‘Gang of Eight’ lawmakers gain long-awaited access to mishandled classified docs

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News

 

Congressional lawmakers have begun reviewing classified documents found in the homes or offices of President Biden, former President Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, dubbed the “Gang of Eight,” have for months sought the documents in order to assess whether their mishandling posed national security threats. 

“They’re finally moving. We’ve got a lot more documents to review and, more importantly, to make sure there was mitigation taken,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday. The Associated Press reported that a source with knowledge of the development said that the DOJ is providing the documents on a “rolling basis.” The source spoke to the news service on condition of anonymity.

The Justice Department had, until now, rejected the Committee’s requests for the documents, citing ongoing investigations. 

FISM reported that a late-February Congressional briefing on the matter from The DOJ and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence only added to the lawmakers’ frustrations.

“While today’s meeting helped shed some light on these issues, it left much to be desired, and we will continue to press for full answers to our questions in accordance with our constitutional oversight obligations,” Sens. Warner and Intelligence Oversight Committee Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a joint statement released shortly after the briefing. 

Warner said Wednesday that he was “glad to see progress” on the document requests but called the Justice Department’s delayed response “unacceptable.” 

Republicans have accused the White House and the DOJ of stonewalling the Committee’s efforts to obtain information in an attempt to conceal information on the Biden document discoveries.

The Intelligence Committee submitted its initial request for documents in January, after materials with classified markings were found in the personal residences and/or offices of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. The back-to-back discoveries came five months after the FBI seized hundreds of documents, some of which bore “classification” markings, from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Attorney General Merrick Garland in November appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate whether Trump mishandled classified documents after he departed the White House. Smith subpoenaed Trump’s former Secret Service agents last week to testify before a Washington D.C. grand jury in the probe. CBS News reported that “a handful” of agents gave their testimony last Friday. 

On January 12, Garland appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate President Biden’s retention of documents from the Obama White House following his tenure as vice president. Classified documents were discovered in Biden’s office at the Penn-Biden Center and in his Delaware residence

Pence’s lawyers disclosed in January that a small number of documents were discovered in his Indiana home at the end of the Trump administration.

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