According to persons familiar with the investigation, the F.B.I. seized notebooks used by Joe Biden while serving as Vice President under previous President Barack Obama that may have contained classified material during a search of one of Biden’s houses in Delaware last week.
The notebooks are not marked as classified, but it is believed that Biden used them to record his thoughts as Vice President and details of his diplomatic activities throughout the Obama administration. A media outlet’s source claims some handwritten notes contain sensitive information and should be treated as classified even though they do not have the necessary markings.
According to the report, even the seemingly benign pages of the notebooks reference Biden’s official duties as Vice President and might be considered government property under the Presidential Records Act.
The number of notebooks found is unknown, but the source claims that Biden retained many.
A source familiar with the investigation told the media that the notebooks contained Biden’s handwritten notes on official and personal matters.
Biden also used some of the pages to record personal or non-political reflections. On other pages, he recorded his recollections and thoughts during his time as Vice President.
The F.B.I. and the Department of Justice both declined to provide a statement. Bob Bauer, the President’s personal attorney, has claimed that the discovery of the notebooks does not alter the legal team’s position.
Bauer emphasized in the January 14 statement that, in line with their views on the requirements of Biden’s cooperation with D.O.J. in this case, he will not comment on the validity of these reports.
In recent months, political authorities and the media have shown the country nothing but utter turmoil.
When the F.B.I. raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August, opinion shifted from viewing the mishandling of classified materials as a treacherous act that endangers democracy to accepting that it is acceptable to accidentally take classified documents home and storing them in a garage, so long as you’re really nice about it once caught, as the press insists Biden has been.
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s admission that he, too, had classified documents has added to the widespread belief that almost everyone keeps classified files they aren’t supposed to.
According to Jason R. Baron, a former director of litigation at the National Archives, if Vice President Biden jotted down a reminder of his wife’s birthday or detailed a meeting with a foreign leader in a notebook and allowed any government staff members to read that, the notebook could be considered government property.
Under federal law, the President and Vice President are permitted to keep journals, including those containing personal notes, as long as no one else reads them while in office.
These notebooks allegedly include official business details during Biden’s tenure as Vice President, but whether or not he followed the proper protocols for archiving Presidential Records remains to be seen.
According to Baron, personal notes written by a former President or Vice President are only part of the Presidential Records if they are conveyed to or used by other White House or Federal Agency employees in the conduct of official government business. Personal notes are not considered government records and can be removed from the White House at the conclusion of their term in office.