What We Know About Joe Biden’s Private Office


It’s an office fit for a former vice president working in Washington—dark hardwood floors, plush seating, and a spacious desk against the backdrop of the soaring Capitol.

This week, what happened inside the office — the think tank where President Joe Biden spent eight years in the Obama administration — came after it was revealed that material from his tenure had been classified as a deputy. The president was found there.

The documents were discovered by the president’s personal lawyers in November, according to Biden’s White House lawyer, as they were packing documents for storage in a locked closet as they prepared to leave the offices of Biden’s Center for Foreign Affairs and Global Engagement in Pennsylvania . Less than five years after Biden cut the ribbon to unveil it, they are preparing to make room.

Images and floor plans of the space, as well as public records obtained by CNN, show Biden trying to build a foreign policy think tank after becoming vice president.

When visitors who want to go to the Biden Center in Pennsylvania enter the building at 101 Constitution Avenue NW, they first need to check in with front desk staff in the lobby, according to a source familiar with the process. Visitors will then take an elevator to the floor where the Pennsylvania Biden Center offices are located.

A source familiar with the office and its layout told CNN that it’s not uncommon to be told during visits that Biden himself doesn’t spend much time there.

Through a door in the elevator lobby, guests would walk into a reception area and a few steps into a large conference room near Biden’s office.

In the conference room, Biden was photographed Speaking In another photo, he talks to Penn students and alumni during a meeting with former Mexican president Felipe Calderon. Current Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was photographed laughing with a Japanese diplomat.

The think tank has also been visited by former Danish prime ministers, leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Diocese of Kyiv, and several Israeli politicians.

A source familiar with the event said Biden threw a holiday party in 2018 at the Biden Center offices in Pennsylvania that included former staffers.

The conference room has a door leading directly to Biden’s private office, complete with tall wooden display racks, a blue love seat and a plaque on Biden’s desk that reads: “Mr. Biden.” Biden — Chairman” — an apparent nod to his time in the Senate, where he chaired the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees. Sources familiar with the layout pointed to a dog bed somewhere in the Biden Center in Pennsylvania.

Hidden to the left of Biden’s desk is a small closet, the floor plan shows. To his right, a small closet and a large walk-in storage space are sandwiched between the conference room and the office.

Across the hallway is a group of enclosed office suites organized around a central gathering area; sources familiar with the layout estimate there may be about 10-15 offices in total. A source with direct knowledge of the matter said the closed office was reserved for senior staff and had a cafeteria.

According to the first source familiar with the layout, then-Biden executive assistant Kathy Chung and someone else sat in a two-man executive office directly across from Biden’s office. Zheng, who now works at the Pentagon, was interviewed during an investigation into classified documents found in Biden’s private office, according to a defense official. She did not respond to CNN’s attempts to reach her.

Chung was one of several members of the Pennsylvania Biden Center who later joined the Biden administration, including officials from the White House, Pentagon and other diplomatic posts.

Biden’s attorney and the Justice Department did not say where the documents were found in the office, except in a locked closet. The floor plan shows that at Biden Penn Center, closets and storage are scattered throughout the space.

The office was never home to the U.S. Secret Service, as Biden lost federal protection in mid-2017, as agreed, after his vice presidency ended. The Secret Service restored Biden’s protection in March 2020, when he became the presumptive Democratic nominee, even though Secret Service agents never had any ties to the Pennsylvania Biden Center.

The building is just steps away from the U.S. Capitol and steps from the federal courthouse in Washington, DC. This is the same courtroom where special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury is currently convening a grand jury investigating the issue of former President Donald Trump’s own classified documents. This is the likely location for a grand jury if Robert Hull chooses to use it in his new special counsel investigation. On Thursday, Hull was named special counsel to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents. The White House said earlier this week that classified documents were also found at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The building is also home to law firms, lobbyists and trade groups such as the National Association of Mines. Then there’s Charlie Palmer Steak—a haunt of Washington insiders.

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