The Decatur Daily Democrat

House GOP demands visitor logs in Biden classified docs case


WASHINGTON — 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


“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.

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