By Jeff Mason
APTOS, Calif. (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday he has “no regrets” about not publicly disclosing before the midterm elections the discovery of classified documents at his former office and believed the matter will be resolved.
Attorney General Merrick Garland last week named a special counsel to investigate the matter after classified documents were found at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home and a Washington, D.C., office he used before becoming president.
The White House waited until this month to disclose publicly that a “small number” of documents with classified markings had been found in November at an office Biden formerly used at a think tank in Washington. The documents were given to the U.S. National Archives.
Other discoveries of documents at his home were also announced.
Asked on Thursday whether he regretted not publicly disclosing the existence of the documents in November before the midterm elections, Biden said he had no regrets.
“I think you’re gonna find there’s nothing there,” Biden told reporters as he toured storm damage in California. “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. There’s no there there.”
The White House has said it is cooperating with the Justice Department probe.
“We’re fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly,” Biden said.
Biden said “a handful of documents … were filed in the wrong place.” He said the documents were immediately turned over to the National Archives and the Justice Department after they were found.
The White House has largely been on the defensive since the initial revelations on Jan. 9 that the documents had been discovered.
Biden’s legal team acknowledged it had found classified documents relating to his time as vice president in the Obama administration at his Delaware home, including some in his garage.
Biden expressed annoyance at being asked about the controversy while touring damage from storms that raked across much of California.
“I will answer the question but here’s the deal. You know, what quite frankly bugs me is that we have a serious problem here we’re talking about, we’re talking about what’s going on. And the American people don’t quite understand why you don’t ask me questions about that,” he said.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Howard Goller)