House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden and his team for handling classified documents, announcing on CNN“Union situation” that he requests more information about the situation.
“We would never have known about the possession of classified documents if it hadn’t been for the CBS investigative reporting that was somehow leaked to determine that it happened before the election,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “So the administration has not been transparent about what is going on with President Biden’s possession of classified documents. And we just want the same treatment that former President (Donald) Trump and current President Biden treat the documents. .”
In a letter addressed to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein, Comer is asking for more documents and communications related to searches of Biden’s homes and other locations by presidential aides for classified documents, as well as a log of visitors to the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home since Jan. 20, 2021. at the present time.
The letter came after Biden’s aides found five additional pages of classified material at his private home in Wilmington on Thursday, the same day a special counsel was appointed to investigate the matter. The White House announced the find on Saturday.
“It is troubling that classified documents were improperly stored at President Biden’s home for at least six years, raising questions about who may have viewed or had access to classified information,” Comer wrote in the letter. “As chief of staff, you are the head of the president’s administration and you have a responsibility to be transparent with the American people about these important issues related to how the White House is handling this matter.”
Taper asked Comer on Sunday if he was more concerned about the mishandling of classified documents when it comes to Democrats — a reference to the GOP’s response to Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI last summer after repeated attempts to return classified documents.
“Not at all,” Comer replied. “Look, we still don’t know what documents President Trump had.”
“I am concerned that there is such a disparity in the way former President Trump was treated, raiding Mar-a-Lago, taking security cameras, taking pictures of documents on the floor… This is not equal treatment and we are very concerned and here, in the Ministry of Justice, Republicans do not trust. This is an outrage.”
A separate special counsel is conducting several investigations into Trump’s actions, from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election to the handling of classified information and deception that led the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago.
Asked by Tapper on Sunday whether he was accusing Biden or anyone on his team of breaking the law, Comer said, “We don’t know for sure yet whether they broke the law or not.”
“I will accuse the Biden administration of lack of transparency. Why didn’t we hear about it on November 2, when the first batch of classified documents was revealed?” he added. “Joe Biden used as his closing argument during the midterm elections that Republicans were a threat to democracy. And he referred to President Trump’s mishandling of documents.”
In September, Biden told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Trump’s handling of the documents was “absolutely irresponsible.”
Asked about the image of classified documents strewn across the floor at Mar-a-Lago, Biden said his reaction was, “How could that happen. As one – anyone can be so irresponsible.
In a separate interview Sunday on State of the Union, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, Comer’s Democratic colleague on the House Oversight Committee, was asked about the chairman’s remarks.
Raskin told Tapper that “every American has an interest in seeing that classified documents are properly handled by any president and any administration.”
He echoed Comer’s calls for “equal treatment” but argued that the way the Biden White House handled the disclosure of classified documents represented a “very different position than what we’ve seen with Donald Trump.”
“I’m a little concerned that people who say there was no problem with what Donald Trump did, who defiantly refused any cooperation in handing over hundreds of classified documents, are upset by President Biden’s voluntary and quick handover of a few documents. the documents they found,” he said.
“I think it’s good that it’s in the hands of special counsel on both sides, and both special counsel are solid lawyers who I think will get to the bottom of it,” Raskin said.
South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, an aide to the Democratic leader, told MSNBC on Sunday that he would like the White House to cooperate with the House Republicans’ investigation of Biden, but only to the extent that House Republicans are investigating Trump.
He said that “to talk about investigating these matters involving Joe Biden and ignore everything that happened with Donald Trump is ridiculous.”
“I think everybody sees the big differences between what they were looking for Joe Biden and what they were investigating Donald Trump,” the South Carolina Democrat said, later adding, “There is nothing similar about the two incidents.”
Clyburn said it would be “appropriate” for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel.
“What we need to do is an investigation to get to the bottom of it and let’s move forward. I see that there is no crime here,” he said.
CNN previously reported that classified materials found in Biden’s personal office included some top-secret files marked “compartmentalized classified information,” which is used for highly classified information obtained from intelligence sources. The documents included US intelligence memos and briefing materials covering topics such as Ukraine, Iran and Britain, according to a source familiar with the matter.
On Saturday, Biden’s personal lawyer tried to explain why he and other members of the presidential team did not fully disclose the release of classified documents or records.
“The president’s personal lawyers have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency, when appropriate, with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Bob Bauer said in a statement. “These considerations require us to avoid public release of details relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.”
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