The new chair of the House Oversight Committee has accused the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) of stonewalling the GOP-led probe into President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents.
In what is fast becoming a crisis of credibility for Biden, the White House said Saturday that another five pages of classified documents were found on Thursday at Biden’s Delaware home, which is in addition to sensitive materials found in December in the president’s garage and in November at his former offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington.
Biden said he was “surprised” by the discovery of the documents and both he and his allies have insisted they’ve cooperated with NARA and the Justice Department over the materials, while Republicans have launched a probe into the matter.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, said in a post on Twitter late Sunday that the National Archives has yet to provide a “simple briefing” to the committee on its handling of classified documents after Comer sent a letter to the agency nearly a week ago requesting information and documents.
“The Archives isn’t being transparent with the American people,” Comer wrote in the post.
“So many questions remain unanswered,” he continued. “I will use the power of the gavel to get answers.”
NARA did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
In his post, Comer also shared an interview he gave to Fox News on Sunday, in which he expounded on NARA’s apparent stonewalling.
“The administration never told the American people, the National Archives never briefed me or the then-chairperson of the House Oversight Committee, as they’re supposed to, when something like this happens,” he told the outlet.
Comer told Fox News in a separate interview on Saturday that not only has NARA not given a briefing to the Oversight Committee “even though we’ve requested one,” but “they have not answered any of our simple requests for information.”
It comes after Comer on Friday vowed “swift” congressional oversight into the Biden classified document fiasco while taking aim at NARA for failing “to promptly inform Congress and the American people about mishandled classified documents from Joe Biden’s time as vice president.”
The White House faces mounting criticism for not disclosing the find of the Biden-linked documents until two months after their discovery on Nov. 2—a week before the midterm elections—and even then the Biden administration only publicly acknowledged the materials after media outlets broke the story.
In a Jan. 10 letter to NARA’s Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall (pdf), Comer requested a range of documents and information about the Biden-linked materials to be provided “as soon as possible” but no later than Jan. 24.
Comer requested all related documents and communications between NARA and the White House, among NARA employees, between NARA and the Department of Justice, and between NARA and any outside entities, including Biden’s attorneys.
A spokesperson for NARA told The Epoch Times at the time that the agency had received Comer’s letter but had no further comment.
In the letter to Steidel, the Kentucky Republican also raised the question of “political bias” at the agency over what he described as “inconsistent treatment of recovering classified records” held by Biden and former President Donald Trump.
“NARA learned about these documents days before the 2022 midterm elections and did not alert the public that President Biden was potentially violating the law,” he wrote.
“Meanwhile, NARA instigated a public and unprecedented FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago—former President Trump’s home—to retrieve presidential records.”
Comer also said this disparate treatment “raises questions about political bias at the agency.”
Besides seeking the series of documents as outlined in his letter to Steidel, Comer has also demanded that the White House turn over all information related to its searches that have uncovered classified Biden-linked documents.
The White House has not responded to requests for comment from The Epoch Times on the classified document discoveries.
From surfacing in a locked closet in a Washington think tank to being discovered in the president’s garage where he keeps his classic Corvette, the classified documents have sparked public interest and drawn legal scrutiny.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to investigate the case, while Republicans have alleged a two-tiered justice system where Trump—who faces his own classified document probe—is seen as being treated more harshly than Biden.
Biden said he was “surprised” to learn that the classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center, adding that he’s not aware of what the materials contained—and that his attorneys advised him not to ask.