WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Wednesday played down the controversy over classified documents seized by the Department of Justice, saying the items were “to the best of my knowledge…from 1974, stray papers.”
"There may be something else. I don't know,” Biden told PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff.
The White House revealed in January that the president’s lawyers found a "small number" of classified documents in a a private office following his tenure as vice president. On Jan. 20, the FBI retrieved other documents after a day-long search of his Wilmington, Delaware home.
Biden has previously said he was surprised to learn the files from his past service in the White House and Congress contained classified material.
“As they packed up my offices to move them, they didn’t do the kind of job that should have been done to go thoroughly through every single piece of literature there,” Biden told Woodruff.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to examine Biden's handling of classified documents. In addition, the Republican-led House Committee on Oversight and Accountability launched its own investigation.
Garland appointed a separate special counsel in November to investigate former President Donald Trump's retention of documents after leaving the White House.
While both cases involve the handling of sensitive government documents, the Trump inquiry also is examining Trump's alleged attempts to obstruct the government's repeated efforts to retrieve the records from his Florida estate.
Biden has offered few specifics about the nature of the documents that were discovered. On Jan. 10, when asked at a news conference about the papers found at his former office, he said he was “briefed about this discovery” but “I don't know what's in the documents.”
“My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were,” Biden added.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden: Classified docs found at home and office were 'stray papers'