U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan demanded the Justice Department turn over materials related to the case on Friday, launching an investigation into President Joe Biden’s handling of secret documents.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from Champaign County, a Republican, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday, requesting all correspondence and documents related to the matter between the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Executive Office of the President. He also requested information on the appointment of Robert Hur as special counsel to look into the presence of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president at his Denton, Texas, home.
“The American people deserve openness and accountability from our most senior executive branch law enforcement personnel,” the letter, which sets a deadline of January 27 for turning over the papers, states.
Biden administration officials have received inquiries from several legislative panels, including the House Select Committee on Intelligence, where Dayton’s Mike Turner is the top Republican, regarding the materials.
The Justice Department’s knowledge of the existence of the records and whether it actively hid the information prior to the 2022 election are both unknown, according to the letter Jordan and Louisiana Republican Rep. Mike Johnson wrote.
The Justice Department’s handling of the situation differs from how it handled the effort to recover sensitive documents from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last summer, the report adds. It also notes that it is unclear what communications the Justice Department has had with Biden regarding his improper handling of classified information.
The letter informs Garland that his department failed to adequately respond to earlier requests Jordan made for documents and information relating to the FBI’s search of Trump’s residence. “On August 8, 2022, despite the publicly available evidence of President Trump’s voluntary cooperation, you personally approved the decision to seek a warrant for excessive and unprecedented access to his private residence,” the letter claims.
Hur, a former U.S. attorney in Maryland, was chosen by Garland on Thursday to look into any unauthorized removal or storage of classified records that may have been found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, D.C., as well as in the garage of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
The appointment “underscores for the public the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive areas, and to making judgments unambiguously informed solely by the facts and the law,” according to a statement from Garland.
According to a statement released on Thursday by Richard Sauber, Biden’s special counsel, the White House is working closely with the Justice Department and the National Archives to make sure that materials from the Obama-Biden administration “are appropriately in control of the Archives.”
According to the statement, Biden’s attorneys inspected his homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, after government documents were found at the Penn Biden Center in November 2022 because they could have been transferred there when he left office as vice president in 2017.
In response to the discovery of both sets of records, it was stated that “the Department of Justice was immediately alerted, and the attorneys arranged for the Department of Justice to take ownership of these documents.
The statement went on to say that the White House would keep helping the Department of Justice with its investigation.
the appointment of a special counsel to look into how Biden’s sensitive records were handled demonstrates Garland’s “commitment to avoiding even the perception of politicization at the Justice Department,” according to Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat.
He noted that the Biden team’s choice to release the National Archives the papers they found right away stood in “stark contrast to former President Trump’s persistent attempts to impede efforts to recover hundreds of classified documents.
“Special Counsel Robert Hur is a distinguished prosecutor, having served as a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney who was confirmed on a bipartisan basis,” said Durbin in a statement. As the Special Counsel begins his inquiry, “I trust that the Justice Department will maintain its professional, unbiased approach.”
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