House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer on Sunday slammed President Joe Biden and his team for their handling of classified documents, announcing on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he is requesting additional information about the situation.
“We would never have known about the possession of the classified documents were it not for investigative reporting by CBS that somehow got a leak to determine that this had happened prior to the election,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “So 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 here with respect to how both former President (Donald) Trump and current President Biden are being treated with the document issue.”
In a letter addressed to White house chief of staff Ron Klain, Comer is asking for more documents and communications related to the searches of Biden’s homes and other locations by the president’s aides for classified documents, as well as the visitor log of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home from January 20, 2021 to present.
The letter comes after Biden’s aides found five additional pages of classified material at his personal residence in Wilmington on Thursday, the same day a special counsel was appointed to investigate the matter. The White House revealed the discovery on Saturday.
“It is troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored at the home of President Biden for at least six years, raising questions about who may have reviewed or had access to classified information,” Comer wrote in the letter. “As Chief of Staff, you are head of the Executive Office of the President and bear responsibility to be transparent with the American people on these important issues related to the White House’s handling of this matter.”
Asked by Tapper on Sunday if he was accusing Biden or anyone on his team of breaking the law, Comer said, “We don’t know exactly yet whether they broke the law or not.”
“I will accuse the Biden administration of not being transparent. Why didn’t we hear about this on November 2, when the first batch of classified documents were discovered?” he said.
Tapper asked Comer if he cared more about the mishandling of classified documents when it relates to Democrats – a reference to the GOP response to Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago residence was searched by the FBI last summer after repeated attempts to retrieve classified documents.
“Absolutely not,” Comer responded. “Look, we still don’t know what type of documents President Trump had.”
“My concern is how there’s such a discrepancy in how former President Trump was treated by raiding Mar-a-Lago, by getting the security cameras, by taking pictures of documents on the floor. … That’s not equal treatment, and we’re very concerned and there’s a lack of trust here at the Department of Justice by House Republicans. That’s the outrage.”
CNN previously reported that the classified material found in Biden’s private office included some top secret files with the “sensitive compartmentalized information” designation, which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources. Those documents included US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter.
On Saturday, Biden’s personal attorney sought to explain why he and other members of the president’s team haven’t been fully forthcoming about the discoveries of classified documents or records.
“The President’s personal attorneys have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity,” Bob Bauer said in a statement. “These considerations require avoiding the public release of detail relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.”
This story and headline have been updated.