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Merrick Garland misses Jim Jordan deadline on Biden classified docs

By Jerry Dunleavy,


Attorney General Merrick Garland h as missed the deadline set by a House Republican investigator asking for information about the Justice Department 's investigation into President Joe Biden’s apparent mishandling of classified information .

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, fired off a letter to Garland on Jan. 13 demanding all documents and communications between the DOJ, the FBI, and the Executive Office of the President about Biden’s classified documents saga. The deadline Jordan set for Garland was Friday at 5 p.m. — but the Republican chairman did not receive answers by then.


Biden’s personal attorneys said they first discovered classified documents in early November at the Penn Biden Center. The president’s lawyers have since found more classified documents at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home in December and January, and the Department of Justice found more when it conducted its own search last week . (Joana Suleiman/Washington Examiner)
President Joe Biden was revealed to be in possession of several classified documents from his time as vice president in the Obama administration.

Jordan’s letter, co-signed by another top GOP member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), also demanded that Garland hand over details about the appointment of DOJ veteran and former Trump federal prosecutor Robert Hur to be the special counsel handling the Biden classified records saga .

“We are conducting oversight of the Justice Department's actions with respect to former Vice President Biden's mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C. private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware residence,” the House Republicans told Garland in the mid-January letter.

Garland had appointed Kosovo war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith late last year to take over the Justice Department’s investigation of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. The Biden attorney general then selected Hur to be special counsel in the Biden saga in January.

House Republicans told Garland that “the circumstances of this appointment raise fundamental oversight questions that the Committee routinely examines” and that “we expect your complete cooperation with our inquiry.”

“It is unclear when the Department first came to learn about the existence of these documents, and whether it actively concealed this information from the public on the eve of the 2022 elections," the GOP letter said. "It is also unclear what interactions, if any, the Department had with President Biden or his representatives about his mishandling of classified material. The Department’s actions here appear to depart from how it acted in similar circumstances.”

The Republicans asked for all records related to the selection of U.S. Attorney John Lausch to do the initial investigation and related to the choice of Hur as special counsel. The GOP investigators also asked for all documents between or among the DOJ, the FBI, and the White House related to classified records found at the Penn Biden Center and at Biden’s home. The letter also told Garland to hand over all communications between the DOJ and Biden’s lawyers related to the classified documents saga .

Jordan and Johnson also told the Justice Department to provide all of the documents and communications related to the storage of the classified records at Biden’s office and his home, as well as all records tied to the discovery of the documents with classified markings.

Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Carlos Uriarte told Jordan last week that “we are committed to cooperating with the Committee’s legitimate efforts to seek information, consistent with our obligation to protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.” But the Justice Department did not provide Jordan with answers to his questions.

“Consistent with longstanding policy and practice, any oversight requests must be weighed against the Department’s interests in protecting the integrity of its work,” the DOJ said. “Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations.”

The White House counsel’s office provided a vague and partial response to letters sent to them by James Comer (R-KY), the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee .

Comer sent a letter to the Biden White House counsel on Jan. 10, asking for information on all documents found at the Penn Biden Center and all records and internal communications related to the discovery. When it was revealed further documents had been found at Biden’s Delaware home, Comer sent another letter on Jan. 13 asking for “all classified documents retrieved by Biden aides or lawyers at any location” and “all documents and communications between or among the White House and the Department of Justice or NARA regarding classified documents retrieved from all locations searched by President Biden’s aides or lawyers.”

The Republican also sent a Jan. 13 letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain .

“Given the serious national security implications, the White House must provide the Wilmington residence’s visitor log,” Comer said, adding, “The Committee demands transparency into whether any individuals with foreign connections to the Biden family gained access to President Biden’s residence and the classified documents that he has mishandled for years.”

White House counsel Stuart Delery responded to all three letters on Jan. 23, arguing that the White House has “fully cooperated” with the Archives and the DOJ, but is declining to provide most of the information.


“Please note that the White House does not have possession of the documents that the National Archives and DOJ have taken possession of as part of this process,” the White House counsel said. “We are reviewing your recent letters with the goal of seeking to accommodate legitimate oversight interests within the Committee’s jurisdiction while also respecting the separation of powers and the constitutional and statutory obligations of the Executive Branch generally and the White House in particular.”

Delery added: “We look forward to engaging in good faith with you and your staff regarding your requests. To that end, White House staff will reach out to Committee staff to arrange a time to discuss this matter.”

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