WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. is conducting a search of President Biden’s vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., the president’s personal lawyer said on Wednesday morning, as investigators continue looking into his possession of classified documents.
The search, like at least two others conducted at locations associated with Mr. Biden, was undertaken with the cooperation of the president and his legal team. It was not clear whether any documents were recovered at the beach house.
“Today, with the president’s full support and cooperation, the D.O.J. is conducting a planned search of his home in Rehoboth, Del.,” Bob Bauer, Mr. Biden’s personal lawyer, said in statement. “Under D.O.J.’s standard procedures, in the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice, and we agreed to cooperate.”
Mr. Bauer added that he would provide “further information at the conclusion of today’s search.”
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
On Tuesday, news media outlets, including The Times, reported that the F.B.I. had conducted a similar search at a Washington think tank, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, in mid-November after the president’s aides discovered a small cache of classified documents there that month.
Understand the Biden Documents Case
The discovery of classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president has prompted a Justice Department investigation.
- In Washington: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate the situation drew a mixed reception from Republicans, who had hoped to spearhead the effort themselves.
- Biden’s Miscalculations: How has Mr. Biden handled the document discoveries, and why was the public in the dark for so long? Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The Times, joined “The Daily” to discuss the ordeal.
- Implications for Trump Case: Despite the differences between them, the cases involving the president and his predecessor are similar enough that investigators may have a harder time prosecuting Mr. Trump criminally.
- Democrats’ Reaction: Mr. Biden is facing blowback from some members of his own party, as his allies express growing concern that the case could get in the way of the Democrats’ momentum coming out of the midterms.
The F.B.I. action on Wednesday is the latest in a series of revelations that Mr. Biden — who sharply criticized former President Donald J. Trump’s mishandling of classified government files at his residence in Florida — kept materials that should have been returned to the National Archives after he left office in January 2017.
The president’s advisers in the White House and his personal lawyers did not reveal to the public the discovery on Nov. 2 of an initial batch of classified documents at an office in Washington for 68 days. They also waited several days to publicly disclose that additional documents had been found at the president’s home in Wilmington, Del.
Those delays have prompted criticism from Republicans, who have accused the president of failing to be transparent about the documents. Days after the discoveries were made public, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the president’s handling of the material.
Mr. Biden’s lawyers have said they cooperated fully with the National Archives and the Justice Department from the moment the documents were first discovered last year by aides to the president who were cleaning out the Penn Biden Center, the office he used when he left the vice presidency.
That cooperation stands in stark contrast to the actions of Mr. Trump and his lawyers, who repeatedly refused to cooperate with the Justice Department after the National Archives indicated that documents were missing. The F.B.I. subpoenaed material and obtained a search warrant for the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
In recent weeks, former Vice President Mike Pence also revealed the discovery of a handful of classified documents at his home in Indiana and returned them to the National Archives. It is not clear whether the Justice Department is also investigating Mr. Pence.
In Mr. Biden’s case, neither the Justice Department nor the president’s legal advisers have revealed details about the classified documents that were found.
The president and his lawyers have said they believe the mishandling of the documents will turn out to have been an inadvertent mistake that happened as Mr. Biden’s offices were packed up at the end of his eight years as vice president.
“I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there,” Mr. Biden told reporters last week. “I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. It’s exactly what we’re doing.”