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President Biden “surprised to learn” documents marked classified found at former office

President Biden is speaking out for the first time since CBS News learned roughly 10 documents marked classified were found at his former office in Washington his comments come as Republicans on the house oversight committee moved quickly to investigate Adriana Diaz has more in Mexico City today President Biden.

Addressed questions about his management of classified materials what’s in the documents I’ve my lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were I’ve turned over the boxes they’ve turned over the boxes to the archives and were cooperating fully this comes one day after CBS News was first to report that roughly 10 documents marked.

Classified from his time as vice president were discovered on November 2nd they were inside this building 10 blocks from the White House where Biden had an office after his vice presidency a source tells CBS News the documents which were found inside a box in a locked closet had multiple levels of classification and included highly.

Classified material today the republican-led house oversight committee announced its launching and investigation and asked the White House for all documents Retreat from President Biden’s personal office and a list of who had access to that office the inquiry is drawing comparisons to the investigation into former president.

Trump’s handling of classified documents in that case more than 300 were recovered from Mar-A-Lago last year after Trump resisted multiple requests to turn them over cbs’s Robert Costa spoke to former vice president Mike Pence when the American people see the President Biden receiving one form of treatment.

With the discovery of classified documents that were retained after he left the office of the vice president and they see President Trump treated in an entirely different way again the Hanley and classified materials have very serious issue for our nation and we ought to take it seriously but there ought to be equal treatment under the.

Law a source tells CBS news that the Justice Department’s review led by U.S attorney John lausch a trump appointee is largely done but there are still inquiries about whether any classified documents might be at other locations today former president Trump questioned why didn’t the justice department announce the highly classified documents.

Found in the Biden office before the election Democrats pushed back against any wrongdoing by Mr Biden show the discovery of President Biden’s classified documents been disclosed before the midterms what President Biden did was disclose this to the archives let law enforcement know that is exactly the way that you should handle this.

Republicans have also asked the Director of National Intelligence for a damage assessment to save any national security secrets were exposed the incoming chairman of the house intelligence committee said Biden could be in violation of the presidential records Act and the Espionage Act John Adriana Diaz thank you I want to bring.

In Mark’s Aid he’s a national security attorney and we should note Mark that you’re representing the longtime girlfriend of the late Capitol Police Officer Brian sicknick in a wrongful death lawsuit against former president Trump so Mark you tweeted that uh that in the Biden case that it should and will be investigated what are the key.

Investigative questions and what laws May uh President Biden have run afoul of well there are Provisions within the Espionage Act in Title 18 793 798 sections which is in the weeds that are come into play just as with Mar-A-Lago and the investigation by this uh own one of only two Trump appointed U.S attorneys in Chicago as was mentioned.

They’ll look into predominantly how did the records get there who had access to them was there any type of compromise uh and explore that type of of Avenue it may be if you want to take extreme situations we could come up with a scenario where President Biden as vice president brought them there himself and hid them in the closet or it could be.

That Vice President Biden at no time ever saw or knew of these documents and those facts will determine whether or not there’s any criminal culpability and does it matter if um then Vice President Biden was the one who carried these documents or didn’t in other words does the buck not stop at them senior person who had the cleric.

Who had the the clearance to look at those documents are they not responsible for handling them if he knew that they were there right look no one I don’t think reasonably believes president Trump carried the documents down to Mar-A-Lago I don’t think anyone believes he put them in the different closets that they were or even.

Move them perhaps up to his office but there’s factual evidence in the Trump case that he did tell people to do that that he knew there were classified records still in his possession even after the archives the Department of Justice and FBI had asked for them so from a political standpoint President Biden may have to do a Mia cope and say.

Look I’m the president I take responsibility it is always sensitive and significant when classified information is mishandled as appears to have been the case but criminal culpability is completely a separate issue and help us from slipping into false equivalence or maybe tell us that they’re exactly equivalent in these two.

Cases between what is known and we don’t know the full picture on the Biden front but what is known about what’s happened with Joe Biden and the documents that were found at Mar-A-Lago yeah these cases this is apples and oranges completely different other than perhaps having the documents in possession when they shouldn’t have but.

President Biden and his lawyers went directly to the archives who directly retrieved them versus Mar-A-Lago where we had about a year and a half of back and forths and delays and obstruction and now evidence factually that President Trump himself was personally involved in withholding this information from the FBI the comments.

That we heard previously before I came on from members of Congress and President Trump and vice president Pence those are all that’s political swing uh that is not the law that is not policy that is not practice and people I hope will pay attention to the differences between what is the law and policy and practice and what is partisan political.

Diatribes that they’re going to be pushing Mark what do you make of the difference in classification levels we don’t know the level of classification with the with the Biden documents but with uh former president Trump they are the highest level of classification will that matter in the Biden case it always matters with respect to doing.

The damage assessment for sure and news reports have said that some of these as you did the some of these are some of the the highest uh click classified documents I presume at tssci what we call uh with the Trump case there were some media reports that there were there was formally restricted data which is energy Department nuclear secrets that.

Actually president Trump has or no president has any authority to declassify which is significant to the arguments that he has tried to publicly make there have been news reports that there are no nuclear secrets Within These 610 documents found at the Biden Center but it all does appear again from just what we know and we know very.

Little uh that these are highly classified but it will come down to did they stay in the closet the entire time and just very briefly what do you make of Attorney General uh Merrick Garland’s appointment of John lausch who is a trump-appointed U.S attorney that’s obviously key what do you read into that it’s a smart political move it shouldn’t.

Have any impact from a legal standpoint and the unfortunate is if it stays factually the way it is most of these cases are only handled administratively they rarely go into criminal penalties so I I would expect if things stay that’s it but politically this is unfortunately we’re going to be hearing this for for quite a.

While yes indeed Mark Zade thanks so much for being with us my pleasure

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