Notebooks President Joe Biden wrote during his time as vice president are among items the FBI took from one of his Delaware homes during a search there last week, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The notebooks were seized because Biden’s writings on some of the pages relate to his official business as vice president, including details of his diplomatic engagements during the Obama administration, and may reference classified information, this person said. They said the notebooks do not have classified markings, but some of the handwritten notes inside them could be considered as such due to their confidential content.

Other pages in the notebooks, while they may not contain potentially classified information, could still be considered government property under the Presidential Records Act because they pertain to official business Biden conducted as vice president, the person familiar with the investigation said.

The notebooks include a mix of Biden’s handwritten notes on various topics, both personal and official, this person said. On some pages, Biden noted things about his family or his life that are not related to public office, they said. On other pages, they said that he commemorated in writing some of his experiences or thoughts of him as vice president at that time.

The number of notebooks Biden kept is large, according to the person familiar with the investigation, but they did not know the exact number.

When asked about the notebooks, a spokesperson for Biden’s personal lawyer Bob Bauer reiterated the position the president’s legal team has taken in previous statements about the Justice Department’s investigation into Biden’s possession of classified material from the Obama administration meeting in his Wilmington, Delaware. residence and an office in Washington, DC that he used after leaving the vice presidency.

«As noted in the statement issued on January 14, in accordance with our opinion on the requirements of our cooperation with the Department of Justice in this matter, we will not comment on the accuracy of reports of this nature,» the spokesperson said.

The Justice Department declined to comment. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Friday, Bauer’s spokesman declined to comment when asked if Biden knew the notebooks were packed in boxes he left behind at the end of the Obama administration, had access to them since leaving the vice presidency, and whether he thought the notebooks they were his personal property.

In a letter this week to former presidents and vice presidents, the National Archives asked their offices to search any materials in their possession that may be related to their terms in office, including «to determine whether bodies of materials previously thought to be that were of a personal nature could inadvertently contain presidential or vice presidential records subject to the [Presidential Records Act]whether classified or unclassified.”

The request followed a battle between former President Donald Trump and the Archives over his possession of classified documents after leaving office, which led the FBI to obtain a search warrant in August to recover them from his property in Mar-a-Lago. ; Biden aides’ discovery in November of classified documents from his time as vice president in his private office, as well as subsequent discoveries; and former Vice President Mike Pence’s disclosure that his aides had found classified documents at his Indiana home earlier this month.

The possession of classified documents by Trump and Biden is the subject of separate investigations by the special counsel. So far, Attorney General Merrick Garland has not appointed a special counsel to investigate Pence’s handling of classified documents.

Biden’s possession of notebooks from his time as vice president that include notes on official business he conducted in that role raises questions about whether he properly followed procedures to preserve presidential records. It also raises questions about whether the notebooks are considered personal or official, and how other vice presidents and presidents who kept similar notebooks while in office have handled theirs.

Federal law allows presidents and vice presidents to write and, upon leaving office, keep diaries and notes of a «personal» nature, as long as they have not shared the material with anyone during the time they held the position. (Former President Ronald Reagan kept a handwritten journal during his eight years in the White House, keeping them in a dresser drawer and only his wife, Nancy, knew they were there, according to Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian who later edited and published the diaries.)

Jason R. Baron, former director of litigation for the National Archives, said that when it comes to notebooks containing handwritten notes on personal matters, interspersed with notes on government affairs, they would likely be considered personal property if Biden never shared them with any government. . officials during the vice presidency.

Baron said that’s true whether Biden wrote a note to himself about buying a birthday president for his wife or about meeting a foreign leader.

But if Biden shared the contents of the notebooks with staff while serving as vice president, the material would be considered an official government record, Baron said.

“Handwritten personal notes from a former president or vice president are only considered presidential records if they were shared or communicated with other White House or federal agency personnel for use in government transactions,” Baron said. “A former president or vice president has the right to take personal notes from the White House; they are not official records that remain in the legal custody of the National Archives at the end of an administration.”

On January 20, the FBI spent more than 12 hours searching Biden’s Wilmington home for any possible records of his eight years as vice president, including potentially classified materials.

The next day, Bauer, the president’s personal attorney, said in a statement that federal investigators had taken with them more than classified-marked documents after accessing the «notes, files, papers, folders, memorabilia, to-do lists earrings, personally handwritten” from Biden. schedules and reminders that go back decades.”

The Justice Department «took possession of materials it deemed to be within the scope of its investigation, including six items consisting of documents with classification marks and surrounding materials,» Bauer said in the statement. “The DOJ also took personally handwritten notes from the vice presidential years for further review.”

Revelations that Trump, Biden and Pence possessed classified materials after leaving office have prompted calls for changes to the process for when the presidents and vice presidents leave.

Norman Eisen, who served as a special White House ethics adviser to former President Barack Obama, said he advocates a more detailed review of the president’s and vice president’s documents before they leave office so that government documents are not saved. with your other documents. belongings.

Eisen described a hypothetical scenario in which an outgoing president or aide wanted to pack up a medical bill that needed to be paid and had to call the National Archives for a clerk to determine if it was a personal or government record.

On Friday, Pence apologized for having classified documents in his possession and said he takes full responsibility for it.

Biden has said he was surprised to learn that classified documents were found in his old office in November and has said «there is nothing there» in terms of the federal investigation. The White House counsel’s office said the documents were inadvertently packed in boxes and taken after Biden left the vice presidency.

A person close to Biden said it’s impossible to imagine him packing boxes himself upon leaving the vice presidency. That would have been the job of his staff, this person said, speaking on condition of anonymity to speak more freely.

“He is not putting anything in boxes,” this person said.