WASHINGTON — Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic chairman of the Intelligence Committee, chided the Biden administration on Wednesday for a lack of information about classified documents found in the homes of current and former presidents.
“This is where the Biden administration gets an absolute miss,” Warner said in MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. “Your position is outrageous.”
Lawmakers have increasingly criticized administration officials for ignoring requests to know about the classified documents.
Warner and other lawmakers have asked to see what documents were found, a request that was blocked.
“We have a constitutional responsibility to look at these documents — the classified ones — to assess whether the intelligence community has provided adequate protection, and if those documents fall into the wrong hands, what type of damage control we might take,” Warner said . “And I’m done with the administration’s unwillingness to address this.”
He added: “Your position fails the smell test.”
Prior to his comments Wednesday, Warner spoke to Lisa Monaco, an assistant attorney general who confirmed his office. It described the conversation as “candid but open”. The source at his office added that changes to their conversation are expected.
Hundreds of document pages with classified marks were recovered from Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s home and private club in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump refused to release the documents in response to a subpoena.
Months later, a handful of documents were found in an office used by President Joe Biden prior to his election. Subsequent searches of his apartments further documents created. Biden has complied with requests from federal officials to search for these documents.
Also, a handful of records were found at the home of former Vice President Mike Pencewho also complied with a search request following the discovery of the Biden and Trump documents.
Warner, who said his demands were not partisan, suggested he could issue a subpoena to get the information.
“You know, if this was the Trump administration — and that’s not a Democrat thing, Republican — then every Democratic member of the intelligence community is outraged by the administration’s unsustainable position,” Warner said. “I join my fellow Republicans and my fellow Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives. This position cannot stand, and chasing it is outrageous. We have a job to do. And if we don’t make it through a negotiation process with them, we’ll use other tools.”
A special counsel is investigating the documents found in Trump’s home in addition to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol and efforts to overturn the 2020 election. A separate special counsel is examining the documents found in Biden’s possession.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that his office is working to make the information available to lawmakers.
“We must balance the concerns of ongoing criminal investigations, but we also recognize the committee’s oversight responsibilities and duties, and we intend to develop an agreement that addresses those interests,” Garland said. “We have been working towards this with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. And we’ve made quite a bit of progress lately. And we expect further progress.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com
Source : news.yahoo.com