Experts and Republican lawmakers responded to the FBI’s search of President Joe Biden’s Delaware home on Friday, with some arguing that the president had only consented to the search because refusing would have prompted federal investigators to get a search warrant.
The White House has admitted that the search was indeed voluntary, and not conducted because of a warrant or court-authorized process.
According to Assistant US Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick, the “FBI executed a planned, consensual search of the President’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware.”
Biden’s personal lawyer Bob Bauer provided details regarding the search in a statement, noting that “six items” had been seized by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“DOJ took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President,” the statement read. “DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years.”
Bauer also noted that the FBI had requested that the White House not comment on the search until it had concluded, and claimed that the FBI “had full access to the President’s home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules, and reminders going back decades.”
Responding to the news, former Chief Asst. U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy asserted that Biden did not actually have a choice over whether to allow the search, arguing that “there was probable cause of crimes” and thus the search would have been conducted with or without Biden’s consent.
“Biden didn’t consent to FBI search b/c he’s Mr Cooperation. He consented b/c there was probable cause of crimes,” McCarthy tweeted. “If he didn’t agree, next step would’ve been special counsel getting a search warrant (ie, judicial finding of probable cause). Wanted to avoid that.”
The former chief assistant U.S. attorney also clarified some information about the results of the search, correcting those who claimed that only six classified documents had been discovered by the FBI at Biden’s residence.
“It’s not 6 classified dox,” McCarthy said. “Awkwardly worded statement by Biden team (ie, spin as favorable to Biden as possible) was ‘6 items consisting of documents with classification markings.’ We don’t know what they mean by ‘item’ (box? envelope?) nor how many classified dox in each ‘item’.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) also responded to the news, pointing out that it was concerning that many of the illegally stored classified documents discovered in Biden’s residence were from his time in the U.S. Senate — which means that the documents could be from decades ago.
“This says some of the docs are from his Senate service. Serious Q: how on earth did he do that?” the Texas senator tweeted. “I’ve served in the Senate for 10 years. EVERY single classified doc I’ve read—100%—have been in a secure SCIF in the basement of the Capitol. What the hell??”
Sen. Josh Hawley also expressed concern about the documents tracing back to Biden’s Senate days, arguing that it showed a pattern of criminal behavior from Biden.
“All the way back to the Senate years. Sounds like a pattern of serial contempt for the law,” Hawley wrote. “The American people have a right to know what was in all these documents Biden was illegally hoarding. And who else had access to them.”