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Garland makes statement on Biden classified documents


Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers his statement on Thursday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers his statement on Thursday. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General Merrick Garland detailed the timeline of the investigation into President Joe Biden’s potential mishandling of classified documents.

Here’s what he said:

Nov. 4, 2022: The National Archives Office of Inspector General contacted a prosecutor at the Department of Justice in the evening. It informed him that the White House had notified the Archives that documents bearing classification markings were identified at the office of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement located in Washington, DC. That office was not authorized for storage of classified documents. The prosecutor was also advised that those documents had been secured in an Archives facility.

Nov. 9, 2022: The FBI commenced an assessment consistent with standard protocols to understand whether classified information had been mishandled in violation of federal law.

Nov. 14, 2022: Pursuant to Section 600.2B of the Special Counsel Regulations, Garland assigned US Attorney John Lausch Jr. to conduct an initial investigation to inform my decision whether to appoint a special counsel. 

“I selected him to conduct the initial investigation because I was confident his experience would ensure that it would be done professionally and expeditiously,” he said.

Dec. 20, 2022: President Biden’s personal counsel informed Mr. Lausch that additional documents bearing classified markings were identified in the garage of the president’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. President Biden’s counsel informed Mr. Lausch that those documents were among other records from the period of the president’s service as vice president. The FBI went to the location and secured those documents.

Jan. 5, 2023: Lausch briefed Garland on the results of his initial investigation and advised that further investigation by a special counsel was warranted.

“Based on Mr. Lausch’s initial investigation, I concluded that, under the special counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland said.

In the days since, while Mr. Lausch continued the investigation the department identified Mr. Hur for appointment to special counsel.

This morning, President Biden’s personal counsel called Mr. Lausch and stated that an additional document bearing classification markings was identified at the president’s personal residence in Wilmington, Delaware. 


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