Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said he was surprised to learn that any government records were taken to President Biden’s former University of Pennsylvania Washington office and said he would cooperate fully if called for an interview by the special counsel.
Blinken, speaking during a joint press conference with Britain’s foreign secretary, said he had no knowledge of government records discovered at the Penn-Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as managing director.
“The short answer is no,” Blinken said in response to a question from NBC’s Andrea Mitchell if the secretary was aware of any reason why classified documents would have been packed and brought to the center while he was there.
“Just as you heard from President Biden, about a week ago, I was surprised to learn that there were any government records taken to the Penn Biden Center,” the secretary continued.
“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 fully with that review myself.”
Blinken served as the center’s managing director in 2018.
The discovery of the documents at the Washington office, which Biden used between his time as vice president and his 2020 presidential run, was on Nov. 2. But the White House did not disclose the findings until after they were reported by CBS News last week.
The president said last week that he was surprised to learn about the records at the Penn-Biden Center and that he is unaware of what documents were found at his former office.
Last week, a second batch of documents were found in the garage of Biden’s Wilmington, Del., residence, and on Saturday lawyers revealed that five more classified documents were found at that residence.
The total number of materials with classified markings found at Biden’s old office and Wilmington home is at roughly two dozen. Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel for the investigation into the handling of the documents.