The National Archives says it requires Justice Department approval before it can share information with Congress about the classified documents found in President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Penn Biden Center think tank.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have demanded details on the contents of the three stashes of classified documents found in Biden’s Wilmington garage and the Penn Biden Center’s offices in Washington.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has been aggressive in seeking details about the documents and Biden’s handling of them. Nevertheless, the National Archives sent a letter to Comer Tuesday evening saying it cannot yet comply.
“DOJ has advised it will need to consult with the newly appointed Office of Special Counsel (SCO) in DOJ to assess whether information can be released without interfering with the SCO’s investigation,” acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall wrote in the letter, first obtained by CNN.
The letter went on to contest Republican criticism of the National Archives Records Administration’s (NARA) handling of the Biden scandal, stating the organization was not aware of Biden’s possession of classified documents until November.
“NARA receives only the Presidential and Vice Presidential records that the departing administration provides us; we are never able to know whether we have ‘all’ such records,” Wall wrote.
Nevertheless, NARA dismissed reports of mishandled documents from the Obama-Biden administration just weeks before the first batch was found in the Penn Biden Center offices, arguing such claims were “false and misleading.”
“Reports that indicate or imply that those Presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office, or that the records were housed in substandard conditions, are false and misleading,” NARA wrote in an Oct. 11 statement.
NARA asserted that all documents from the Obama administration had been “securely moved” to locations that met “strict archival and security standards.”
NARA did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday regarding whether Biden’s garage in Wilmington, Delaware, met its “strict archival and security standards.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter last week, tapping former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.
Comer is also requesting that the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn Biden Center’s parent, provide a detailed list of anyone who had access to the think tank’s Washington, D.C., offices. In addition to personnel logs, the letter seeks information about foreign influence on the Penn Biden Center, particularly donations from China.
“The Committee has learned UPenn received tens of millions of dollars from anonymous Chinese sources, with a marked uptick in donations when then-former Vice President Biden was announced as leading the Penn Biden Center initiative,” Comer wrote in the letter.
“Not only were these donations made while President Biden explored a potential run for president and launched his campaign, but also as his family and associates pursued lucrative financial projects with partners in China,” the letter continued.
“The American people deserve to know whether the Chinese Communist Party, through Chinese companies, influenced potential Biden Administration policies with large, anonymous donations to UPenn and the Penn Biden Center.”