During Thursday’s White House press conference, just one day after a second set of classified documents were found at Biden’s private residence in Delaware, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that these documents were "inadvertently misplaced."
"I just want to say a couple of things, and make sure that everyone saw this statement from Richard Sauber. His statement reads as the President said, 'he takes classified information and materials seriously. And as we have said, we have cooperated from the moment we informed the archives that a small number of documents were found, and we will continue to cooperate,'" Jean-Pierre said at the opening of the press conference.
Continuing with the statement, Jean-Pierre said, "We have cooperated closely with the Justice Department throughout its review, and we will continue that cooperation with the Special Counsel. We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the President and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovering of this mistake."
During questioning from reporters, Jean-Pierre repeated her Wednesday statements in saying that Biden was "surprised" at the discovery of these documents, and that Biden "takes this very seriously."
"He does not know what’s in them and his team, once they identified that these documents were there, they immediately reached out to the archives and the Department of Justice and did the, rightfully so, did the right thing by turning that over and they have been cooperating very closely with the Department of Justice," Jean-Pierre said in response to a question, a sentiment that was repeated in response to most document-related questions.
One reporter noted that this is the type of situation that causes government employees to lose security clearance, asking "was the president sloppy in his handling of classified materials if there are multiple locations where classified documents are being found?"
Jean-Pierre reiterated Sauber’s statement, saying that "we are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently placed," noting once again the "prompt" actions taken once the documents were discovered.
In regards to a question on whether any additional documents were to be found, Jean-Pierre said that it should be assumed that searches for these documents have been completed, since the matter is now in the hands of a Special Counsel.
CBS’s White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe pressed as to why the second set of documents, revealed to have been discovered in December, were not revealed until Wednesday, asking, "Was that because there were press reports earlier in the week? The hope was that nobody would find out?"
"Again, there is a process, an ongoing process that is occurring. We did this by the book," she said, reiterating her previous comments.
"You have said repeatedly the President has said he takes classified documents very seriously. If that’s the case, why were these classified documents being stored in his garage?" one reporter asked.
"Look, again, and not just me, he has said this. You’ve heard the President say this twice already. And he has said this before, declassified documents and information he takes that very seriously."
"You say a garage is an appropriate place to store classified materials?" the reporter continued.
"I’m not going to go into what he thinks or how he feels about what is currently happening," said Jean-Pierre.
"Do you acknowledge the fact that the White House did not reveal this to the public despite the fact that you've known about it for months, undercuts the President's promise of being transparent?" the reporter asked.
"But here’s the thing, they were transparent. There was —there was transparency in doing what you're supposed to do when these — when these items were discovered on people," Jean-Pierre said.
Referencing "Garagegate," Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked, "what is the White House trying to hide?"
"Nothing," responded Jean-Pierre.
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