Washington — The FBI conducted two searches at the University of Delaware as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the handling of classified documents from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president, three U.S. officials confirmed to CBS News.
The searches were carried out within the last month, with the first being at the end of January and the second at the beginning of February, said a source familiar with the investigation. FBI personnel removed numerous boxes from the premises. The removed documents did not have classified markings on them, but included material that required greater scrutiny, the source told CBS News.
Justice Department officials, as well as the FBI, also interviewed the University of Delaware archivist who handled Mr. Biden’s material, the source said.
The University of Delaware, Mr. Biden’s alma mater, is home to an institute named after the president, and the school’s library houses a collection of his senatorial papers and records. Attempts by CBS News to contact the curator of the collection were unsuccessful Wednesday evening.
The university was the fourth location linked to the president to be raided by federal investigators.
CNN first reported on the FBI searches at the University of Delaware.
The president’s lawyers first discovered classified Obama-era documents in early November at The Penn Biden Center, a think tank used by Mr. Biden before he announced his 2019 presidential bid. The FBI also searched the homes of Mr. Biden in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
The White House, a spokesman for President Biden’s personal lawyer and a spokesman for the University of Delaware declined to comment, referring inquiries to the Justice Department. The Justice Department also declined to comment.
In November, one of Biden’s personal attorneys, Patrick Moore, discovered approximately 10 documents with sensitive markings at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., some of which were marked as top secret. The president’s lawyers notified the National Archives of the revelation, prompting the archives to refer the matter to the Department of Justice. That month, the FBI conducted a consensual search of the think tank.
The following month, on December 20, Mr. Biden’s personal lawyers discovered additional records marked as classified at Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, which were turned over to the FBI for review.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed former US Attorney Robert Hurr as a special prosecutor to investigate the matter on January 12, 2023. That same day, President Biden’s personal lawyers alerted the Department of Justice to another classified document found at his Wilmington residence. On January 20, the FBI conducted a 13-hour search of the president’s home in Wilmington.
According to the president’s lawyer, six items were ultimately collected, consisting of classified documents and surrounding materials, some dating back to the president’s service in the Senate and others from his term as vice president.
A search of the president’s Rehoboth Beach home earlier this month by the FBI turned up no sensitive records.
University of Delaware spokesman Peter Bothum told CBS News on Jan. 16, “No vice presidential materials were sent to or stored at the university.” He said at the time that no documents were searched at the university.
The revelations about sensitive records from Mr. Biden’s time as vice president came amid an ongoing federal investigation into the handling of classified documents kept by former President Donald Trump after his presidency.
Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating allegations that restricted records were misused during Trump’s transition from the White House and that individuals connected to Trump may have obstructed the investigation. In August, the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida residence after a year-long legal battle to retrieve all the missing documents.
Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence was found to be in possession of classified documents after he left office. Earlier this month, his lawyers discovered records with classified markings and turned them over to the Justice Department for review. Last week, an FBI search of Pence’s home turned up an additional secret tape.
Like the searches of Biden, the search of Pence’s home was consensual.
Last week the National Archives released emails revealing that documents in Mr. Biden’s lawyer’s office in Boston were turned over to archives officials in November.
Gillian Morley contributed reporting.