White House still stonewalling questions from House and Senate over Biden mishandling of classified documents

March 22, 2023
Ben Marquis

The White House has been credibly accused by both Republicans and Democrats alike of deliberately stonewalling and refusing to answer legitimate questions with regard to President Joe Biden's apparent mishandling of classified documents from his years as a senator and vice president.

Biden's White House has been particularly reticent to disclose information requested by the House Oversight Committee about the more than two-month delay between the initial discovery of documents in Biden's possession in November and the first public disclosure that followed a leak-based news report in January, Breitbart reported.

The White House is continuing to refuse to disclose the information sought by Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), though it did recently insist that it did not direct the National Archives and Records Administration to remain silent about the developing classified documents scandal.

Who suppressed the NARA statement, and why the long delay?

On March 7, Chairman Comer sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients to demand answers to allegations that the White House had suppressed an initial statement from NARA that had been drafted in reaction to the Jan. 9 CBS News report that first revealed that classified documents had been found in President Biden's possession in early November.

That allegation stemmed from revelations of a drafted but unreleased statement on Jan. 9 during a Jan. 31 transcribed interview of the committee with NARA General Counsel Grant Stern, who indicated that "someone outside of NARA withheld its release from the public," according to Comer, as well as that there was nothing stopping the Biden White House from voluntarily releasing its communications records.

In the letter to Zients, Comer wrote, "The Committee has previously written the White House regarding this matter on January 10, 2023; January 13, 2023; and January 15, 2023. However, the White House has produced no documents and neglected to provide a substantive response to the Committee’s requests."

"Meanwhile, reports indicate the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues its search for more classified documents, most recently at the University of Delaware. The Committee is concerned about President Biden’s lack of transparency given the serious national security implications of his conduct," he continued.

As for Stern's testimony, Comer wrote, "Indeed, the Committee learned that President Biden is 'free to release' all of his representatives’ communications and be completely transparent with the American people, if he chooses," and added, "The Committee’s transcribed interview with NARA General Counsel Gary Stern raises more questions regarding the Biden Administration’s involvement in suppressing information related to President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents."

White House denial and continued stonewalling

Fast-forward two weeks, and Breitbart reported that the White House finally responded to Chairman Comer with a curt reply letter from Richard Sauber, a special counsel to the president, who claimed that "We made clear at the time that the White House did not ask NARA to withhold a statement."

Sauber further perpetuated the stonewalling by insisting the committee seek "information from the relevant agencies in the first instance and request information from the White House thereafter only to the extent necessary" -- even though the Justice Department has remained tightlipped due to ongoing investigations and other agencies, like NARA, have simply referred questions back to the DOJ and White House in a loop of non-answers.

"The White House’s lack of transparency about President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents is alarming. President Biden is free to release all communications related this matter, but he refuses to do so," Comer told Breitbart in a statement about the response letter. "The Oversight Committee will continue to pursue transparency and accountability for the American people."

Even Senate Dems are upset at the stonewalling

Interestingly enough, it isn't just House Oversight Republicans who have complained about the Biden White House's stonewalling with regard to the classified documents scandal, as The Washington Times reported that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) is equally perturbed and frustrated by the concerted and deliberate lack of transparency.

Sen. Warner and others, including ranking member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), first spoke out in January, according to the Associated Press, about how the White House was refusing to provide access or information about the classified documents found to be in the possession of President Biden, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Warner told reporters Monday that "The administration’s position is untenable," that his committee had every right to see the classified documents at the center of the scandalous mishandling, that they deserved to know if action had been taken to "mitigate" future mishandling, and that "responsibility lies at the Department of Justice" to cease the stonewalling.

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