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DOJ 'actively working' to brief senators on Biden and Trump classified documents

In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Justice Department said it is working to provide information to lawmakers about the potential risks to national security.
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department building
Attorney General Merrick Garland at a news conference at the Justice Department on Tuesday.Stefani Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has told the Senate Intelligence Committee it is “actively working” to brief lawmakers about the potential risks to national security after classified documents were discovered in President Joe Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s possession, according to a letter shared by a source familiar with the matter.

In the letter, which was sent Saturday to Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chair and vice chair of the committee, Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote: “We are working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to support the provision of information that will satisfy the Committee’s responsibilities without harming the ongoing Special Counsel investigations.

“Although one of the Special Counsels was appointed only on January 12, prosecutors on both matters are actively working to enable sharing information with the Committee,” Uriarte added, referring to the two special counsels appointed to oversee separate probes of the Biden and Trump documents cases.

CBS News first reported the letter.

Warner and Rubio requested a damage assessment, as well as details about the substance of the documents, after the FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Senators of both parties voiced frustration after they left a closed-door briefing last week with National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, who declined to show them copies of the classified documents discovered at Trump’s Florida resort and Biden’s office and Delaware home.

Haines also declined to discuss the sensitive material, citing ongoing special counsel investigations, according to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who attended the classified briefing.

In a joint appearance Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation,” Warner and Rubio called for immediate document oversight.

“We are united in we have to find a way to do our job. That means we need these documents,” Warner said. “We’re not interested in the timeline, the ticktock, the who-got-what, who-did-that.”

The Justice Department this month informed Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, that it was unable to share information about “pending investigations,” which include the dual special counsel probes into the handling of the classified documents. Jordan this month announced the committee had opened an investigation into the Obama-era classified documents found in Biden's possession.

CORRECTION (Jan. 29, 2023, 6:15 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when the Justice Department informed Rep. Jim Jordan it was unable to share information about “pending investigations.” It was Jan. 20, not last week.