Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and newly appointed House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), alleged a potential political double standard in how classified documents are handled after a White House attorney revealed that potentially classified documents were discovered in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center.
On Monday evening, Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber revealed that documents with classified markings were discovered on Nov. 2, 2022, just days before the 2022 midterm election. Sauber said White House lawyers alerted the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) immediately after their discovery, and NARA took possession of those documents the following morning. Sauber first publicly revealed the discovery of these classified documents at the Penn Biden Center on Monday, Jan. 9, more than two months after they were turned over to NARA.
McCarthy and Comer directly related the discovery of these potentially classified documents at the Penn Biden Center to the discovery of potentially classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence after an FBI search of the Florida property in August.
Now with the discovery of potentially classified documents at the Penn Biden Center, McCarthy said “the Dems overplayed their hand” in their response to the documents FBI agents found after searching Mar-a-Lago.
The new House Speaker, who garnered support from Trump during his contentious speaker bid, went on to say that the documents found at the Penn Biden Center had existed outside of NARA’s possession for longer than the documents that were recovered from Trump’s home.
Biden’s term as vice president ended in 2017. The Penn Biden Center is an office space in Washington that Biden set up with the University of Pennsylvania after the Obama administration ended. Documents Biden carried over from the White House to the Penn Biden Center could have existed outside of NARA’s knowledge for nearly six years.
“President Trump had never been in office before and had just left, came out,” McCarthy said, according to Fox News. “Here’s an individual [who] spent his last 40 years in office and still had this from the vice president. It just shows that they were trying to be political to President Trump.”
After a reporter asked if there is a difference between the Trump and Biden cases, given that Biden’s team handed the documents they found over to NARA soon after their discovery, McCarthy said, “Oh really? They just now found them? After all these years?”
Sauber has said attorneys for Biden found the classified documents while they were “packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space.”
Comer Says Document Discovery Furthers ‘Two-Tier’ Justice System Concerns
In comments to the press on Monday night, Comer said the handling of the documents at the Penn Biden Center was in notable contrast to the FBI’s raid of Trump’s home last summer.
“Is the White House going to be raided tonight?” Comer asked, according to Fox News. “Are they going to raid the Biden center? I don’t know.”
“This is further concern that there’s a two-tier justice system within the DOJ with how they treat Republicans vs. Democrats . . . certainly how they treat the former president vs. the current president,” Comer added.
Comer said that in his research after the August FBI search of Trump’s home, he found that “every president had accidentally packed documents that may or may not be considered classified,” adding, “but they weren’t raided.”
Comer noted that Biden “has stated that taking classified documents from the White House is ‘irresponsible,’” and that Comer said the Biden-era Department of Justice and NARA “have made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority.” As such, Comer said, “We expect the same treatment for President Biden, who has apparently inappropriately maintained classified documents in an insecure setting for several years.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed U.S. Attorney John Lausch to investigate the discovery of the classified documents at the Penn Biden center, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke with Politico. Lausch was appointed to his position as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois by Trump.
Comer’s comments about these documents come as he and other Republicans, who now control the House of Representatives, have signaled they will conduct new investigations into Biden and his family members.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement that attorneys for Biden “appear to have taken immediate and proper action to notify the National Archives about their discovery of a small handful of classified documents so they could be returned to federal government custody. ”
“I have confidence that the Attorney General took the appropriate steps to ensure the careful review of the circumstances surrounding the possession and discovery of these documents and [will] make an impartial decision about any further action that may be needed,” Raskin added.
From NTD News