Tennessee U.S. Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07) questioned details surrounding the search and discovery of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., as well as more recently-discovered documents at Biden’s Delaware residence.
The two-term congressman was elected the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security by his colleagues at the beginning of the session, edging out Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02).
On Sunday, Green questioned why Biden’s personal attorneys were searching for additional documents, tweeting, “OK, I give up. Why wHY WHY are Biden’s “personal attorneys,” WHO HAVE NO SECURITY CLEARANCE, searching for additional classified documents INSTEAD OF THE FBI!!?”
OK, I give up. Why wHY WHY are Biden’s “personal attorneys,” WHO HAVE NO SECURITY CLEARANCE, searching for additional classified documents INSTEAD OF THE FBI!!?
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) January 15, 2023
Word of documents with classified markings in Biden’s personal possession from his time as vice president first made headlines January 10, but the discovery was known by Department of Justice officials since before the midterm elections in November 2022.
Just the News reported:
When Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Nov. 18 that he had named a special prosecutor to investigate former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents found at the Mar-a-Lago compound, the government harbored a fresh secret: The current president, Joe Biden, had a similar problem.
Just two weeks earlier, Biden’s lawyers disclosed to government lawyers on Nov. 2 — just six days before the midterm elections — that they had found sensitive government documents with classified markings inside an office that Biden used at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington after he left office as Barack Obama’s vice president.
The public was kept in the dark about the startling discovery until Monday, when the White House confirmed it was cooperating with an investigation launched by the Justice Department at the request of the same National Archives that has tussled with Trump over the last year.
The belated disclosure turned the political tables on Biden, who sharply criticized Trump for his document debacle last fall, while also raising troubling new questions that will need to be answered by a U.S. Attorney in Illinois and Congress.
After finding the first page of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center on November 2, Biden’s personal lawyers, who did not have security clearance, say they stopped their search and contacted authorities. Then, Biden’s personal attorneys continued to search for documents at Biden’s Delaware residence. It remains unclear as to exactly why the attorneys sought to handle such material.
A statement by Special Counsel to the President Richard Sauber that was emailed to Mediaite said, in part:
President Biden’s personal attorneys have followed a process, coordinated with the Archives and the Department of Justice, to review documents at the Penn Biden Center and the President’s Delaware residences. The President’s personal attorneys conducting the searches do not have active security clearances, so if they identified a document with a classified marking, they stopped and did not review it, and suspended any further search in that box, file or other specific space where the document was found, as appropriate. Since the DOJ made contact with the President’s personal attorneys, the next step in the process was to notify DOJ and to arrange for DOJ to take possession of the document. This is what occurred in Wilmington on Wednesday when the President’s personal attorneys discovered one document with a classified marking consisting of one page in a room adjacent to the garage. At that point, the President’s personal attorneys stopped searching the immediate area where the document was found.
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he appointed a special counsel to investigate the classified documents and circumstances surrounding Biden’s possession of them.
Garland’s announcement came just hours after the White House confirmed that a second set of classified documents were discovered in Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware garage and two days before attorneys found five more pages with classified markings in the Delaware residence.
Possibly complicating matters, RealClearPolitics reported that then-Vice President Biden’s embattled son Hunter had access to that area of the Wilmington home where the additional documents were found:
The White House has not revealed who, other than Biden himself, had access to the documents found in Delaware or the classified intelligence discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
But his son Hunter Biden, who is under federal criminal investigation for tax fraud and whom House Republicans plan to subpoena in regard to his foreign business dealings, did have access to the garage. At least, according to earlier statements made by Biden.
As vice president in 2016, Biden and his Corvette appeared in the season premiere of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage.” Showing off the classic that was a wedding present from his father, Biden told Leno that his sons had restored the vehicle to showroom condition.
“My two sons, Beau, who passed away, and my son Hunter decided as a Christmas gift to have the engine rebuilt for me,” he explained.
Although the administration has promised transparency, the White House has not answered questions about how the classified intelligence made its way into the Biden family home in Delaware or the president’s private office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, new reporting by The Pennsylvania Daily Star shows that at the time the classified documents were at the Penn Biden Center, the 13,000+ square foot facility hosted a number of interns from the university since its opening in 2017.
As of late Monday, Green’s tweet garnered 1.3 million views, 52,300 likes, and 14,800 retweets.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.