Politics

White House says Republicans probing Biden documents will cooperate with ‘legitimate oversight’

WASHINGTON – The White House counsel’s office said it is reviewing recent requests from a GOP committee chairman related to President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents and signaled that they plan to cooperate to some 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 lawyers found government records at the Penn Biden Center, the White House has “cooperated fully” with the National Archives and the Department of Justice to ensure documents with classified markings were given to the relevant authorities.

“We are reviewing your recent letters for the purpose of seeking to accommodate legitimate oversight interests within the committee’s jurisdiction while respecting the separation of powers and the constitutional and statutory obligations of the executive branch in general and the White House in particular,” Delery wrote.

However, Delery suggested 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, especially 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 contact committee staff to schedule a time to discuss this matter.”

Delery acknowledged that the FBI conducted a “thorough, consent search” of Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday after the president’s lawyers offered to provide access to his home. He also said the White House has “continued to cooperate fully with the DOJ” after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as a special adviser to examine the classified material found in Biden’s home and a Washington office he used.

Delery’s letter came in response to letters Comer sent this month requesting records and information about the documents. Come, e.g. requested that the White House provide documents taken from Biden’s personal office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, DC, a list of all the people who had access to it and other information by Tuesday. He asked in one follow-up letter for all documents and communications related to the search of Biden’s home and other locations and a visitation log of Biden’s Wilmington home since he became president on January 30. (The White House has said no such visitor logs exist.)

Comer also sent one letter On Monday, Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle is asking for all internal documents, communications and information kept for Biden’s home in Delaware.

In a statement Monday evening, a Secret Service spokesman addressed the status of Comer’s request.

“The Secret Service received the committee’s letter today and we are reviewing it. We are generating information for law enforcement and criminal justice as it relates to individuals attempting to access protected websites,” the spokesman said. “We are currently reviewing the congressional request and will ensure that we are responsive to the President and that our review is consistent with any records retention, disclosure, or handling rules that may apply.”

The Secret Service has said it does not maintain logs for the residence, although it does run basic “name checks” on visitors around the time of their screening for access to a protected site.

As a result of the Friday search, six additional objects, including documents with classified markingswas found at Biden’s home in Delaware, Bob Bauer, the president’s personal attorney, said Saturday.

The documents in the Wilmington home appeared to be related to Biden’s time as vice president, Bauer said, as well as his tenure in the Senate, and were found after Biden’s lawyer offered full access to the premises.

Comer’s investigation is one of two major Republican investigations into the Biden documents. Led by Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee is also investigating the matter.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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