APTOS, Calif. (AP) — A frustrated President Joe Biden said Thursday there is “no there there” when persistently questioned about the discovery of classified documents and official records at his home and former office,
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden said to reporters who questioned him during a tour of the damage from storms in California. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.”
Biden said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.
“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” he said. “There’s no there there.”
The White House has disclosed that Biden attorneys found classified documents and official records on four separate occasions — on Nov. 2 at the offices of the Penn Biden Center in Washington, on Dec. 20 in the garage of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, and on Nov. 11 and 12 in the president’s home library.
Discovery of the documents in Biden’s possession complicates a federal probe into former President Donald Trump, who the Justice Department says took hundreds of records marked classified with him upon leaving the White House in early 2021 and resisted months of requests to return them to the government.
The two cases are different — Biden for example, willingly turned over the documents once found. But the issue is wearing on the president and his aides and allies, who have repeatedly said they acted swiftly and appropriately when the documents were discovered. They have sought to focus the media’s attention back onto his agenda.
Biden expressed frustration that the documents matter was coming up as he surveyed coastal storm damage, telling reporters that it “bugs me” that he was being asked about the handling of the classified material even as “we have a serious problem here” in California.
“Why you don’t ask me questions about that?” he pressed.
Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed Robert Hur, a former Maryland U.S. attorney, to serve as special counsel to oversee the Justice Department’s inquiry into the documents.