House GOP demands visitor logs in Biden classified docs case

Jan 14, 2023, 9:58 PM | Updated: Jan 17, 2023, 10:00 am
FILE - Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., talks to reporters as he walks to the House chamber, on Capitol Hil...

FILE - Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., talks to reporters as he walks to the House chamber, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. In a letter, Sunday, Jan. 15, to the White House, Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, says he wants to see the documents and communications related to searches that have uncovered classified documents at President Joe Biden’s home and former office as well as visitor logs of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home from Jan. 20, 2021, to present. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

              President Joe Biden waves before boarding Air Force One at Delaware Air National Guard Base in New Castle, Del., Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, en route to Atlanta. Newly empowered House Republicans on Sunday demanded the White House turn over all information related to its searches that have uncovered classified documents at President Joe Biden’s home and former office in the wake of more records found at his Delaware residence. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
            
              FILE - Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., talks to reporters as he walks to the House chamber, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. In a letter, Sunday, Jan. 15, to the White House, Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, says he wants to see the documents and communications related to searches that have uncovered classified documents at President Joe Biden’s home and former office as well as visitor logs of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home from Jan. 20, 2021, to present. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
            
              FILE - Security personnel stand at the entrance to President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden's home in Wilmington, Del., on Feb. 21, 2021.  Biden acknowledged on Thursday that a document with classified markings from his time as vice president was found in his “personal library” at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, along with other documents found in his garage, days after it was disclosed that sensitive documents were also found at the office of his former institute in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly empowered House Republicans on Sunday demanded the White House turn over all information related to its searches that have uncovered classified documents at President Joe Biden’s home and former office in the wake of more records found at his Delaware residence.

“We have a lot of questions,” said Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.

Comer, R-Ky., said he wants to see all documents and communications related to the searches by the Biden team, as well as visitor logs of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, from Jan. 20, 2021, to present. He said the aim is to determine who might have had access to classified material and how the records got there.

The White House on Saturday said it had discovered five additional pages of classified documents at Biden’s home on Thursday, the same day a special counsel was appointed to review the matter.

In a letter Sunday to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, Comer criticized the searches by Biden representatives when the Justice Department was beginning to investigate and said Biden’s “mishandling of classified materials raises the issue of whether he has jeopardized our national security.” Comer demanded that the White House provide all relevant information including visitor logs by the end of the month.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Comer referred to Biden’s home as a “crime scene” though he acknowledged that it was not clear whether laws were broken.

“My concern is that the special counsel was called for, but yet hours after that we still had the president’s personal attorneys, who have no security clearance, still rummaging around the president’s residence, looking for things — I mean that would essentially be a crime scene, so to speak,” Comer said.

While the U.S. Secret Service provides security at the president’s private residence, it does not maintain visitor logs, agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Sunday.

“We don’t independently maintain our own visitor logs because it’s a private residence,” Guglielmi said. He added that the agency does screen visitors to the president’s properties but doesn’t maintain records of those checks.

The White House confirmed that Biden has not independently maintained records of who has visited his residence since he became president.

“Like every President in decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”

Indeed, President Donald Trump’s administration announced early in his presidency that they wouldn’t release visitor logs out of “grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.” Democrat Barack Obama’s administration initially fought attempts by Congress and conservative and liberal groups to obtain visitor records. But after being sued, it voluntarily began disclosing the logs in December 2009, posting records every three to four months.

A federal appeals court ruled in 2013 that the logs can be withheld under presidential executive privilege. That unanimous ruling was written by Judge Merrick Garland, who is now serving as Biden’s attorney general.

Asked about Comer’s request for logs and communications regarding the search for documents, Sams responded: “I would simply refer you to what Congressman Comer himself told CNN this morning: ‘At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn’t the classified documents to be honest with you.’ That says it all.”

In that CNN interview, Comer had added that House Republicans did not trust the Justice Department to give the matter of Biden’s classified documents an appropriate level of scrutiny. The House Judiciary Committee on Friday requested that Garland turn over information related to the discovery of documents and Garland’s appointment of special counsel Richard Hur to oversee the investigation.

White House officials “can say they’re being transparent, but it’s anything but,” the committee chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

White House lawyer Richard Sauber said in a statement Saturday that a total of six pages of classified documents were found from Biden’s time serving as vice president in the Obama administration during a search of Biden’s private library. The White House had said previously that only a single page was found there.

The latest disclosure was in addition to the discovery of documents found in December in Biden’s garage and in November at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington.

Sauber said that Biden’s personal lawyers, who did not have security clearances, stopped their search after finding the first page on Wednesday evening. Sauber found the remaining material Thursday, as he was facilitating their retrieval by Justice Department. Sauber did not explain why the White House waited two days to provide an updated accounting. The White House is already facing scrutiny for waiting more than two months to acknowledge the discovery of the initial group of documents at the Biden office.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said the Justice Department rightfully appointed special counsels to “get to the bottom” of the Biden classified documents matter as well as in a separate investigation into the mishandling of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s private club and residence in Florida.

But Raskin also stressed key differences between the two cases, including that Biden’s team readily handed over documents to the National Archives compared with Trump’s repeated resistance to such requests.

“We should keep a sense of proportion and measure about what we’re talking about,” Raskin told CNN.

Asked Sunday if his oversight committee would investigate Trump’s handling of classified documents as well, Comer demurred.

“There have been so many investigations of President Trump, I don’t feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time investigating President Trump, because the Democrats have done that for the past six years,” he said.

___

Madhani reported from Wilmington, Delaware.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Hinman Glacier...
Associated Press

Washington’s Hinman Glacier gone after thousands of years

The largest glacier between the high peaks of Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak has melted away after a long battle with global warming.
8 hours ago
Pierce County substation...
Associated Press

Man accused in holiday substation vandalism released from custody

One of the two men charged with vandalizing electrical substations in Washington state over the holidays to cover a burglary was ordered released from federal custody Friday to seek substance abuse help.
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Wife of Islamic State leader jailed for 8 years in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A military tribunal in Somalia has sentenced the wife of the head of a terrorist organization linked to the Islamic State group to eight years in prison for passing on information and organizing financial transactions for the group, a military official said Monday. Fartun Abdirashid, wife of Abdiqadir Mumin, head of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

5 dead, police freed in Mexican rural confrontation

MEXICO CITY (AP) — It’s not clear how the violence happened, but civilians in southern Mexico took action over the weekend to make sure the government heard their complaints, surrounding a group of officers and leading them to a crime scene where two officers and three civilians were found dead. The government of the southern […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Turkey begins child abuse trial that put spotlight on sects

ISTANBUL (AP) — The parents and husband of a woman who was forced into marriage when she was just six years old went on trial in Turkey on Monday on charges of child and sexual abuse, in a case that has shone a spotlight on the country’s religious sects. The woman — now aged 24 […]
1 day ago
An 2022 Ford Mustang Mach E whips past the State Capitol as the legislative session opens in the Ho...
Associated Press

Ford cuts price on Mustang Mach-E after Tesla price cuts

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is cutting prices on its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV by as much as $6,000 just weeks after market leader Tesla took similar steps. The Detroit automaker increasing production of the Mach-E this year and is taking advantage of streamlined costs to reduce prices across the board, it said Monday. The price […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
House GOP demands visitor logs in Biden classified docs case