US President Joe Biden on Thursday said he has "no regrets" about the handling of the case of classified documents that were discovered at his former home and workplace in November, which has snowballed into a major crisis for him.
“We’re fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly,” Biden told reporters during his visit to California to inspect recent storms.
“I think you’re gonna find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do – that’s exactly what we’re doing. There’s no there, there.”
A cache of classified documents was found November 2 — six days before the midterm election — inside a DC office that Biden used after he left the Barack Obama administration, but the matter was kept under wraps until the story was broken on January 9.
He was seen fuming at a female reporter in California on being quizzed about the controversy that has become the talking point in the US.
“What quite frankly bugs me is that we have a serious problem here we’re talking about,” Biden said. “We’re talking about what’s going on, and the American people don’t quite understand why you don’t ask me questions about that.”
The controversy snowballed last week after reports that additional sensitive material was found on December 20 in Biden’s garage in Wilmington. Further searches last week revealed even more classified documents inside the home.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland then named a special counsel to investigate the matter after the discovery of classified documents at the two places.
Biden insisted that he acted on his lawyers' instructions after “a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place" and added that the documents were turned over to the National Archives as soon as possible after they were found.
Since the initial disclosure on January 9 that the documents had been discovered, the White House has been on the defensive.
Biden's legal team acknowledged last week that the unearthed documents related to Biden's vice presidency were found at his home in Delaware and garage. His aides have previously found another batch of classified documents at his residence at a Washington think tank he was associated with.
The White House has been hardly forthcoming about the way it has handled the classified documents. It has declined to answer questions beyond limited statements issued over the past week and has had to update its narrative multiple times as more information has come to light.
Republicans have accused the Biden administration of deliberately keeping the initial discovery of sensitive files secret for two months until the public learned about it from news reports.
President Biden, who had lambasted Trump’s handling of classified documents as “totally irresponsible,” is now at the receiving end of similar criticisms from his Republican opponents, who accuse him of hypocrisy.
In Trump's case, the National Archives was the first to identify the missing documents and request their return. Trump refused to do so for months and his lawyers misled federal investigators.
Eventually, 15 boxes of documents were returned in January 2022, containing 184 classified documents. Still, more files remained at Mar-a-Lago, and the FBI raided the resort in August to retrieve the rest.
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