Chris Lange, FISM News
The National Archives said that it was “ordered” to withhold information about the discoveries of classified documents in President Biden’s think tank and personal residence, though it refused to say from whence the directive came.
House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) made the stunning revelation Tuesday during an appearance on Fox News, along with fresh accusations that the White House and the Justice Department have been working in concert to conceal information from the public.
The Kentucky lawmaker also accused The National Archives (NARS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of engaging in a “political double-standard” in terms of how they have handled the Biden classified documents discoveries versus their handling of information about classified documents seized from President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in an FBI raid last August.
Comer told Fox host Sean Hannity that, during a closed-door interview, NARA general counsel Gary Stern told the committee that the Archives received orders not to issue a press release or otherwise disclose information about the Nov. 2 discovery of documents bearing “classified” markings at the Penn Biden Center days before the midterm elections. When pressed as to who gave the directive, Stern said that he was not permitted to respond.
“There are only two people that could have given those orders, and that’s either the Department of Justice with [Attorney General] Merrick Garland or the White House with Joe Biden,” Comer said. “So it shows right there that this Department of Justice and this White House is interfering with this,” he continued.
Comer explained that, when NARA representatives arrived for a transcribed interview with the committee, “they handed us a letter from the Department of Justice informing them and us that the general counsel for the National Archives wasn’t allowed to say anything about the Biden documents.
“But we had about a three-plus hour transcribed interview with the general counsel and what we learned was there is a double-standard here with how Donald Trump was treated versus Joe Biden,” he continued.
“If you go on the National Archives website, there’s pages and pages of press releases and information about the FBI raid into Mar-a-Lago and Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents. But there’s nothing on the website about Joe Biden,” the congressman told Hannity.
Comer revealed that, in the course of the interview, Stern “admitted the Biden Administration prohibited [NARA] from releasing a public statement on the Penn-Biden Center classified documents and limited NARA’s ability to testify about all facts related to President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents.”
After CBS News broke the story of the Nov. 2 discovery, NARA drafted a press statement about the documents. However, the statement “was suppressed at the request of someone from either the White House or DOJ,” The New York Post reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
NARA also confirmed that it has communications and documents requested by Comer on Jan. 10 about the Penn Biden Center but has so far not produced any of those materials, the source said.
WHITE HOUSE, DOJ CONCEALED FBI SEARCH OF PENN BIDEN CENTER
It was also revealed this week that FBI agents searched Biden’s D.C. think tank in the weeks following the Nov. 2 discovery — information that had not been disclosed by the Justice Department nor White House counsel, per The Washington Examiner.
It was only after CBS News broke the story more than two months later that Biden’s attorneys admitted to finding a “small number” of sensitive documents with “top secret” markings, which they said were immediately turned over to the Justice Department. Counsel made no mention of the feds’ search. It remains unclear as to whether agents found additional documents at that time.
Additional stashes of classified documents, including some marked “highly classified,” were subsequently discovered at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the president’s possible mishandling of classified information dating back to his time as senator and vice-president. Attorneys for Biden have reported finding about 25 to 30 classified files after searching the president’s homes and offices.
Comer excoriated the White House and Justice Department for “continu[ing] to conceal information from Congress and the American people,” adding that “[t]he ongoing secrecy of President Biden’s classified material is unacceptable and Oversight Republicans will continue to demand transparency for the American people.”
“Nothing that Joe Biden’s done with respect to mishandling these classified documents is normal. Take into consideration that he’s also being investigated for influence-peddling with our adversaries around the world, and it’s even more concerning,” he added.
Republicans have expressed alarm that President Biden’s son, Hunter, had access to the classified documents stored at Biden’s Wilmington home and likely at the Penn Biden Center. Oversight Committee Republicans are investigating the Biden family’s extensive foreign business ventures, particularly those involving Ukraine and China, to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead the nation with impartiality.