Republicans question why Biden didn’t release classified documents until after the election

Republicans on Tuesday wanted to know why the fact that President Joe Biden had kept secret documents from his time as vice president of his think tank was only exposed after the midterm elections, with one calling it a “cover-up.”

“If you’re covering up before an election,” Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon told reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning, “that’s probably a point that needs to be emphasized.”

He said the fact that the White House didn’t say, “a damn thing, until after the election I look political.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Nebraska)

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and newly installed Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee

Republican Rep. Don Bacon (left) called it a “cover-up,” while Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (right) said, “Maybe the American people should have known about it.”

President Joe Biden

Former President Donald Trump

House Republicans are demanding the Justice Department treat Joe Biden the way they treat Donald Trump

How the Biden documents were discovered

NOVEMBER 2: 10 documents were found while Biden’s lawyers were packing up the DC think tank office to leave.

The files were allegedly in a folder in a locked cabinet, in a box with other unclassified documents.

8 NOVEMBER: Biden and his party are doing better than expected in the midterm elections.

NOVEMBER 18: The Justice Department announces that Jack Smith, former chief prosecutor of the Special Court in The Hague, will lead an investigation into Trump’s storage of classified documents at his Florida home.

JANUARY 9: The Justice Department announces it has launched an investigation into how the classified documents ended up in Biden’s think tank.

Biden says he wasn’t aware secret documents were being held there, and his supporters point out that his own lawyers turned them over – noting that Trump’s team struggled to keep his stash.

The White House announced late Monday that Biden’s attorneys discovered 10 classified documents at his former office at a Washington think tank on Nov. 2.

That was six days before the midterm elections, in which Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives, but not in the landslide that many had predicted.

The announcement of such a discovery would likely have been an election political explosion, similar to the FBI’s announcement in 2016, eleven days before the election, of the discovery of more emails from Hillary Clinton.

The delay in announcing the Biden discovery has sparked anger from the GOP, with many warning they expect the Justice Department to treat Biden the way the agency conducted its investigation into former President Donald Trump and the documents he found in Mar-a -Lago had treated.

GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who is set to become House Speaker, said he plans to send a letter to the National Archives on Tuesday demanding answers.

Comer said he had questions about why the two presidents were being treated differently.

“I wonder if Joe Biden’s home will be searched by the FBI,” he said Tuesday.

He said he was asking the National Archives about the documents held by the two former presidents.

“But we’re just trying to figure out exactly what was going on at both Mar-a-Lago and Biden.”

And Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the new House Judiciary chief, declined to say if he would investigate the matter.

He said on Tuesday his committee is focused on “what the whistleblowers say – talk to us about it just the political nature of the Justice Department.’

He pointed out that the scope could end up being “far-reaching.”

And he said Trump was a victim of a double standard.

“I think everyone sees the double standards there, you know, plus the country found out what happened to President Trump 91 days before the election,” he noted. “That happened a week before the election. We didn’t know about it beforehand.”

The Democrats, meanwhile, reacted cautiously.

“It’s a problem when secret documents are somewhere they shouldn’t be. But we don’t see evidence of willful intent or obstruction of justice, as we see in the case of Donald Trump and Mar-a-Lago,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, who has opposed Trump on many panels.

And Rep. Pete Aguilar accused Republicans of “hypocrisy” and said Biden followed “established process” in handing over the documents as soon as they were discovered.

“The President is handling this as he should,” he said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the US Attorney in Chicago to review 10 files discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, six days before the November midterms

Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the US Attorney in Chicago to review 10 files discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, six days before the November midterms

A photo of the documents seized during the FBI's August 8 search of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home

A photo of the documents seized during the FBI’s August 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home

The documents are dated when Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president.

President Biden and his White House legal team do not know what the documents say, CNN reported.

Biden was unaware the documents were there and was only made aware of them when his personal attorneys notified the White House Attorney’s office.

Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice is investigating the matter and deciding whether to appoint a special counsel, like the one investigating Trump’s hoard of sensitive documents.

Garland has asked the US Attorney in Chicago to review the 10 files discovered by Biden’s personal attorneys at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

Trump was among the many Republicans demanding answers and said Tuesday it was time for Biden to have a special counsel too.

The former president pointed out on Monday that his own home was searched by the FBI because classified documents were being held there.

“When will the FBI raid Joe Biden’s many homes, maybe even the White House? These documents were definitely not declassified,” he wrote on social media.

A special counsel would give the White House some sort of political cover, allowing officials to turn down Republican requests for an investigation by saying the Justice Department was investigating.

Jack Smith, head of the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Division, has been appointed as the special counsel responsible for investigating Trump’s classified documents.

Biden slammed Trump after FBI raid for having classified documents at his private residence in South Florida.

“How could that happen? How could someone be so irresponsible? And I thought, what data was in there that might compromise sources and methods?’ he told CBS’s 60 Minutes. “And it’s just — totally irresponsible.”

Under the Presidential Records Act, all documents from a president’s administration must be turned over to the National Archives — that includes the vice president, as the Biden served at the time.

Spokesman Kevin McCarthy expressed disbelief at the timing of the discovery Monday night.

‘Oh, really? Did you just find her? After all these years?’ he told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“President Trump has never been in office and had just left, came out. Here is an individual [who] spent his last 40 years in office and inherited it from the vice president.’

“It just goes to show that they were trying to be political towards President Trump,” he added.

Biden was in Mexico City Monday for a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and refused to answer shouted questions about how the documents got to the offices.

As the press was ushered out of the boardroom in Mexico City, a reporter called out, “Mr. President, are there any answers to the discovery of classified documents?”

The President didn’t respond.

Classified materials included some top-secret files called sensitive compartmentalized information, also known as SCI, which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources.

The White House special counsel said in a statement Monday, ‘The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Justice Department in the discovery of what appears to be Obama-Biden administrative records, including a small number of documents bearing classified markings.’

The office said the documents were in a “locked office” and the National Archives retrieved them the day after they were discovered.

Biden used this Washington DC office from 2017 until the start of the 2020 presidential campaign. His attorneys packed it up as they prepared to vacate the space.

It’s unclear what the classified documents contain, but their discovery follows last year’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and comes as Republicans begin their investigation into the Biden family.

“The documents were not the subject of any previous inquiry or investigation by the Archives,” White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber said in the statement. “Since this discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have been working with the archives and the Justice Department to ensure that all Obama-Biden administration documents are properly in the archives.”

The White House emphasized that Biden’s lawyers found the documents and immediately turned them over to the archives.

In Trump’s case, the archives found that documents from his administration were missing and requested their return.

Trump eventually turned over 15 boxes of materials to the agency, which discovered classified documents underneath. When federal investigators suspected the former president was keeping more documents, they obtained a judge’s permission to search Mar-a-Lago.

This search took place in August and yielded additional documents. Republicans question why Biden didn’t release classified documents until after the election

Emma Colton

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