National Archives official to appear before House Oversight Committee on Biden docs

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A senior official from the National Archives and Records Administration is set to testify before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee next week in response to the panel’s demands for information regarding President Biden’s mishandling of classified information.

The Archives’ general counsel, Gary Stern, has been scheduled to appear for a transcribed interview on Jan. 31, committee staff said Thursday.

Committee Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, has pledged “swift congressional oversight” after the discovery of classified documents dating to Mr. Biden’s term as vice president at the Washington office of his University of Pennsylvania-affiliated think tank.

More classified documents were later discovered at Mr. Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The first set of documents were discovered several days before the November midterm elections. The White House didn’t acknowledge the matter until after it was made public by CBS this month.

In a letter to Acting Archivist of the United States Debra Steidel Wall soon after the White House disclosed the discovery of the classified information, Mr. Comer demanded all documents and communications between NARA, the White House, the Justice Department and Mr. Biden’s attorneys related to the matter.

“For months, NARA failed to disclose to committee Republicans or the American public that President Biden — after serving as vice president — stored highly classified documents in a closet at his personal office,” Mr. Comer wrote.

“NARA learned about these documents days before the 2022 midterm elections and did not alert the public that President Biden was potentially violating the law,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, NARA instigated a public and unprecedented FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago—former President Trump’s home—to retrieve presidential records. NARA’s inconsistent treatment of recovering classified records held by former President Trump and President Biden raises questions about political bias at the agency.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have remained frustrated with the lack of detail the administration has shared with Congress about the matter.

Bipartisan frustrations boiled up on Wednesday after Senate Intelligence Committee members said their requests for the classified documents recovered from both presidents’ properties were denied during a classified briefing on Capitol Hill by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Members of the panel said the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is blocking the release of key details about the documents until the Department of Justice has concluded its investigations.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, fumed as he left Wednesday’s briefing, telling reporters that the expectation that his panel will be left “in limbo” until the DOJ concludes its investigation “is not going to stand.”

“We have a job to do, and it’s our job to make sure our security is protected and that the intelligence our country depends upon is not compromised,” he said.

Mr. Comer has accused the White House of withholding key details from the public amid a slow drip of disclosures and discoveries of additional classified documents at Mr. Biden’s Delaware home in the weeks after the president owned up to the initial findings.

“The Biden White House’s secrecy in this matter is alarming,” he said this month. “Many questions need to be answered, but one thing is certain: oversight is coming.”

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