Tuesday’s White House refusal to answer a question about President Biden’s improper retention of classified documents, was part of an investigation by Special Counsel Robert Hur.
On Nov. 2, 2022, classified records were discovered in the Washington D.C. offices at the Penn Biden think-tank. However, they were only made public last week.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hurt, a former U.S. attorney, as special counsel to investigate the matter. Additional classified documents were also found at the presidential residence over the weekend.
On Tuesday, White House officials spoke with reporters and reiterated their commitment to the Justice Department’s investigation. However, they refused to answer a question about whether Biden would be available for an interview in that probe.
White House Counsel’s Office spokesperson Ian Sams stated Tuesday that “We’re certainly not going to speculate on what he might or may not want,”. “I don’t want to comment on that, and I would refer you to Justice Department regarding that process and their thoughts on how to conduct their inquiry.”
Sams stated that the president takes classified information very seriously and that he had instructed his team to return any classified documents to the government after they were discovered in November.
Sams stated that the president was committed to doing the right thing and handling it appropriately. Sams stated that the White House and Biden’s legal team “acted promptly to disclose the information to the appropriate authorities.”
Sams stated that the White House had limited ability to respond to the Justice Department’s review of the investigation and the special counsel’s investigation but promised to continue providing the public with “as much information” as necessary.
Sams was asked about the number of classified documents found and the contents. He said that he couldn’t answer because the records had been “transmitted to the proper authorities and will be part the ongoing investigation.”
The White House may feel it necessary to appoint Garland as a special counsel to investigate this matter. This is despite the Justice Department’s review of the matter and the president’s cooperation in that review. Sams also pointed out Biden’s promise to create an independent Justice Department.
Sams stated, “This was an independent decision by the attorney general and we were made aware through his announcement that this was done.” “We will fully cooperate with the special counsel.”
Sams stated that the president had “reinforced the Justice Department’s strength” and that the White House should ensure that the attorney general can act on his own.
Sams stated that the attorney general had made this decision, and that the president’s team of lawyers and lawyers will cooperate throughout the investigation.
Garland named Jack Smith, a former DOJ official, as special counsel on Nov. 18. This was to investigate the matter of classified records found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Smith, Garland, and top DOJ officials were simultaneously conducting a review of President Biden’s mishandling classified records when he appointed Smith. The public was only able to see the classified records discovered at Biden’s desk during that review and disclosure of the results last week.
The White House continues to receive requests from Congress from James Comer (R-Ky.), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and other members. It has repeatedly called those GOP inquiries “hypocritical.”
Sams stated that “we intend to respond to Congress with good faith”, and added that the White House was also prepared to assist.
House Republicans are expected to “use good faith”
Sams said, “We’re going out to call it out whenever we see rampant hypocrisy,” and noted that the White House will continue reviewing congressional requests. “But, our commitment is that we will work in good faith alongside Congress.”