Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Rep. James Comer (R-KY) questioned the White House on Sunday about why President Joe Biden’s private attorneys were still searching his residence for secret records after a special counsel was appointed.
Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special prosecutor on Thursday at 1:30 PM, just hours before the president’s legal staff discovered five additional secret documents at Biden’s Delaware home Thursday evening. About 25 materials have been improperly handled in total, some of which are top secret.
“The Committee is particularly concerned that Wilmington home was examined by White House staff and President Biden’s personal attorneys when they were aware that the Department of Justice was already looking into the situation,” Comer said.
“Mr. Lausch informed the Attorney General that a special counsel was required on Jan. 5, 2023. This notification did not stop the President’s attorneys or the White House counsel from entering his home on January 11, 2022, or Jan. 12, 2022, respectively. The Attorney General announced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Hur on Jan. 12, 2022. But with no independent search for classified items ever being reported by law enforcement, President Biden travelled to Delaware this weekend.”
Comer’s query has not yet received a response from the White House.
The Biden Penn Center and Biden’s home were initially searched for sensitive materials by Biden’s own counsel, but the White House has declined to provide an explanation.
Why Biden utilized his own private attorneys to look for the sensitive information has been questioned by Jonathan Turley, an attorney and lecturer at the George Washington University Law School.
He said in the New York Post on Monday, “It’s odd Biden didn’t utilize security guards or the FBI to do more searches. There are several people who regularly handle secret material that work for the president. So why hire attorneys?”
“Control seems to be the solution, just as it was in the matter of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Biden can invoke the attorney-client privilege by retaining private counsel. Even though Trump had legal representation, the FBI eventually conducted a raid on his residence to examine it and remove whatever documents they had discovered in boxes containing secret material.”
“Although the “crime/fraud exemption” allows for the attorney-client privilege to be disregarded, it nevertheless offers some first defense. Additionally, it gave Biden authority over the original record of the finding of classified information as well as its discovery.”
The resistance occurs at the same time as Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, has spread a false chronology of events. She misrepresented the search for Biden’s secret materials on Thursday, saying it was finished Wednesday night. When the White House acknowledged that five additional documents had been discovered on Thursday, that timetable was refuted on Saturday.
Additionally, Comer claims that despite his repeated inquiries, neither the White House nor the National Archives nor the Justice Department informed Congress of the infringement.
Biden promised to uphold the “highest standards of transparency” in American history shortly after taking office.
“A recommitment to the highest norms of transparency is required for the regeneration of our national security and foreign policy staff,” the president wrote.