Feb 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden forms task force for handling of classified documents

 President Joe Biden delivers remarks as he welcomes King of Jordan Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein to the White House on February 12, 2024 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden launched a task force Monday intended to address a "longstanding problem" of mishandling classified documents during presidential transitions.

The big picture: The move comes after a special counsel report into Biden's handling of such documents concluded last week with no charges, but found his actions presented "serious risks to national security."

Driving the news: The Presidential Records Transition Task Force will evaluate existing procedures and study previous presidential transitions, per the White House.

  • It will also identify ways to address the removal of classified documents, with goal is to ensure that sensitive presidential records are preserved.

What they're saying: White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement that Biden "takes classified information seriously."

  • The president is now "taking action to help strengthen future transitions to better prevent classified documents from being accidentally packed up and removed from the government, like we have seen with officials from every Administration for decades," Sams said.

Zoom out: Special counsel Robert Hur's report found that Biden had "willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen."

  • However, it said Biden's "memory was significantly limited" and his cooperation with the investigation may lead jurors to believe he "made an innocent mistake."
  • Biden said he took responsibility for "not having seen exactly" what his staff was doing when they were handling the classified documents, but insisted his memory was "fine."

Meanwhile, former President Trump faces a 37-count federal indictment after hundreds of classified documents were found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Go deeper: House Republicans want recordings of Biden's special counsel interview

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