WASHINGTON (TBEN) — Senior Democrats, appalled by a steady stream of startling revelations, on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden’s handling of classified material after he left office as vice president, and expressed disappointment that the White House was not was more open to the public.
Lawmakers who might have anticipated questions about Ukraine’s debt limit or aid when they were booked for Sunday’s news shows last week were questioned this weekend about the latest development in the document drama that has put Biden’s presidency on the defensive: during a A search Friday of Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, the FBI found additional documents with secret markings and seized some of his handwritten notes, the president’s attorney said Saturday.
Biden should be “embarrassed by the situation,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-class Democrat in the Senate, adding that the president had given up moral high ground on an issue that had already baffled former President Donald Trump. has brought. Special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating both cases.
“Yes, of course. Let’s be honest about it. When that information is found, it diminishes the status of any person in possession of it, because it is not meant to happen. … The elected official bears . “ultimate responsibility,” said Durbin.
Sen. Joe Manchin, TBEN.Va., said Biden “should be very sorry. … You might as well say, ‘Listen, it’s irresponsible.'” The president told reporters Thursday that he had “no regrets” about how and when the public learned about the documents and that there were “none there. ”
Despite their criticism, Biden’s fellow Democrats defended what they believe was his collaboration with the Justice Department as the search for additional classified material unfolded. They contrasted it with Trump’s opposition to efforts to recover hundreds of documents after he left office.
“It’s outrageous that either of those happened,” Durbin said. “But the reaction of the former president and the current president couldn’t be more starkly contrasted.”
Biden voluntarily let the FBI into his home on Friday, but the lack of a search warrant did not detract from the extraordinary nature of the search. It compounded the embarrassment for Biden that began earlier in January with the revelation that the president’s lawyers had found a “small number” of classified documents in a former office at Washington’s Penn Biden Center shortly before the Nov. 8 election.
The White House has disclosed that Biden’s team has found classified and official records on three other occasions in recent months — in follow-up searches on December 20 in the garage of his Wilmington home and on January 11 and 12 in his home library. .
The discoveries have become a political liability as Biden prepares to kick off his 2024 reelection bid, undermining his efforts to establish an image of decency with the American public following the tumultuous presidency of his predecessor, Trump.
Manchin slammed both men for handling sensitive security documents. “It’s just hard to believe that in the United States of America we have a former president and a current president who are essentially in the same situation,” he said. “How did this happen?”
At the same time, Democrats are concerned that Biden’s trials have created an opening for newly nominated House Republicans.
“We should be concerned, as this new group that has taken control of the House of Representatives has promised us endless investigations, confrontations, impeachments and mayhem, what is going to happen,” Durbin said.
The new chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said he took Biden at his word when the first set of documents were found. … But now this has gone from being simply irresponsible to downright scary.
The Justice Department says that upon leaving the White House in early 2021, Trump took hundreds of documents marked classified and resisted months-long requests to return them to the administration. Biden willingly handed over the documents once found. But the problem is with Biden and his aides, who have said they acted quickly and appropriately when the documents were discovered, and are working to be as transparent as possible.
Durbin appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Manchin was on CNN and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Comer was interviewed on TBEN News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Seung Min Kim reported from Rehoboth, Delaware.