The archives wanted Boston Biden’s documents, not deemed confidential

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the National Archives became aware of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s old office in Washington, archives officials also took into custody the documents that had been mailed to a law firm in Boston by the attorney personal to the president, according to emails released Friday.

No classified documents were believed to be in the Boston records. But the emails show that archives officials were concerned enough to take them into their possession.

“Pat, we’d like to pick up the boxes that are in your Boston office and move them to the JFK Library. Would it be possible to do this tomorrow?” Archives general counsel Gary Stern wrote to Pat Moore, one of Biden’s record-keeping lawyers, in a Nov. 8, 2022 email.

That memo was part of a series of emails released under a freedom of information request by the Associated Press and more than two dozen other entities. The notes do not go into detail as to why the Archives would have sought the material sent to Boston. But a person familiar with the matter said Moore was packing papers at the Penn Biden Center, a Washington think tank where Biden had an office, that could be useful for a potential future presidential library, mostly personal details about the family. by Biden.

Moore had sent the boxes to Boston, where his law firms were located, and as he continued sorting through more boxes at the Washington-based think tank he came across a classified document, said the person, who was aware of the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

Since the November discovery, Biden’s lawyers have uncovered other documents and so has the FBI, which has searched his homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, as well as the Penn Biden Center, the think tank affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. . Biden voluntarily turned over the documents and accepted the searches.

The discovery of the classified documents sparked a special legal investigation by the Justice Department.

In a Nov. 7, 2022 email, Stern advised Moore to “make sure the boxes in your Boston office stay safely in an enclosed space and not accessible to anyone.” But no classified documents appear to have been discovered in the boxes, according to the person.

The White House counsel’s office did not comment on the material in Boston. Biden’s personal attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

The dozens of pages of emails between the National Archives and Biden’s attorneys released Friday mostly concerned organizing the logistics for archives personnel to take material from the Penn Biden Center into custody.

After reports of Biden’s documents first surfaced, former Vice President Mike Pence said they also found classified information in his home, and on Friday the FBI discovered an additional document with classified marks after he allowed them to search his home in Indiana. Archives officials have asked administrations dating back to the Reagan presidency to comb their archives to ensure that there are no longer any classified documents or other items that should belong in the archives.

From time to time, former officials at various levels of government discover they are in possession of classified materials and turn them over to authorities at least several times a year, the AP reported. It has been an on and off problem for decades, from presidents to cabinet members and staffs of multiple administrations going all the way back to Jimmy Carter.

But the matter has taken on greater significance since former President Donald Trump persistently kept classified materials at his Florida estate, prompting the FBI’s unprecedented seizure of thousands of pages of documents last year.

Biden said he was surprised by the presence of confidential documents. He said the articles were “as far as I know … from 1974, loose documents.”

“There may be something else. I don’t know,” Biden told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff earlier in the week.

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