EXCLUSIVE: The White House on Monday blasted House Republicans for launching ‘hypocritical’ investigations into President Biden’s improper retention of classified records, and accused the GOP of ‘politicizing’ the matter while defending Biden’s cooperation with the special counsel probe.
‘House Republicans are playing politics in a shamelessly hypocritical attempt to attack President Biden,’ White House spokesman Ian Sams told Fox News Digital.
The White House’s comments came after it was revealed that classified records were found inside the Washington D.C., offices of the Penn Biden Center think tank on Nov. 2, 2022, but only revealed to the public last week. A second stash of classified documents were found last week inside the garage of the president’s Wilmington, Delaware home, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter.
Over the weekend, additional classified documents were found in the president’s home.
On Capitol Hill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, notified the Justice Department of his investigation into the president’s ‘mishandling’ of classified records and the Justice Department’s probe into the matter. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., is also investigating the matter, telling Fox News Digital on Monday that he will ‘continue to press’ the Biden administration for answers about who had access to the classified documents.
But on Monday, the White House fired back and accused House Republicans of launching political investigations, while urging the public to be skeptical of those efforts.
‘House Republicans have no credibility,’ Sams said. ‘Their demands should be met with skepticism and they should face questions themselves about why they are politicizing this issue and admitting they actually do not care about the underlying classified material.’
Sams was referring to comments made by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., to CNN on Sunday, in which he said his ‘biggest concern isn’t the classified documents,’ but rather ‘how there’s such a discrepancy in how former President Trump was treated’ during the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The White House also pointed to Comer’s past comments about the classified records held at Mar-a-Lago, telling Fox News Digital that Comer downplayed that scenario, but now is finding it ‘troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored at the home of President Biden.’
‘As President Biden has said repeatedly, he takes classified information seriously, which is why he immediately directed his team to ensure the documents were sent back to the government,’ Sams said.
Sams told Fox News Digital that the president is ‘doing the right thing and is cooperating fully with a thorough review.’
That ‘thorough review’ is no longer just a review. The Justice Department had been reviewing the matter, beginning in November, when Biden aides first found the records. But the discovery of additional classified records last week led Garland to appoint former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to lead the investigation.
The White House continues to stress that the president is cooperating with that investigation and cooperated with the previous review.
The comments come after the White House Counsel’s Office on Monday morning said there are no visitors logs for Biden’s home in Wilmington.
Republicans on Capitol Hill—specifically Comer—demanded the visitor logs this weekend following revelations that Biden’s lawyers had discovered a stash of classified documents inside the home’s garage. While it is common practice to keep comprehensive visitor logs at the White House, Biden’s lawyers say no such record exists for his home in Delaware.
‘Like every President in decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,’ the White House Counsel’s Office told Fox News Digital on Monday. ‘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.’
The discovery of improperly held classified records at Biden’s office in November came just months after the FBI conducted an unprecedented raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
During the raid on Aug. 8, 2022, the FBI seized classified records, including some marked as top secret.
According to the property receipt, FBI agents took approximately 20 boxes of items from the premises, including one set of documents marked as ‘Various classified/TS/SCI documents,’ which refers to top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information.
Records covered by that government classification level could include human intelligence and information that, if disclosed, could jeopardize relations between the U.S. and other nations, as well as the lives of intelligence operatives abroad. However, the classification also encompasses national security information related to the daily operations of the president of the U.S.
Trump and his legal team dispute the classification and argued that they were cooperating with the Justice Department and FBI ahead of the unprecedented pre-dawn raid of the former president’s Palm Beach home.
Garland, on Nov. 18, appointed former DOJ official Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate the issue of classified records being held at Mar-a-Lago.
When he appointed Smith, Garland and top DOJ officials were simultaneously conducting an internal review of President Biden’s mishandling of classified records. That review, and the discovery of classified records at Biden’s office, was not disclosed to the public until last week.
It is unclear what level of classification the documents found in Biden’s office, garage, or home have.
But with regard to the issue of classified documents in general, both the White House and House Republicans are claiming a double standard.
The White House is claiming Republicans did not care about classified records when Trump records were in question, but instead, cared about the treatment of the former president by the FBI.
Republicans, on the other hand, claim the White House and the Biden Administration weaponized the DOJ against Trump, and are now downplaying the fact that Biden improperly retained classified records.