Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., suggested that greater scrutiny of former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush may be necessary regarding their handling of classified documents Wednesday.
President Biden, former President Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have all been found to have misplaced classified documents in recent months, raising questions as to how carefully top-level U.S. officials handle America’s secrets. Hawley voiced those concerns to Fox News on Wednesday, saying there should be more scrutiny on America’s former leaders.
“Do we need to ask President Obama, former President Bush? I mean, you know, maybe so,” Hawley said in response to a question on the matter.
Hawley’s office clarified that he was not suggesting a formal inquiry into Obama or Bush was necessary at this time.
Trump has faced federal investigations into his mishandling of classified documents for months, and Biden is now facing a special counsel investigation. Pence joined the trend Tuesday, announcing to Congress that he had discovered classified documents inside his Carmel, Indiana home earlier this month.
“I don’t know any of the details about Vice President Pence other than what I’ve read that y’all have reported,” Hawley told Fox. “So I don’t know any of the specifics there. But obviously, we’re going to want to figure out what he had and why he had it.”
Hawley went on to point out that Trump is the only executive official to have faced an FBI raid, arguing that fact showed bias against Trump from the federal government.
“I noticed that nobody else seems to have had their home raided by the FBI. No one else has been treated as if they’re a criminal. There’s a reason for that. It’s because Trump is a political opponent that these other folks were not,” Hawley said.
The FBI raid recovered a slew of documents this summer after Trump declined to turn them over to the National Archives. Meanwhile, Biden’s lawyers uncovered three stashes of classified documents in Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home, as well as the Penn Biden Center, think tank in Washington. Federal investigators later discovered a fourth stash of Biden documents, also in his Wilmington home.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter earlier in January, tapping former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.
Biden and Pence both say they immediately contacted federal authorities to return the documents. The DOJ has not announced an investigation into Pence as of Wednesday morning.