WASHINGTON — The White House Counsel’s Office said it is reviewing recent requests from a GOP committee chair related to Biden’s handling of classified documents and signaled they plan to cooperate to an extent.
In a letter sent to House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and obtained by NBC News, White House counsel Stuart F. Delery said that since Biden’s personal attorneys found government records at the Penn Biden Center, the White House has “fully cooperated” with the National Archives and Department of Justice to ensure documents with classified markings were provided to the appropriate authorities.
“We are reviewing your recent letters with the goal of seeking to accommodate legitimate oversight interests within the Committee’s jurisdiction while also respecting the separation of powers and the constitutional and statutory obligations of the Executive Branch generally and the White House in particular,” Delery wrote.
Delery, however, suggested that there will be a limit to what the White House is willing to share with Congress. “As I’m sure you are aware, these considerations include the critical need to protect the integrity and independence of law enforcement investigations,” he said.
“The Biden Administration takes seriously the security and protection of government records, particularly classified information,” the letter said. “We look forward to engaging in good faith with you and your staff regarding your requests. To that end, White House staff will reach out to Committee staff to arrange a time to discuss this matter.”
Delery acknowledged that the FBI conducted a “thorough, consensual search” of Biden’s Wilmington residence on Friday after the president’s lawyers offered to provide access to his home. He also said the White House has “continued to fully cooperate with DOJ” after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate the classified material found in Biden’s home and a Washington office he used.
Delery’s letter came in response to letters Comer sent earlier this month requesting records and information about the documents. The GOP chairman, for example, requested that the White House provide documents retrieved from Biden’s personal office at the Penn Biden Center, a list of all people who had access to it, and other information by Tuesday. He asked in a follow-up letter for all documents and communications related to the searches of Biden’s homes and other locations and a visitor log of Biden’s Wilmington home since he became president by Jan. 30 (The White House has said no such visitor logs exist.)
Comer on Monday also sent a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle requesting all internal documents, communications and information maintained for Biden’s Delaware home. The Secret Service, however, has also said it doesn’t maintain logs for the residence.
As a result of the Friday search, six additional items, including documents with classified markings, were found in Biden’s Delaware home, Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney said Saturday.
The documents at the Wilmington home appeared to be related to his time as vice president, Bauer said, as well as to his tenure in the U.S. Senate and were found after Biden’s counsel offered full access to the premises.
Comer’s probe is one of two major House Republican investigations into the Biden documents. Led by chairman Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee is also investigating the matter.
Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.