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House Republicans launch investigations into Biden’s handling of classified documents – B87FM
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House Republicans launch investigations into Biden’s handling of classified documents

Written by on January 13, 2023

House Republicans announced Friday they are investigating President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents that were found at his private office and the garage of his Delaware home.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the House Judiciary Committee requested documents related to the discovery of the documents and Garland’s appointment of special counsel Richard Hur to review the handling of the documents.

“The American people deserve transparency and accountability from our most-senior executive branch law enforcement officials,” the letter reads, requesting the Justice Department to provide the documents no later than Jan. 27.

Trump v. Biden:President Joe Biden classified documents: What we know and how discovery compares to Trump

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Earlier Friday, the House Oversight Committee, also began it’s own investigation into the documents. Chair of the committee, Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, sent a letter to the White House requesting additional details about what the documents entailed and where they were found.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., nominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for a 13th round of voting in the House chamber as the House meets for the fourth day to elect a speaker and convene the 118th Congress in Washington Friday, Jan. 6, 2023.

What records are Republicans seeking?

The House Oversight Committee requested from the White House specific details about the contents of the documents and what actions were taken following their discovery:

  • All of the classified documents found.
  • A list of who was staffed to review the documents.
  • A list of locations that were searched.
  • Communications between the White House and the DOJ or the National Archives and Records Administration regarding the found documents.

The House Judiciary Committee is probing the DOJ and asking for details related to how the department is handling the situation which include:

  • Documents related to Garland’s appointment of Hur as special counsel.
  • Communications between the White House, the DOJ and the FBI related to the classified documents.
  • All documentation related to how the classified documents were physically stored at Biden’s private office and Delaware home.
  • All documents and communications related to how the classified documents were discovered by Biden’s personal attorneys.

House GOP claims echoes of Mar-a-Lago — but differing treatment

Comer in his letter tied the documents to the committee’s future probe into the president’s son, Hunter Biden and his financial dealings.

“The Committee is concerned President Biden stored classified documents at the same location his son resided while engaging in international business deals with adversaries of the United States,” the letter read.

The discovery of the documents has drawn intense scrutiny from House Republicans, who have compared the situation to the Justice Department’s separate probe of former president Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.

“The Department’s actions here appear to depart from how it acted in similar circumstances,” said the letter from the Judiciary Committee.

Trouble for Biden:‘Fairness and double standards’: How Biden’s classified documents debacle could become a political, legal liability

Washington, D.C.; House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, goes back into the chamber to vote Jan. 5, 2023. (Megan Smith, USA TODAY)

Biden ‘surprised’ to learn about records

The White House confirmed Monday that a number of classified documents from Biden’s years as vice president had been discovered in a box in a storage closet connected to a Washington office that Biden used prior to his presidential campaign. The documents were immediately turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration, the White House said.

Biden said he was “surprised” to learn of the discovery of the records. He had branded his predecessor, Donald Trump, “irresponsible” for storing classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

The Biden documents, according to the White House, were found Nov. 2 in a “locked closet” while the president’s personal attorneys were packing files at the office he used at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. Biden used the office after the end of the Obama administration in 2017 until his presidential campaign in 2020. The administration hasn’t described the number or type of documents, but the White House said it was a “small number.”

“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the archives,” the White House said in a statement. “Since that discovery, the president’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in a process to ensure any Obama-Biden administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints on Jan. 12, 2023, a special counsel to further review the handling of classified documents found at a former office space used by President Joe Biden and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Mar-a-Lago probe:‘Astounding’: Trump documents reveal casual disregard for long-standing security protocols

Differences with Trump case

In contrast, FBI agents seized the Trump documents during a search of Mar-a-Lago in August for evidence of violations of the Espionage Act or obstruction of justice.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Jack Smith, to investigate the Mar-a-Lago documents as part of a broader inquiry that includes Trump’s role in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Trump administration documents the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago included about 100 classified records. Trump has argued he declassified them before moving out of the White House, but investigators have found no documentation to verify that.

Contributing: Michael Collins, Francesca Chambers, Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson


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