The White House and Secret Service said Monday they do not keep visitor logs for President Joe Biden’s personal home in Wilmington, Delaware, a day after a top House Republican called for their release.
“Like any president in the decades of modern history, his personal whereabouts are personal,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the standard and tradition of keeping White House visitor logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration had terminated them.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., sent a letter on Sunday asking White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain for the visitor logs while the Justice Department and House Republicans investigated Biden’s dealings with secret documents from his time as vice president in the Obama campaign. administration. The White House acknowledged on Saturday that more pages of secret markings had been discovered in Biden’s Delaware home than previously disclosed.
In his letter to Klain, Comer said, “Given the grave implications for national security, the White House must provide the Wilmington residence visitor log.”
Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi echoed the White House: “We don’t keep our own visitor logs independently because it’s a private residence.” He added that while the Secret Service does conduct background checks on those who come into contact with the Bidens at their homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, it only retains such records for a limited time.
Guglielmi said the agency would cooperate with any congressional request for information.
On Saturday, the White House said additional pages marked as classified by the Obama administration had been found at Biden’s residence in Wilmington, in addition to the two batches revealed earlier this week. Those documents were found in a Washington, D.C., office he previously used, the garage at his Wilmington residence, and a room off the garage. The slow trickle has fueled critics of the president, while allies expressed concern that the issue was not being addressed quickly.
Biden is frustrated with the backlash he has faced and feels the response to the news has not been handled well, three sources familiar with the matter said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland last week appointed special counsel, Robert Hur, to oversee the investigation. The House Judiciary Committee, now headed by Ohio’s Jim Jordan in the new GOP majority House, also announced Friday that it had opened an investigation.
Hur’s nomination means that both Biden and former President Donald Trump will face special council investigations into their handling of classified materials after they leave office. Guglielmi said Monday that the Trump Organization is monitoring the comings and goings at Trump Tower in New York City and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, to which the Secret Service has access.
Biden’s allies have argued that his case differs drastically from those surrounding Trump — primarily because Biden returned documents after they were discovered, while Trump failed to fully comply with a subpoena and withheld some documents, prompting authorities to execute a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August.
“I mean, it’s completely different now,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” adding that Biden, unlike Trump, “somehow doesn’t magically say when he thinks about classified documents so he can release them.”
“They will not defy subpoenas or require FBI raids to get the documents,” she added.
In an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union,” Comer was pressed for why his committee focused on Biden’s documents but not Trump’s.
“I don’t feel like we should be spending a whole lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have been doing that for the past six years,” said Comer, who wrote to the White House on Friday asking whether Biden’s son Hunter Biden have had access to classified materials in the president’s residence.
Comer told TBEN News on Monday he wondered if the Secret Service has records of comings and goings at Biden’s residence.
“You would assume the Secret Service would vet people who were allowed into the premises of the President of the United States,” he said. “So, you know, there are other areas we’re going to look at”.
The White House issued an additional statement later Monday, saying House Republicans “have no credibility.”
“Their demands should be met with skepticism and they themselves should question why they are politicizing this issue and admit that they don’t actually care about the underlying classified material,” said Sams, adding: “President Biden is doing the right thing and is fully cooperating to a major overhaul, but House Republicans are playing politics in a blatantly hypocritical attempt to attack President Biden.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com