When the FBI searched one of President Joe Biden’s Delaware homes last week, among the items they seized were notebooks he used while serving as vice president under former President Barack Obama containing notes that may have referenced classified information, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
While the notebooks do not have classified markings on them, Biden reportedly jotted down thoughts relating to his official business as VP, “including details of his diplomatic engagements during the Obama administration,” NBC News reports. Due to the sensitive content of some of the handwritten notes, the outlet’s source says the notebooks could be considered classified, even though they don’t bear the markings.
Dick Durbin: Biden’s handling of docs ‘unacceptable,’ Dems lost ‘high ground’ to go after Trump https://t.co/invXzGULg3 pic.twitter.com/LNItA6sZif
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 23, 2023
Even the more innocuous pages of the notebooks reference Biden’s official business as vice president and could therefore be considered government property under the Presidential Records Act, the source reveals.
It is unknown how many notebooks were discovered, but according to the insider, Biden kept a lot of them.
The notebooks include a mix of handwritten notes from Biden on various topics, both personal and official, according to the person familiar with the seizure. On some pages Biden wrote down things about his family or his life unrelated to public office, said this same person. On other pages, he memorialized in writing some of his experiences or thoughts as vice president at the time, according to this same source.
Both the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment, but a spokesperson for the President’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, said the discovery of the notebooks does not change the legal team’s position on the matter.
“As noted in the statement released on January 14, consistent with our view of the requirements of our cooperation with DOJ in this matter, we will not comment on the accuracy of reports of this nature,” the spokesperson said.
The nation, in recent months, has been exposed to nothing less than classification chaos by our elected officials and media.
We went from the view that mishandling classified materials is a traitorous act that endangers democracy when the FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August to the view that it’s okay if you “mistakenly” took home classified docs and stored them in your garage as long as you’re really nice about it — as the press insists Biden has been — when you’re caught.
With the admission from former Vice President Mike Pence that he, too, was in possession of classified documents, there’s now a sense that pretty much everyone stashes sensitive material they aren’t supposed to have, and, it’s fine as long as you’re not orange.
‘I take full responsibility’: Mike Pence says classified docs ‘should not have been’ at his home https://t.co/JTldFOlfgG pic.twitter.com/qChZBSV4u0
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 29, 2023
Biden’s notebooks may or may not be considered government property based on whether he let any government staff members read them, according to Jason R. Baron, a former director of litigation at the National Archives.
This is true, he said, if Biden scribbled down a reminder of his wife’s birthday or detailed a meeting with a foreign leader.
Presidents and vice presidents are allowed to keep diaries under federal law, including those containing “personal” notes, as long as no one else reads them while they are in office.
While housing Biden’s classified docs, Penn hosted groups with members now under scrutiny for China ties: Report https://t.co/UU240Cqzqr pic.twitter.com/lvf0f1kgSs
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 25, 2023
It remains to be seen if President Biden followed the appropriate procedures for preserving presidential records, as these notebooks do reportedly contain details of official business as vice president.
“Handwritten personal notes of a former president or vice president are only considered presidential records if they were shared or communicated with other White House or federal agency personnel for use in transacting government business,” Baron said. “A former president or vice president has the right to take out of the White House personal notes — they are not official records that come into the legal custody of the National Archives at the end of an administration.”
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