House Oversight Committee chairman sends letter requesting Secret Service provide Wilmington visitor logs
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has sent a letter to the US Secret Service requesting the visitor logs from President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, where more classified documents have been found.
In the letter, Comer, a Kentucky Republican lawmaker, says there has been a “lack of transparency” from the White House.
“Given the White House’s lack of transparency regarding President Biden’s residential visitor logs, the Committee seeks information from the Secret Service regarding who had access to his home since serving as Vice President,” Comer wrote.
“The U.S. Secret Service (Secret Service) protected President Biden during the time he stored these classified materials at his Wilmington residence,” the letter states.
Comer is asking for the Secret Service to turn over “all documents and communications related to visitor information” at Biden’s Wilmington home to the panel by February 6, and to encompass records from January 20, 2017 to present.
The White House counsel’s office has said there are no visitors logs that track guests who come and go from Biden’s Wilmington home.
USSS spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in response to a CNN request for comment, “The Secret Service is in receipt of a letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and it is currently being reviewed. As with any request from Congress, the Secret Service will respond to the Chairman.”
Guglielmi has also said the agency does not independently maintain visitor logs for Biden’s home in Wilmington. The agency provides security for the property, and screens visitors before they arrive to Biden’s home, but does not maintain records of those visitors. Biden and his staff determine who is permitted onto the property.
Guglielmi said the Secret Service does not independently maintain visitor logs at the Wilmington home because it is a “private residence.”
Additionally, the Secret Service did not maintain a presence at Biden’s Wilmington home between mid-2017 and March 2020. Biden lost federal protection in mid-2017, as is protocol, when he finished his term as vice president. The Secret Service protection resumed in March 2020 when he became the presumptive Democratic nominee.
FBI investigators on Friday found additional classified material while conducting a search of Biden’s Wilmington home.
Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney, said in a statement that during the search, which took place over nearly 13 hours Friday, “DOJ took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President. DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years.”
Those six items are in addition to materials previously found at Biden’s Wilmington residence and in his private office.
As the new House GOP majority ramps up its oversight of the Biden administration, White House Counsel Stuart Delery signaled to Comer in a new letter obtained by CNN that the White House is looking to cooperate with Comer’s multiple requests for information about the classified documents to a certain extent but emphasized that the National Archives and the Justice Department are the only ones with the documents. This letter marks the latest in a back and forth between House Republicans and the White House over the classified materials.
“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, in what is the first letter he has sent to Comer.
“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 said.
But, Delery noted, “as I’m sure you are aware, these considerations include the critical need to protect the integrity and independence of law enforcement investigations.”
On the classified documents specifically Delery wrote, “please note that the White House does not have possession of the documents that the National Archives and DOJ have taken possession of as part of this process.”
Delery said the White House has “fully cooperated” with the National Archives and DOJ since Biden’s personal attorneys found classified documents at the Penn Biden Center.
Additional requests from House GOP
GOP Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is also asking Secretary of State Antony Blinken to explain whether he had any knowledge of and access to classified documents found at Penn Biden Center, according to a new letter obtained by CNN.
The letter, sent to Blinken on Monday evening, cites Blinken’s time working at the center prior to becoming secretary of state for the Biden administration and requests his cooperation.
“The committee would like to better understand the role you and other Department officials played at the Center, as well as the extent of your knowledge and access to the documents found at the Center,” McCaul wrote.
McCaul requests “all documents and communications since November 1, 2022 and January 23, 2023 regarding the presence of sensitive and classified materials at the Penn Biden Center, President Biden’s residences and offices, and any other location associated with President Biden or the Biden family.”
A State Department spokesperson told CNN that the department does not comment on congressional correspondence or ongoing investigations.
Blinken previously told reporters that he had been “surprised to learn that there were any government records taken to the Penn Biden Center” and that he had “no knowledge of it at the time.”
This story has been updated with additional developments.
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