House Republicans dug in their heels Sunday over President Biden’s apparent mishandling of classified documents with promises to conduct their own investigation and to provide oversight of the Justice Department’s probe.
A third set of classified material was discovered to be in Mr. Biden’s private possession Saturday by his attorneys, drawing searing criticism from GOP lawmakers and charges of hypocrisy in the wake of federal investigators seizing similar sensitive documents from former President Donald Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago residence last year.
“It just shows the hypocrisy and why the American public does not trust their government,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We will have a role in overseeing what’s transpiring here. What’s real concerning to me is how justice is applied, and is it applied equally? Why do you raid President Trump?”
Rep. Chris Stewart, Utah Republican, labeled Mr. Biden’s defense that he was unaware he had the materials stemming from his time as vice president as “nonsense.”
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, Kentucky Republican, questioned why the discovery was not publicized until last week when Mr. Biden’s lawyers first found the documents days before the November midterms. He sent a letter to White House chief of staff Ronald Klain on Sunday demanding that the visitor log be released for Mr. Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence where some of the materials were found.
“This is the same type of investigation that the Democrats were so outraged and launched and demanded happen to President Trump. What we see with President Biden is there are multiple locations,” Mr. Comer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We would never have known about the possession of the classified documents, were it not for investigative reporting by CBS that somehow got leaked, to determine that this had happened prior to the election. The administration hasn’t been transparent about what’s going on with President Biden’s possession of classified documents, and we just want equal treatment.”
SEE ALSO: Rep. James Comer asks why discovery of Biden classified docs wasn’t publicized in November
Even Democrats expressed concern about national security risks and conceded that the episode is “embarrassing” for Mr. Biden. Unauthorized removal and possession of classified documents is illegal under federal law.
The White House acknowledged over the weekend that additional classified materials were found at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, marking the third such time that lawyers for the president discovered sensitive documents in his belongings. Other documents were previously found in his home’s garage and his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington from when he was vice president.
The DOJ has appointed a special counsel to investigate, as was done with Mr. Trump’s apparent mishandling of classified documents.
“It’s certainly embarrassing,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Democrat who is not seeking reelection next year, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It’s embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents, certainly not on purpose. They don’t think it’s the right thing and they have been moving to correct it, working with the Department of Justice, working with everyone involved with the archives. It’s one of those moments that obviously they wish hadn’t happened.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat who was chair of the Intelligence Committee in the previous Congress, said an assessment needs to be done by the intel community to determine potential damages to national security from having such sensitive materials in his private residence and office.
“I don’t think we can exclude the possibility without knowing more of the facts,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’d like to know what these documents were. I’d like to know what the [intelligence community’s] assessment is, whether there was any risk of exposure and what the harm would be and whether any mitigation needs to be done.”
SEE ALSO: Adam Schiff says GOP is ‘hypocritical’ in Biden vs. Trump classified docs