Antony Blinken says he was ‘surprised’ classified documents were found at the Biden think tank HE directed – and promises full cooperation with Department of Justice probe
- Antony Blinken broke his silence on the issue at a press conference on Tuesday
- He was managing director of the Penn Biden Center in Washington for two years
- Blinken was asked what he knew about government documents at the center
- ‘I had no knowledge of it at the time,’ he told reporters
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said he would cooperate with the special counsel investigating how classified documents were discovered at Joe Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington.
Blinken was managing director of the center for two years.
‘I was surprised to learn that there were any government records taken to the Penn Biden Center,’ he said in his first public comments about the issue.
‘I had no knowledge of it at the time.
‘The White House of course has indicated that the administration is cooperating fully with the review that the Justice Department has undertaken.
‘And I of course would cooperate with that review myself.’
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said he would cooperate with the special counsel investigating how classified documents were discovered in Joe Biden’s office
Blinken is Biden’s most trusted foreign policy wonk and served as his national security adviser when he was vice president.
They stayed close when Biden left office. Blinken was installed as managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, which was affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania but located in Washington.
It was there that classified documents were found in November last year. The discovery triggered a scandal that has dominated headlines for 10 days with a drip, drip, drip of revelations.
Earlier, the White House tried to shrug off criticism of its piecemeal disclosures, insisting that it may have to withhold information to protect the Justice Department probe.
‘We’re endeavoring to be as transparent and informative to you all in the media, to the public as we can consistent with respecting the integrity of an ongoing Justice Department investigation,’ Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, told reporters.
Yet, that has not stopped a deluge of questions about who knew what and when, after the original November discovery was kept quiet for two months.
How the scandal of government documents unfolded since classified records were found in Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center on November 2
Blinken made his comments during a press conference alongside British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the State Department on Tuesday afternoon
The latest twist came on Saturday when the White House revealed that attorneys found classified documents and official records on four different occasions — on Nov. 2 at the offices of the Penn Biden Center, on Dec. 20 in the garage of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware home, and on Nov. 11 and 12 in the president’s home library.
That left the White House with yet more explaining to do.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre last Thursday had said the searches were completed a day earlier on Nov. 11.
She was bombarded with more questions on Tuesday about whether more discoveries were going to be announced.
She referred questions to the Justice Department or the White House counsel’s office, even as she claimed transparency.
‘I think I’ve been very clear about this. We have answered questions on this at this podium,’ Jean-Pierre said.