West News Wire: As part of an investigation into his handling of secret data, the FBI took notebooks that Vice President Joe Biden kept while serving as president last week during a search of his residence, a person familiar with the inquiry told NBC.
The notebooks were taken even though they weren’t labelled as classified because they contained notes about Biden’s official work under the Obama administration, including information about diplomatic interactions, the broadcaster reported on Saturday.
The source claimed that the notebooks contained a mixture of personal and official records, and that even pages devoid of sensitive information can qualify as state property under the Presidential Records Act because they are related to governmental operations.
Biden had a “large” number of these notebooks, the person said, but could not provide the exact figure.
When addressed about the notebooks, a spokesperson for Biden’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, said that “consistent with our view of the requirements of our cooperation with Department of Justice in this matter, we will not comment on the accuracy of reports of this nature.”
The possession of notebooks from his time as vice president “raises questions about whether he appropriately followed procedures for preserving presidential records,” as well as “how other vice presidents and presidents who kept similar notebooks while in office have handled theirs,” NBC said.
The 13-hour search conducted by the FBI at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware has led to the discovery of six more documents marked as classified, including some dating back to his days as a senator.
After it was revealed earlier this month that several batches of government documents from his two terms as vice president between 2009 and 2017 had been discovered at his office at the think tank Penn Biden Center and at his Delaware home, including in the garage, in November and January, Biden found himself in hot water. To look into the president’s 80-year-old management of the records improperly, a special counsel was appointed.
Last week, when discussing the incident, Biden told reporters that “there’s no there there” and that he “had no regrets” about the circumstances. Even other Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin expressed disapproval of his remarks, calling Biden’s disclosure of state secrets “unbelievable” and “very reckless.”