Jan 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Coons: After Biden, other officials likely searching for classified docs

In light of the discovery of additional classified documents in President Biden's home, many other senior and former elected officials are likely conducting personal searches for any documents they might have, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told ABC's "This Week" Sunday.

Driving the news: Justice Department investigators on Friday conducted a 13-hour search of Biden's Delaware home and discovered six items containing classified documents, the president’s lawyer said Saturday night.

  • The search was conducted voluntarily following an invitation from the president's personal attorneys and the documents discovered date back to Biden's time as vice president and a senator.

What they're saying: Coons said he believed Biden's possession of the documents was "inadvertent" and that the dual investigations into Biden and former President Trump's possession of classified records would show a "fairly sharp difference in intent and in response."

  • "I suspect there's a lot of senior or former elected officials now doing a fairly thorough search of the documents they have, in their homes, or in storage, or in their institutes," Coons added.
  • Coons acknowledged that there would be political fallout for Biden due to discovery of the classified documents.
  • "I think the fallout is right now," he said. "We're talking about this instead of President Biden's leadership on confronting Russian aggression in Ukraine or talking about something I do think is on people's minds — the potential of a debt ceiling fight and a default. The political fallout is it's going to take focus and attention."

The big picture: Key details regarding the volume of documents, methods of discovery, and reaction by Biden and Trump distinguish the two cases.

  • But the discovery has led to widespread fallout for the sitting president as Republicans have seized on the records to accuse Biden of hypocrisy.

Go deeper: How Biden and Trump's classified doc discoveries have differed

Go deeper