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‘I have no regrets’: President Biden on handling of classified documents

‘We immediately turned them over to the (National) Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly,’ Biden said of the documents

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President Biden gives a speech near a beach in California on Jan. 19, 2023.

President Joe Biden speaks at Seacliff State Park in Aptos, Calif., Thursday, Jan 19, 2023. He addressed the classified documents discovery for the first time since Robert Hur was appointed as special counsel.

Susan Walsh, Associated Press

On Thursday, President Joe Biden publicly addressed the classified documents found at his home and office for the first time since Jan. 12, ABC News reported.

Responding to reporters during his visit to California after its destructive rainstorms, Biden said, “I think you’re going to find there’s nothing there. I have no regrets.”

According to NPR, Biden said of the discovery, “We found a handful of documents that were filed in the wrong place. We immediately turned them over to the (National) Archives and the Justice Department. We’re fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”

Before answering the reporter’s question, he said, “You know what, quite frankly, bugs me is that we have serious problems 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. But having said that, what’s your question?”

Upon the news of the discovery breaking, Biden initially said he was “surprised” to learn of the documents’ existence in his office at the Penn Biden Center, but that he didn’t know what was in them and was told not to ask, the Deseret News reported.

This marks the first time Biden has commented on the matter since Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as special counsel in the investigation.

Of this new task, Hur said, “I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service,” per earlier Deseret News reporting.

Biden’s remarks come amid criticism of his administration’s transparency when it comes to the documents’ discovery. Before Thursday, he had spoken on the discovery three times.

According to ABC News, key transparency issues include the timing of the news, after documents were first discovered in November 2022, and the lawyers’ Jan. 11 return to his home after more documents had already been discovered there in December.