House Oversight Committee investigating classified documents found at Biden's office

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(WASHINGTON) — The new chair of the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday notified the White House that his panel is investigating President Joe Biden’s handling of classified records from Biden’s time as vice president — some of which were found in November at an office Biden had used in Washington, D.C.

In a letter to White House counsel Stuart Delery, obtained by ABC News, Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky asked the White House to provide all documents that were retrieved from Biden’s personal office.

The Oversight Committee is also seeking a list of those who had access to Biden’s office; all documents related to the handling of classified documents, including by Biden’s lawyers, and the status of their security clearance; and all documents between the White House, the Department of Justice and the National Archives and Record Administration, Comer wrote.

He asked for those documents by Jan. 23.

His letter was not accompanied by a subpoena.

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“The Committee is concerned that President Biden has compromised sources and methods with his own mishandling of classified documents,” Comer wrote.

He also wrote to NARA’s acting archivist, Debra Steidel Wall, asking for similar materials.

In his letters, Comer compared Biden’s handling of sensitive documents to former President Donald Trump, whom federal authorities have said took classified records back to his Florida home after leaving the White House in 2021.

Court records show that the government engaged in a lengthy dispute with Trump in order to retrieve the classified and sensitive records he took with him, with FBI agents ultimately searching Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in August. He denies wrongdoing.

Comer told CNN in November that it “will not be a priority” for the Oversight Committee to look at Trump’s handling of documents in that case.

Writing to Wall at NARA on Tuesday, Comer took issue with the delay in learning about the documents found at Biden’s office, suggesting it “raises questions about political bias at the agency.”

ABC News and other outlets reported on Monday that the DOJ has launched a preliminary review of the matter — some two months after Biden’s attorneys say they first discovered the records at his personal office and notified NARA.

Comer requested that his committee staff be able to interview the NARA general counsel, Gary Stern, and its director of congressional affairs, John Hamilton, by Jan. 17.

“The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings,” Richard Sauber, a special counsel to Biden, said in a statement on Monday.

Sauber said the documents were found on Nov. 2 and NARA was notified by the White House on the same day, then took possession of them on Nov. 3.

Sauber said the documents were found by Biden’s personal attorneys while they were “packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space” at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Biden Center in Washington. “The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives,” Sauber said.

Biden told reporters on Tuesday in Mexico, while meeting with North American leaders, that he doesn’t know what is in the records and was “surprised to learn” they were found there.

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