The Daily Telegraph

Biden’s ‘garage files’ include notes for UK PM

Sensitive material about phone call to Cameron or May found in documents at president’s former office

- By Nick Allen in Washington

CLASSIFIED documents Joe Biden is accused of illegally removing from the White House are believed to include sensitive informatio­n for use in a phone call with the British prime minister.

A restricted briefing note for the call was dated between 2013 and 2016 and it was unclear whether it had been compiled ahead of a conversati­on with David Cameron or Theresa May.

Documents from Mr Biden’s eight years as vice-president, between 2009 and 2017, were found to have been stored at his private office in Washington and in his garage in Delaware.

Merrick Garland, the US attorney general, yesterday appointed a special counsel to investigat­e. Robert Hur will look into why the documents were not handed over to the National Archives when Mr Biden left office, as was required by law.

That will probably include interviewi­ng several senior current White House officials who also worked for Mr Biden when he was vice-president, and potentiall­y Mr Biden himself.

If Mr Biden’s conversati­on with the UK leader took place in late 2016 it would have been with Mrs May. Before that, it would have been Mr Cameron.

His classified briefing notes, prepared by officials ahead of the call, were found in one of several boxes in a cupboard in his office at a think tank, in a regular building in Washington.

Intelligen­ce memos relating to Ukraine and Iran, and briefing notes for a call with Donald Tusk, at the time president of the European Council, were found. A classified memo from Mr Biden to his boss Barack Obama, was also discovered, CNN reported.

Some of the documents reportedly had the highest level of classifica­tion – “Top Secret” – which means their disclosure would cause “exceptiona­lly grave damage to national security”, according to the US government.

Examples of “exceptiona­lly grave damage” include “armed hostilitie­s against the United States or its allies”, and “disruption of intelligen­ce sources and methods”.

Mr Biden’s private office was being shut down by one of his lawyers last November when they noticed a manila folder labelled “personal,” which contained classified documents.

That led to searches elsewhere, including his garage in Delaware where other classified material was found.

Former aides to Mr Biden have described how the packing of documents was rushed at the end of his vicepresid­ency on Jan 20, 2017.

It was conducted late into the evenings as he continued a hectic schedule, including trips in the final days to Ukraine and Switzerlan­d, and phone calls with a host of leaders. There were three offices to shut down in the White House, the government office building next door, and at his official residence next to the British Embassy.

The Justice Department has reportedly already interviewe­d several people including Kathy Chung, who was Mr Biden’s executive assistant at the time.

Former aides said the actual packing of both official documents and Mr Biden’s personal effects was carried out by junior staff.

The White House has said the documents were “inadverten­tly misplaced” and it was a “mistake”.

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