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House Oversight chair calls for release of visitor logs from Biden’s Delaware home

Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., asked the White House for additional information after the administration said more classified documents were found in the president's residence.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., at the Capitol on Jan. 9, 2023.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., at the Capitol on Jan. 9.Nathan Howard / Bloomberg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., in a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Sunday, asked for the release of visitors logs from President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware.

Comer's letter came a day after the White House said more classified documents from the Obama administration had been found at the president’s Wilmington residence after two batches of records had been previously disclosed. 

“Given the serious national security implications, the White House must provide the Wilmington residence’s visitor log,” Comer wrote in the letter to Klain. “As Chief of Staff, you are head of the Executive Office of the President and bear responsibility to be transparent with the American people on these important issues related to the White House’s handling of this matter.”

The committee, he wrote, is "concerned" that White House aides and Biden's personal attorney searched the Wilmington home after the Justice Department launched its assessment and is demanding "transparency into whether any individuals with foreign connections to the Biden family gained access to President Biden's residence and the classified documents."

Comer was pressed on why his committee has focused on Biden’s documents but not on former President Donald Trump’s in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. The former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida was searched by the FBI last year following several attempts to obtain the classified documents.

“I don’t feel like we need to spend a whole lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have done that for the past six years,” Comer said.

His letter was issued amid discoveries of Obama-era classified documents in the past week. The White House has confirmed three batches of records have been found thus far: a “small” number in a Washington office Biden used, another set in the garage of his residence and six pages in a room adjacent to the garage.

In a previous letter issued to the White House Friday, Comer asked whether Hunter Biden, the president’s son, could have had access to classified documents found at his Delaware residence. “The Committee is concerned President Biden stored classified documents at the same location his son resided while engaging in international business deals with adversaries of the United States," Comer wrote.

In a statement, Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office said "I would simply refer you to what Congressman Comer himself told CNN Sunday: 'At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn’t the classified documents to be honest with you.' That says it all."

Comer’s latest demand comes days after the House Judiciary Committee, now led by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in the new GOP-majority House, on Friday announced that it had opened an investigation into the Obama-era classified documents found at Biden’s Delaware home and his former Washington office.

Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding all documents and communications between the Justice Department, FBI and the White House about the discovery, as well as information about Garland’s appointment of Robert Hur as special counsel overseeing the case.

Biden allies have stressed that this case differs significantly from the ongoing criminal investigation into Trump's possession of classified records at his Florida home. They say Biden returned the documents once they were discovered, while the former president did not fully comply with a subpoena and withheld some records, prompting a search warrant to be executed at Mar-a-Lago in August.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., drew a distinction between Biden and Trump’s special counsel investigation.

“I mean, it’s totally different right now," Stabenow said, noting that unlike Trump, Biden "isn’t saying that somehow magically when he thinks about classified documents that he can declassify them."

The president is cooperating with the Justice Department and National Archives amid the discovery of the classified documents, she said. "They’re not going to defy subpoenas or require FBI raids to be able to get the documents."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called Comer’s request “completely hypocritical” during an interview on ABC News' "This Week" Sunday.

He said Congress should handle Biden's and Trump’s cases the same way, including briefings from the intelligence community about any potential risks to national security about where classified documents were kept, but lawmakers “shouldn’t try to interfere with the investigations.”

“I think, sadly, that’s what Mr. Comer’s object is," Schiff said. "He showed no interest in investigating the far more serious situation with about 100 classified documents at Mar-a-Lago with evidence in the public domain of obstruction. Now he is suddenly interested in investigating President Biden."

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the oversight committee, said Comer’s request shouldn’t turn into a “political football.

"People who are saying there was no problem with what Donald Trump did, which was to defiantly reject any cooperation in turning over hundreds of classified documents, are upset about President Biden’s voluntary and rapid turnover of a handful of documents that they found,” Raskin said, adding that he hopes the committee will “keep a sense of symmetry about our analysis of these situations and a sense of proportion about the underlying offenses.”