The White House on Monday said it does not keep visitors logs for President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where his lawyers have discovered at least six documents with classified markings.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to the White House over the weekend seeking an accounting of who may have had access to the property. He called the matter “troubling,” writing that it had raised questions about whether the president has “jeopardized our national security.”
Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office, said in a statement that, “like every President across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal. But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”
Biden’s lawyers first discovered a “small number” of documents with classified markings in November at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, an institute in Washington where Biden kept an office after serving as vice president. The president’s lawyers then searched his personal residences in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Del., and found the additional six documents this month at the Wilmington home.
The discovery of classified documents has created a political headache for Biden, who has said he was “surprised” by the revelations and stressed that he and his aides are cooperating fully as the Justice Department investigates. He has also sought to draw a distinction with former president Donald Trump, who ignored repeated government demands for the return of all classified documents that remained in his possession after leaving the White House, prompting a court-approved FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago Club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla., last year.
Authorities say the FBI recovered more than 300 classified documents and thousands of nonclassified government materials from Mar-a-Lago. Agents found many of those documents after Trump’s team assured federal investigators that they had turned over everything they could find.
Biden’s team says it voluntarily notified authorities upon the discovery of classified documents.
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents found at Biden’s former office and his Wilmington residence. Garland tapped Robert K. Hur, a senior official at the Justice Department during the Trump administration, to lead the investigation. Hur’s appointment came after Garland in November named another special counsel, Jack Smith, to lead a separate probe into the retention of classified documents at Trump’s residence.
Republicans who have sought to downplay Trump’s handling of classified documents have hammered Biden over the recent revelations.
“President Biden’s mishandling of classified materials raises the issue of whether he has jeopardized our national security,” Comer wrote in his letter to the White House. “Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents.”
On Saturday, Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney, released a public timeline of events regarding the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s personal office and his Wilmington home in an effort to demonstrate cooperation with the Justice Department’s investigation.