By Trevor Hunnicutt
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden said in an interview aired Sunday that his predecessor Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents was “totally irresponsible” but that he remains outside the investigation.
Seeing the classified documents surfaced from an Aug. 8 FBI investigation at Trump’s Florida residence in Mar-a-Lago, Biden wondered “how could anyone be so irresponsible,” he said in a TBEN interview. program “60 Minutes”.
“I thought, what data was out there that could compromise resources and methods? And by that I mean, names of people who help etc, and it’s just totally irresponsible.”
The comments broke Biden’s pattern of not commenting on the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into his former political rival for potentially bringing ultra-sensitive material into his residence after his term in office ended in January 2021.
Biden, a Democrat, defeated Republican Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump, who has run for office again, has described the court-approved search as politically motivated.
Biden said he had not received a secret briefing on the contents of those documents.
“I have not asked for the details of those documents because I do not want to interfere with whether or not the Justice Department should take certain actions that they can take,” Biden said. “I agreed that I wouldn’t tell them what to do and in fact I wouldn’t tell them how to sue or not.”
The Justice Department has said it is investigating Trump for removing White House records because it believes he was in illegal possession of documents, including some related to intelligence gathering and clandestine human sources — one of America’s most closely kept secrets.
Biden’s intelligence chief is also investigating whether the disclosure of information in those documents posed national security risks.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; editing by Bradley Perrett)