The White House insisted yet again on Wednesday that it has been ‘transparent’ about President Joe Biden‘s handling of classified documents amid intense scrutiny over the timeline of its disclosures.
It comes after the White House Counsel’s Office confirmed that same morning that the FBI was searching Biden’s holiday home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware for more secret files.
The search turned up no new pages. As many as 30 have reportedly been found across Biden’s main private residence in Wilmington and a Washington, DC think tank where he previously held a private office.
But the quick disclosure of that FBI action stands in stark contrast to the months-long delay in revealing that the bureau also searched the Penn Biden Center in mid-November, after the first batch of classified files was found there earlier that same month.
That FBI search was not revealed until Tuesday of this week.
Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office, was asked by reporters why today’s search was made known so quickly but the Penn Biden Center operation was kept secret.
White House Counsel’s Office spokesman Ian Sams fielded questions from reporters on Wednesday, hours after the FBI searched President Joe Biden’s Rehoboth Beach holiday home for more classified documents
‘Do the American people have a right to know about that?’ ABC correspondent Mary Bruce asked.
‘Yeah, I think we’ve been pretty transparent from the very beginning with providing information as it occurs throughout this process,’ Sams said.
‘You know, we have released probably thousands of words of statements from the President’s personal attorney in the White House Counsel’s Office about the process that has been undertaken here — that process that has been fully coordinated with the Justice Department as they conduct an ongoing investigation.’
Pressed again on the delay, Sams said, ‘With regards to that specific question, I don’t have anything to add for you right now.’
‘I think it’s probably more appropriate — that question, specifically, about something that happened a few months ago — be asked to the Justice Department,’ he added.
The National Archives, which was first alerted about the original batch of documents by Biden’s private lawyers on November 2, was prevented from notifying the public that classified files had been found at the DC think tank at the time.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman James Comer claimed on Tuesday night that the only two entities that could have given the order are the White House and the Department of Justice – putting the onus on either Biden or Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The National Archives prepared a press release to notify the public of the discovery, but was stopped from issuing it, Comer claimed.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky (pictured) said Tuesday that the National Archives was blocked from releasing a prepared statement on the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. in early November
‘There are only two people that could have given those orders, and that’s either the Department of Justice with Merrick Garland or the White House with Joe Biden,’ the Kentucky Republican told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening.
‘So, it shows right there that this Department of Justice and this White House is interfering with this,’ he added.
The latest revelation comes after Comer’s panel conducted a lengthy interview with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) general counsel Gary Stern.
Stern informed the Oversight Committee that he couldn’t tell them who gave the order not to release the statement.
Comer noted yet another double-standard in the process of classified documents between the case involving Biden and the one involving former President Donald Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago residence was raided by the FBI in August after he had failed to return presidential documents to the National Archives following multiple requests.
‘If you go on the National Archives website, there’s pages and pages of press releases and information about the FBI raid into Mar-a-Lago and Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents,’ Comer said. ‘But there’s nothing on the website about Joe Biden.’
New information about Biden’s case also emerged Tuesday, indicating the discovery of documents wasn’t as much of a cooperative process as previously indicated.
FBI investigators searched Biden’s DC think tank office days after the president’s lawyer identified classified material there.
New revelations emerged Tuesday that FBI agents had searched the Penn Biden office for classified material back in November – a detail previously unknown despite the administration insisting ‘transparency’ through the whole process
The White House and the Justice Department did not disclose the search, which was reported by CBS News, despite the White House’s claim of ‘transparency’ over the rolling discoveries of classified material.
It was not immediately known if any additional documents marked classified were uncovered during the search, which took place in mid-November.
Days before the midterm elections, a Biden attorney discovered 10 documents marked ‘classified,’ then contacted the National Archives, which alerted the Justice Department.
Comer demanded the Archives come before the Oversight Committee to shed some clarity on the documents saga after the classified materials were found at Trump, Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence’s private residences and offices.
Stern was grilled by lawmakers Tuesday for more than three hours in a transcribed interview with Comer and his panel, as Democrat and Republican lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of detail and transparency from the administration on the matter.
In the Democrat-controlled Senate, the Intelligence Committee has lamented that they have not been able to review the documents, yet the press keeps releasing information regarding the materials found in the searches.
While Republicans and Democrats lamented about ‘stonewalling’ from the Justice Department, members of the Oversight panel claim that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines is blocking the release of key details until the agency has concluded its investigation.
The FBI search at the Penn Biden center in Washington, D.C. came days after the initial document discovery in November
The FBI then carried out a search of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, where more classified materials were discovered in the president’s garage and library
The same garage is home to Biden’s beloved classic Corvette Stingray
News of the FBI search comes as the Biden administration faces new pressure from Democrats to disclose the contents of classified material found at his home and office.
The White House had fielded questions last week about whether such a search might happen this past weekend, when Biden was at Camp David and in Wilmington, but there are no indications it happened.
‘There has not been a limit of transparency,’ White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said earlier this month during a particularly feisty White House press briefing.
The repeated disclosures come after months of reporting on Donald Trump’s own resistance to government demands to return documents – and the FBI’s discovery under a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago of hundreds of documents marked ‘classified.’
Former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod is among prominent Democrats who have called out the Biden White House for insufficient transparency, in an op-ed where he faulted the team for violating a mantra of crisis communications to ‘fully disclose all the facts’ as quickly as possible.
The president has faced repeated questions about the documents
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk