House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer slammed President Joe Biden and his team on Sunday for their handling of classified documents, announcing on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he is asking for more information on the situation .
“We would never have known about the existence of classified documents if the CBS investigative reporting hadn’t somehow leaked them,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper. There is no transparency about the holdings of classified documents. We just hope that former President (Donald) Trump and current President Biden will be treated equally regarding documents.”
In a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klein, Comer requested more documents and communications related to presidential aides’ searches of Biden’s home and other locations for classified documents, as well as visitor logs from President Wilmington , Delaware, January 20, 2021 to present at home.
The letter came after Biden aides discovered another five pages of classified material at his private residence in Wilmington on Thursday, the same day a special counsel was appointed to investigate the matter. The White House released the findings on Saturday.
“It is troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored in 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. President, you, as the head of the Executive Office of the President, have a responsibility to be transparent with the American people on these important issues related to the White House’s handling of this matter.”
Tapper asked Comer on Sunday whether he was more concerned about the mishandling of classified documents related to Democrats — a reference to the Republican response to Trump, who was raided by the FBI last summer after repeated attempts to retrieve classified documents. The Mar-a-Lago file.
“Absolutely not,” Comer responded. “Look, we still don’t know what type of documents President Trump has.”
“My concern is how former President Trump was treated so differently when he raided Mar-a-Lago, got security cameras, took photos of documents on the floor. … It’s not equal treatment, and we’re very concerned, House Republicans Lack of trust in the Justice Department. That’s the anger.”
A separate special counsel is conducting multiple investigations into Trump’s conduct, from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election to his handling of classified data and obstruction that led to the FBI’s search of 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.”
“I would accuse the Biden administration of being opaque. Why didn’t we hear about it when the first classified documents were discovered on Nov. 2?” he added. “Joe Biden used Republicans as a threat to democracy as his closing argument during the midterms. He cited the fact that President Trump mishandled these documents.”
In September, Biden said on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that Trump’s handling of the documents was “utterly irresponsible.”
Responding to a question about images of classified documents strewn across the Mar-a-Lago floor, Biden said his reaction was: “How could this happen. One — anyone could be irresponsible.
On Sunday’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who is Comer’s Democratic opponent on the House Oversight Committee, was asked about the chairman’s comments.
Ruskin told Tapper, “Every American wants to see classified documents properly handled by any president and any government.”
He echoed Comer’s call for “equal treatment,” but argued that the Biden White House’s handling of the discovery of classified documents was “very different from what we’ve seen with Donald Trump.”
“It disturbs me a little that some people are saying that there is nothing wrong with what Donald Trump is doing, which is blatantly refusing any cooperation to hand over hundreds of classified documents, but they are disturbed that President Biden voluntarily and quickly handed over the few classified documents they found documents,” he said.
“I think it’s a good thing that this matter is in the hands of special counsels on both sides, who are trustworthy lawyers, and I think they’ll find out the truth,” Ruskin said.
CNN previously reported that the classified materials found in Biden’s private office included some top-secret documents marked with “sensitive partition information” for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources. The documents include U.S. intelligence memos and briefing material on topics including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to people familiar with the matter.
On Saturday, Biden’s personal attorney sought to explain why he and other members of the president’s team hadn’t been fully candid about the discovery of classified documents or records.
“The President’s personal counsel has attempted to balance, where appropriate, the importance of public transparency with the established norms and constraints necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Bob Ball said in a statement. Details related to the investigation were publicly released during the period.”
This story and headline have been updated.