By Katabella Roberts
House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said on Jan. 29 that there is “grave concern” about the contents of classified documents found at the homes of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, adding that the discoveries suggest a “systematic problem” in the way that classified documents are handled among those at the highest levels of government.
“It’s just really astounding because it shows there’s really a systemic problem here on the administration handling side of both the vice president’s office and the president’s office,” Turner said in an interview for ABC’s “This Week.”
“And as you know, the process of classifying documents is uniquely under the president, and by the Constitution Supreme Courts ruled that they have the ability to classify and declassify. So you would think there that the handling of these documents would be even that much more secure,” Turner added.
The Ohio Republican noted that there is “grave concern” that the information contained within the documents could be given to or accessed by someone other than the president or vice president, adding that he “can’t imagine a circumstance” under which senior members of the administration would need to take such documents home with them.
Classified materials dating back to Biden’s time as vice president were discovered at the Penn Biden Center in Washington in November, as well as at one of his homes in Wilmington, Delaware. Earlier this month, more documents marked as classified were found at the president’s Delaware home.
Classified Documents Found at Pence’s Home
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Robert Hur, a former Maryland U.S. attorney, to serve as special counsel to oversee the Department of Justice inquiry into the documents and to establish whether or not Biden or those around him broke the law.
The White House Counsel’s Office has stated that Biden is committed to cooperating with the probe.
Shortly after the latest classified materials were discovered, lawyers for Pence revealed on Jan. 24 that “a small number” of documents with classification markings were found at his home.
The documents were initially found on Jan. 16 at Pence’s home in Indiana, according to lawyer Greg Jacob, and were immediately locked in a safe before requesting the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) assist in taking possession of them.
Pence had directed one of his attorneys to conduct the search following the Biden classified documents discovery, officials said.
Speaking to Fox News on Jan. 27, Pence said he would leave it up to the DOJ or NARA to decide if his handling of the documents should be subject to an investigation, and vowed to cooperate fully if such a probe is launched.
Last year, classified documents were discovered at the Florida home of former President Donald Trump, who is currently being investigated by the DOJ.
Warner, Rubio Call for More Access to Classified Documents
“Obviously, the chain of custody in each of these issues is going to be important,” Turner said on Sunday. “It certainly should be part of the Department of Justice’s investigation.”
The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has requested that NARA hand over information relating to the classified records found at Biden’s former office as part of its probe into the matter. However, NARA failed to meet a Jan. 24 deadline to do so, a committee spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee, pushed for their panel to be granted access to the classified materials found at both Biden’s and Trump’s homes.
“The Justice Department has had the Trump documents about six months, the Biden documents about three months, our job is not to figure out if somebody mishandled those, our job is to make sure there’s not an intelligence compromise,” Warner said in an interview for CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“And while the Director of National Intelligence had been willing to brief us earlier, now that you’ve got the special counsel, the notion that we’re going to be left in limbo, and we can’t do our job, that just cannot stand,” Warner said, adding, “That means we need these documents, we need that assessment.”