The White House Counsel’s Office says there are no visitor records tracking guests who come and go to President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.
House Republicans have been demanding the White House turn over all information related to misplaced classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president, including any visitors recording Biden’s private residence who may have gained access to his private office in Washington, D.C., where the first batch was discovered. From the documents in early November.
“Like any president throughout decades of recent history, his personal residence is personal,” the attorney’s office said in a statement Monday morning. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the rule and tradition of keeping White House visitor logs, including regularly publishing them, after they had been ended by the previous administration.”
Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the US Secret Service, said the agency does not independently maintain records of visitors to Biden’s home in Wilmington. The agency provides security for the property, and screens visitors before they arrive at the Biden home, but does not keep records of those visitors. Biden and his staff determine who is allowed on the property.
Guglielmi said the Secret Service does not independently maintain visitor records at the Wilmington home because it is a “private residence.”
Saturday’s announcement marked the third time in less than a week that the White House has been forced to acknowledge a trove of classified documents from the Biden era when the vice president was found on personal property — first an office in Washington, D.C., and then a home in Wilmington.
CNN previously reported that classified materials found in Biden’s private office included some top-secret files labeled “Fragmented Sensitive Information,” which is used for highly sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources. Those documents included US intelligence memos and media materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The White House announced over the weekend that it discovered an additional five pages of classified documents at Biden’s home in Wilmington on Thursday. The Office of the White House Counsel said it would refer all future questions to the Office of the Special Counsel.
In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., asked for more documents and communications related to searches of Biden’s homes and other locations by aides to the president for classified documents, as well as where visitors register. President Wilmington’s home from January 20, 2021 to the present.
“It is concerning that classified documents have been improperly stored in President Biden’s home for at least six years, raising questions about who may have reviewed or had access to classified information,” Kummer wrote in the letter. “As chief of staff, you are the head of the Executive Office of the President and have a responsibility to be transparent with the American people on these important issues related to the White House’s handling of this matter.”
The White House called the Republicans’ investigation “unabashedly hypocritical” compared to their approach to former President Donald Trump’s possession of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago in the post-White House years.
“House Republicans do not have credibility. Their demands should be met with skepticism and they themselves should face questions about why this issue is being politicized and admit that they do not in fact care about core classified material,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said.
Additional searches of other Biden-related sites could be conducted for presidential records and any classified materials from his time as vice president that need to be returned to the federal government, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Biden’s team searched a private office in Washington, D.C., and his two homes in Delaware — three locations where the White House said the files may have been shipped during his transition from office in 2017 — turning up about 20 classified documents.
Sources say more searches are possible, but it is unclear who or where they will be conducted. While sources did not provide other possible locations, Biden has used other office space, and his family has rented another home in Northern Virginia.
So far, Biden’s private attorneys and White House special counsel Richard Sauber, who has security clearance, have handled the searches. Justice Department officials also accompanied Sauber last week to seize five more pages marked Secret that were discovered at the Wilmington home after an initial search.
But the pace of the Biden team’s searches has become a source of consternation for the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago that originally looked into the matter, a source close to the investigation told CNN.
John Lash, the US attorney there, was hired by Attorney General Merrick Garland less than two weeks after Biden’s personal lawyers discovered the first batch of documents. Lash did not request additional sites to be searched after this discovery, according to the source, nor did he conduct his own searches or a grand jury during his review. Instead, Biden’s attorneys decided to search the Biden homes in Delaware themselves, the source said.
When that process took several weeks, Lash didn’t wait for the Biden team to complete its search of the Delaware residences before recommending that Garland hire a special counsel to take over the investigation. Lausch briefed the attorney general several times before formally recommending a special counsel on Jan. 5. Garland appointed Robert Hoare to the post last week.
The Department of Justice has released many of these details in its recent timeline of events. Sources told CNN that justice officials decided to provide the information after the White House released the information in the form of evasions, causing confusion and mistrust.
While some Republicans are ranting, saying Trump was treated differently because FBI agents searched Mar-a-Lago last August, the move came after months of stalling and the failure of Trump’s team to turn over documents requested by the National Archives.
Moreover, the Trump investigation is looking at potential roadblocks, in part because after the former president’s lawyers witnessed the return of all classified documents, investigators obtained evidence to suggest that was not the case, and investigators obtained evidence to suggest that the boxes were moved. from the storage room. The Trump team had promised insurance.
Since then, Trump’s legal team has hired people to conduct additional searches of Trump properties, including at Trump Tower in New York and Bedminster Golf Course in New Jersey.
This story has been updated with additional reports.