APTOS, Calif. President Joe Biden finally lost his patience with reporters Thursday, declaring, “There’s no there there” in response to their repeated questions about the discovery of sensitive 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 revealed that Biden’s attorneys discovered classified documents and official records on four separate occasions in recent months. These occasions were on November 2 at the offices of the Penn Biden Center in Washington, DC; on December 20 in the garage of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware; and on January 11 and 12 in the president’s home library.
As the Justice Department claims, former President Trump took hundreds of secret records with him when he left the White House in early 2021 and refused for months to return them, complicating a federal investigation of his administration.
With the PIDB working to counter over classification, @washingtonpost highlighted our event Reforming the Classification System. The experts argued that “the growing volume of classified records already exceeds the ability of humans alone to process them."https://t.co/mjCaClfJag
— Hudson Institute (@HudsonInstitute) January 17, 2023
There are significant differences between the two situations; for example, once the documents were discovered, Biden voluntarily turned them over.
However, the president and his advisors are growing weary of the situation, despite their insistence that they responded quickly and appropriately when the documents were discovered and that they are making every effort to be as transparent as possible, despite the fact that many important questions remain unanswered.
Special Counsel Robert Hur, a former U.S. Attorney from Maryland, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last week to lead the Justice Department’s investigation into the materials.
Garland said the unusual circumstances required a special counsel and that he made the decision to demonstrate the Justice Department’s “commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive issues.”
Federal prosecutor John Lausch had been asked to investigate the documents, and his team had already begun interviewing former Biden staffers responsible for packing up boxes during Biden’s tenure as VP.
Among the best political historians and journalists working is @vermontgmg. I devour Garrett Graff's books. Here is his analysis, brilliant as always, on the classified documents "saga" involving #Trump and @JoeBiden. @nytopinion https://t.co/n1j4iTzVR6
— Chris Bohjalian (@ChrisBohjalian) January 19, 2023
Hur is now taking over the investigation. According to a source who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity about an ongoing inquiry, administrative assistant Kathy Chung has been interviewed as part of the probe.
Speaking to reporters as he examined coastal storm damage, Biden said it “bugs me” that he was being asked about the handling of the classified data despite thought “we have a major problem here” in California.
“Why don’t you bother me with inquiries on that subject?” Insisting, he pushed on.
Criticism has been leveled at Biden’s staff because of the piecemeal nature of their disclosures; the documents weren’t made public until early January, and further conclusions were released in a gradual trickle. The press secretary at the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, and the media have gotten into heated discussions on occasion because of this. She was in hot water when, on Friday, she said that all the documents had been found, but then, over the weekend, another find emerged.
Biden stated on Thursday that he has “no regrets” about how and when the records were made public.