Oversight Committee Asks Why Attorneys Searched Home After Special Counsel Was Appointed

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), House Oversight Committee chairman, asked the White House on Sunday why President Joe Biden’s personal attorneys were continuing to search his home for classified documents after a special counsel was appointed.

On Thursday around 1:30 PM, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor hours before five more classified documents were found Thursday evening at Biden’s Delaware residence by the president’s legal team. The total amount of mishandled materials is about 25 — some of which are top secret.

“The Committee is also concerned White House aides and President Biden’s personal attorneys searched the Wilmington residence knowing that the Department of Justice was already investigating the matter,” Comer said:

On January 5, 2023, Mr. Lausch notified the Attorney General that a special counsel was warranted. That notification still did not dissuade the President’s attorneys from accessing his residence on January 11, 2022, or White House counsel from accessing his residence on January 12, 2022. On January 12, 2022, the Attorney General announced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Hur. Nonetheless, President Biden has returned to Delaware this weekend without any reported law enforcement ever conducting an independent search for classified materials.

The White House has yet to respond to Comer’s question.

The White House has also refused to explain why Biden’s personal attorneys initially searched Biden’s residence and the Biden Penn Center for classified documents.

Jonathan Turley, attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School, has questioned why Biden used his own personal attorneys to search for the classified information.

“It’s strange Biden did not use security officers or the FBI to conduct further searches,” he wrote in the New York Post Monday. “The president has a host of people who regularly handle classified material. So why use the lawyers?:

The answer appears the same as in the case of Hillary Clinton’s emails: control. Using private counsel allows Biden to raise attorney-client privilege. Trump also used counsel, but eventually the FBI raided his home to search and remove not just classified material but documents found in boxes with that material.

While that attorney-client privilege can be overcome under a “crime/fraud exception,” it adds a level of initial protection. It also allowed Biden to control the discovery and initial record of the discovery of classified information.

The stonewalling comes as the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has purveyed a false timeline of events. She falsely claimed Thursday that the search for Biden’s classified documents was completed Wednesday night. That timeline was contradicted Saturday when the White House admitted five more documents had been found Thursday.

Moreover, Comer has stated the White House, National Archives, and the Justice Department have all failed to inform Congress about the violation upon Comer’s repeated requests.

Just after taking office, Biden vowed to maintain the “highest standards of transparency” in United States history.

“The revitalization of our national security and foreign policy workforce requires a recommitment to the highest standards of transparency,” the president wrote.


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