WASHINGTON — An F.B.I. search of President Biden’s family vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., found no classified documents but investigators took some materials, including handwritten notes from his time as vice president, Mr. Biden’s personal lawyer said Wednesday.
The search began earlier Wednesday morning as the Justice Department continued looking into Mr. Biden’s possession of classified documents.
The search, like at least two others conducted at locations associated with Mr. Biden, including his primary home in Wilmington, Del., was undertaken with the cooperation of the president and his legal team.
“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 a statement Wednesday morning after the search was already underway. “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.”
After the search concluded, Mr. Bauer said that investigators were in the home for approximately three and a half hours.
Understand the Biden Documents Case
The discovery of classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president has prompted a Justice Department investigation.
“Consistent with the process in Wilmington, the D.O.J. took for further review some materials and handwritten notes that appear to relate to his time as vice president,” Mr. Bauer wrote.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
On Tuesday, news media outlets, including The New York 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.
How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.
Mr. Biden has sharply criticized former President Donald J. Trump’s mishandling of classified government files at his residence in Florida.
But 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.
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.
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.”