When the White House first announced that the FBI had conducted a search of Joe Biden’s think tank at the University of Pennsylvania, the announcement gave an incorrect date for the search, falsely claiming that the search took place earlier than previously thought.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the FBI searched the Penn Biden Center sometime in mid-November of 2022, mere weeks after one of Biden’s personal attorneys first discovered the 20 to 30 classified documents that were hidden there from Biden’s time as Vice President.
The White House did not announce the discovery of the documents until about two months after they were found, which led to backlash and accusations that the administration deliberately waited until several months after the midterm elections. The documents were first found on November 2nd, and the National Archives were informed of the documents by Biden’s legal team on November 3rd, just five days before the midterms.
Subsequently, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on November 14th that he had appointed U.S. attorney John Lausch to investigate the discovery of the documents. Then, on December 20th, Lausch was informed by Biden’s lawyers that another batch of documents had been found at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. On January 12th, Garland formally appointed a special counsel to more closely investigate the matter, naming Department of Justice (DOJ) official Robert Hur to the position.
“We have been transparent in the last couple of days, remember there is an ongoing process and we have spoken when it is appropriate,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a press briefing on January 13th.
The scandal has drawn significant criticism and controversy for Biden, seemingly more so than any other scandal during his administration, and has particularly earned him accusations of hypocrisy. In August, Biden ordered his DOJ to carry out an FBI raid on President Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, falsely accusing the former president of hoarding classified documents from his time as president. However, Trump revealed that any documents he still had in his possession had already been declassified while he was in office, thus confirming that there was no wrongdoing on his part.
The incident generated national and international backlash, with Biden and AG Garland accused of politicizing the DOJ and the FBI by using them to carry out late-night raids against political opponents.