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Archives worked to quietly collect Biden records, after escalating with Trump, emails reveal

Trump condemns double standard in contrast between low-key handling of Biden retention of classified documents vs. FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago in his own official records case.

Published: February 12, 2023 2:55pm

Updated: February 12, 2023 11:16pm

The National Archives (NARA) coordinated with President Biden's attorneys for the discreet collection of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., displaying a collaborative spirit in marked contrast to its adversarial stance toward Donald Trump and his legal team in the former president's federal records case, newly disclosed emails reveal.

NARA General Counsel Gary Stern sent an email on Nov. 7, one day before the midterm elections, to Biden's personal attorneys Bob Bauer and Pat Moore asking to "make arrangements" for Archives staff to "come back to the DC Penn-Biden Center space to assess the remaining boxes and take custody of whichever ones we deem appropriate for further review," according to emails released Friday after a Freedom of Information request from more than two dozen news agencies.  

Stern even coordinated a pickup in Boston, where some of the documents had been sent, according to emails

"Pat, we would like to pick up the boxes that are in your Boston office and move them to the JFK Library," Stern wrote to Moore and Bauer on Nov. 8. "Would it be possible to do that tomorrow?"

Moore assented, and the documents appear to have been picked up that day. 

Documents from Biden's time as vice president were initially discovered at his old office at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2. More documents were discovered later at Biden's Delaware home. The first discovery was not publicized until January.

"Also, please ensure that the boxes in your office in Boston remain secure in a locked space and are not accessed by anyone," Stern stressed in an email to Moore.

It is unclear what materials were in the Boston boxes, but The Associated Press reported that no classified documents appear to have been in the cache.

Moore sent several boxes of documents from the Penn Biden Center to his Boston law office so he could sort through some materials there, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press. Moore continued going through materials at the D.C. think tank when he found a classified document in early November. The source said no classified records seem to have been in the Boston boxes.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday slammed the National Archives on Truth Social as "Radical" and "Woke" for picking up Biden's documents without the public's knowledge. He said the federal agency "colluded with the Department of Injustice, FBI, & Hopeless Joe Biden & his lawyers to try and hide the FACT that Joe has, & had, Classified Documents at his China funded 'Think Tank,' & other locations."

Trump called out what he sees as the flagrant double standard reflected in the contrast between the low-key handling of Biden's retention of classified records vs. the federal escalation in his own official records case, which resulted in the FBI raiding his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"These same Weaponized Agencies Persecute & Harass me, my family, & my supporters," he wrote. "They are a disgrace! RESTORE EQUAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA. Shut down the Marxists. MAGA!!!"

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