White House Failed to Disclose FBI Search of Biden Think Tank

Revelation undercuts claims that Biden team has been transparent about the investigation

President Joe Biden gives a speech on Jan. 12 / Getty Images
January 31, 2023

The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s think tank for classified documents earlier than the White House disclosed, contradicting claims that the Biden team has been transparent about its investigation.

According to CBS News, FBI agents searched the Penn Biden Center in mid-November, weeks after a personal attorney for the president found classified documents there. Between 20 and 30 classified documents have been discovered at the Penn Biden Center and at Biden’s home in Delaware, CBS reported.

It is unclear whether FBI agents found additional documents in the search. But the previously undisclosed search is sure to raise questions for the White House, which has insisted that Biden and his lawyers have been transparent with both the public and the Justice Department about the discovery of classified records at his properties.

"We have been transparent in the last couple of days, remember there is an ongoing process and we have spoken when it is appropriate," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Jan. 13.

The White House has faced withering criticism for waiting more than two months—until after the midterm elections—to disclose the discovery of the first batch of records at the Penn Biden Center, a Beltway-based foreign policy think tank that Biden launched in 2017.

A lawyer for Biden on Nov. 2 found a batch of documents related to Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom while going through Biden’s personal records. The lawyer informed the National Archives of the discovery on Nov. 3, and the Justice Department was informed the next day. On Nov. 14, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed U.S. attorney John Lausch to launch an inquiry into the discovery of the records. On Dec. 20, Biden’s lawyers informed Lausch that additional classified documents were found at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Del.

On Jan. 12, Garland appointed former Justice Department official Robert Hur to serve as special counsel in the investigation. Republicans have questioned whether Hur is a good fit for the role given his involvement in the Justice Department investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

A small cadre of Biden insiders have directed the White House strategy on how to publicly release information about the documents. According to one report, White House adviser Anita Dunn, known for her work for disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, initially wanted to delay release of information about the Biden records. Dunn is married to Biden lawyer Bob Bauer.