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Press Release Published: Jan 10, 2023

Comer Demands Answers from NARA and Biden White House About Classified Docs Stashed at Penn Biden Center

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) is requesting information from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the White House Counsel’s Office about President Biden’s failure to return highly classified records from his time as vice president. The documents were discovered in an unsecure closet at the Biden Penn Center. Chairman Comer is concerned that NARA’s inconsistent application of the Presidential Records Act and treatment of classified records held by former President Trump and President Biden raise questions about potential political bias at the agency.

In the letter to Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall, Chairman Comer requests NARA provide all documents and communications between NARA, the White House, the Department of Justice, and President Biden’s attorneys related to the classified documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center. He also requests transcribed interviews with NARA employees. In the letter to White House Counsel Stuart Delery, Chairman Comer requests documents and information related to the White House’s handling of this matter.

Key Excerpts from the letter to NARA:

“For months, NARA failed to disclose to Committee Republicans or the American public that President Biden—after serving as Vice President—stored highly classified documents in a closet at his personal office. 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. Meanwhile, NARA instigated a public and unprecedented FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago—former President Trump’s home—to retrieve presidential records. NARA’s inconsistent treatment of recovering classified records held by former President Trump and President Biden raises questions about political bias at the agency,” wrote Chairman Comer.

Key Excerpts from the letter to Biden White House Counsel’s:

“The President has previously called the mishandling of presidential records ‘totally irresponsible.’  Recent reports reveal that classified documents in the custody of then-Vice President Biden were discovered in a closet at a Washington, D.C. office. The Committee requests documents and information related to the White House’s handling of this matter … The Committee is concerned that President Biden has compromised sources and methods with his own mishandling of classified documents. Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Justice and NARA have made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority. President Biden has claimed he was not going to ‘get myself in the middle of whether or not the Justice Department should move or not move on certain actions they could take.’ The Committee expects President Biden will receive equal treatment under the law given that he maintained classified documents in his unsecured office for several years with access to an unknown number of people,” wrote Chairman Comer.

The letter to Acting Archivist Steidel Wall can be found here.

The letter to White House Counsel Stuart Delery can be found here.