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FBI searches Biden's Delaware beach house for classified documents

US President Joe Biden departs for travel to New York from the White House in Washington, US, January 31, 2023. (Reuters photo)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has conducted a search of US President Joe Biden's beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware as part of a probe into his handling of classified documents.

The Wednesday search by FBI agents is part of an investigation to track down improperly stored classified documents.

According to Biden's personal attorney, Bob Bauer, the search was planned with the president’s support. It was carried out without advance public notice in the interest of operational security and integrity.

"Under DOJ's standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate," he said.

"The search today is a further step in a thorough and timely DOJ process we will continue to fully support and facilitate. We will have further information at the conclusion of today’s search."

The US Justice Department said it did not find documents with classified markings during the three-and-a-half hour search of Biden's house but did take some materials for further review, Biden's attorney said.

Classified materials were previously found at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and at a Washington office, which he used during the time between his service as vice president under Barack Obama and his presidential election, according to Reuters.

Bauer said that Wednesday's search took place from 8:30 a.m. to noon in "coordination and cooperation with the president's attorneys" and had been planned.

"No documents with classified markings were found," Bauer said. "Consistent with the process in Wilmington, the DOJ took for further review some materials and handwritten notes that appear to relate to his time as Vice President."

The new probe is part of a wider investigation into the discovery of a trove of classified material in Biden's private office and the Florida residence of former president Donald Trump.

Records from each administration are supposed to be turned over during a presidential transition period. It is unlawful to knowingly remove or retain classified material.

The Justice Department has appointed a special counsel to investigate Biden and Trump's handling of sensitive government documents as they're both preparing for the 2024 election.

Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote in a letter to a number of senators that “prosecutors on both matters are actively working to enable sharing information with the Committee.”

Both Republican and Democratic senators, however, voiced frustration after they left a closed-door briefing last week with National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, who declined to show them copies of the classified documents.

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