President Joe Biden’s former executive assistant who helped pack up materials at his private office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington testified that she did not come across any documents marked classified, according to a memo released Wednesday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.
The GOP-led Oversight Committee last month interviewed Kathy Chung, who worked for Biden when he was vice president and helped pack up the contents of his office in January 2017 during the transition, as part of its investigation into the discovery last year of classified documents in Biden’s home and office.
In the memo, first reported by CNN, House Democrats said they felt compelled to release part of the transcript of Chung’s testimony because committee chair James Comer, R-Ky., mischaracterized her testimony in a way that did not reflect what she shared in her transcribed interview.
Democrats raised concerns over Comer’s assertion in interviews with the media that Chung was given the job based on a recommendation from the president’s son Hunter Biden — a point Chung rebutted during her testimony. They claimed that Republican staff members on the committee admitted that Comer’s assertion was a “mischaracterization” in conversations with Chung’s attorneys.
“For you to say she got the job ‘to help with the Biden family moving documents at the recommendation of Hunter Biden’ and further that you expect to pursue some bizarre notion that Hunter Biden recommended her because of a purported interest in documents indicates to us the real possibility that you do not intend to treat Ms. Chung fairly,” the memo said.
Democrats contended that Comer "amplified baseless, xenophobic, and racist conspiracy theories" of Chung by trying to tie her to the Chinese Communist Party in interviews with Fox News and Newsmax in January. In the memo, they cited a part of Chung's transcribed interview in which she said she does not have any relationship with the party.
Democrats also pushed back against Comer’s suggestion that Chung revealed “startling” information in the interview, citing a part of the transcript where Chung says she did not come across any classified documents.
Comer decided to "cherry-pick and misrepresent critical information in this investigation while refusing to publicly release the full interview transcripts," they said.
Republicans on the Oversight Committee defended Comer's claims and its decision not to release the full transcript in a statement Wednesday.
"Kathy Chung provided valuable information to the Oversight Committee’s investigation of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. Kathy Chung’s testimony undermines the White House’s narrative of the events,” a spokesperson for Republicans on the committee said in a statement.
"We now know the classified documents were not kept in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center as the Biden team has asserted and the timeline for packing up these documents starts six months earlier," the spokesperson added. "We are not releasing the full transcript at this time as it contains sensitive information to this ongoing investigation.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the memo.
Comer launched the committee's investigation after it was revealed in January that a “small number” of classified documents from the Obama administration had been found in a closet at Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center in November, just days before the midterm elections.
The Justice Department found additional documents with classified markings at Biden's Delaware home during a voluntary search.
Attorney General Merrick Garland in January appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to review classified material found in Biden’s possession.