings reports from around the world. Traders were awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, expected on Wednesday. They also were watching for indicators on the Chinese economy, the region’s key engine for growth. […]
24 hours ago
Private and home school students, their parents and advocates crowed part of the second floor of th...
Associated Press

‘School choice’ is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators in Kansas are focusing on helping conservative parents remove their children from public schools over what’s taught about gender and sexuality rather than pursuing a version of what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Biden on classified docs discovery: ‘There’s no there there’