President Joe Biden refused to answer questions Monday evening about a report on classified material from his time as vice president that was allegedly discovered at a Biden think tank.
CBS News reported that the approximately 10 classified documents from when Biden served as vice president were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Merrick Garland responded to the discovery, which was made in November, by assigning U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch, a Trump appointee, to review the classified material and help determine next steps.
Biden was pressed about the matter while meeting with leftist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs noted on Twitter that Biden did not answer questions about classified material that was found.
Video later posted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) showed Biden looking down at his notes while he was asked about the matter.
As the press is herded out of the room, a reporter asks Biden: “Any response to the discovery of classified documents at your office?”
Biden does not answer. pic.twitter.com/baf4mFwSPP
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 10, 2023
The files were discovered by Biden’s personal attorneys when they “were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.,” Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, told CBS News.
Sources told CBS that the information was found in a box with other materials that were not classified.
CNN reported that some of the classified materials that were discovered included top-secret files designated as “sensitive compartmented information,” which means that the materials include highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources.
Sauber said that the moment the material was found – on November 2 – that the White House’s counsel’s office immediately notified the National Archives and the material was retrieved the next day.
Upon learning about the classified material, the National Archives alerted the DOJ. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
“The discovery of these documents was made by the President’s attorneys,” Sauber said. “The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives. Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
The DOJ review of the material is the first step in determining what further actions could be warranted, the report said, including the possibility of a criminal investigation and appointment of a special counsel.
Lausch is one of only two remaining U.S. attorneys from the Trump administration, the report noted. The other holdover is David Weiss, who is conducting a criminal investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.