Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Thursday provided a more detailed timeline regarding the discovery of classified documents from the Obama administration that had been found improperly stored in locations associated with President Biden.
Here, based on Mr. Garland’s statement and previous White House statements, is what we know about how events unfolded:
Nov. 2: Mr. Biden’s lawyers discovered a “small number” of classified documents in what the White House has described as a locked closet for an office Mr. Biden had used at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a think tank in Washington. The administration said it reported this discovery to the National Archives that day.
Nov. 3: The National Archives retrieved the materials from the closet, according to the administration.
Nov. 4: Archives officials referred the matter to the Justice Department.
Nov. 14: Mr. Garland selected John R. Lausch Jr., the U.S. attorney in Chicago, to conduct a preliminary assessment of the material to determine whether a special counsel was needed.
Dec. 20: Mr. Biden’s lawyers told Mr. Lausch that they had found a second set of classified documents in the garage of his house in Wilmington, Del., according to Mr. Garland. The administration separately said it “immediately” notified the Justice Department upon finding a “small number” of such files in a storage space in the garage as well as a single-page document in an adjacent room.
Jan. 5: Mr. Lausch told Mr. Garland that a special counsel was warranted.
Jan. 9: CBS News reported on the existence of the documents found at the Penn Biden Center. The White House acknowledged the matter in a statement but made no reference to the documents found at the president’s home in Wilmington.
Jan. 10: Mr. Biden told reporters in Mexico City that he was “surprised” to learn in the fall that classified documents had been taken to his former office at the think tank, but he did not disclose that more documents had been found.
Jan. 11: NBC News reported that a second batch of classified records had been found, but without details like when and where. It would later become clear this was the batch found in the garage on Dec. 20.
Jan. 12: The White House publicly acknowledged that documents had been found in Mr. Biden’s garage, along with one additional document that had been “discovered among stored materials in an adjacent room.” A search of the Biden home in Rehoboth Beach, Del., did not uncover any documents, the administration said. Officials did not describe when that search was carried out. Mr. Garland announced he was appointing Robert K. Hur as special counsel to investigate.
Charlie Savage contributed reporting.