U.S. President Joe Biden departs after inspecting damage from recent storms at Moffett Federal Airfield in Santa Clara County in Mountain View, California on January 19, 2023.
Andrew Caballero-reynolds | AFP | Getty Images
After FBI found more classified documents in Wilmington, Delaware, home of the president Joe Biden during Friday’s consensus search, lawmakers said Sunday that Biden’s actions were “unbelievable” and “irresponsible.”
Biden’s personal attorney and prosecutors released the nearly 13-hour manhunt Saturday night. The discovery marked the fourth time since November that classified records or materials have been found at Biden’s private address.
Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month appointed a special counsel to investigate Biden’s retention of government records after he was vice president.
Former president Donald Trump is being investigated by another special counsel for taking hundreds of classified records and other government documents out of the White House when he left office. Trump is also under investigation for possible obstruction of justice for trying to prevent government officials from getting those documents back.
A majority of Americans think both Biden and Trump handled classified materials inappropriately, according to a published poll Sunday from ABC News. More than half of the public, 64%, said they believed Biden mishandled classified materials, while 77% said the same about Trump.
Condemnation fell along party lines, as 89% of Republican respondents said Biden’s actions were inappropriate and 96% of Democratic respondents said Trump’s actions were inappropriate, according to the poll.
The poll was conducted between January 20 and 21 before additional documents were released on Saturday, with a random national sample of 532 adults and a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.
Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., said Sunday that Americans should wait and see what comes out of the special counsel’s investigation before rushing to pick sides.
“It’s unbelievable how this could happen, it’s completely irresponsible and who is to blame?” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But having said that, putting a political kangaroo on trial won’t help. Just what Merrick Garland did with the special counsel should be done.”
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said he doesn’t think Biden’s handling of classified materials is an issue that “keeps Americans up at night” and doesn’t believe it will be a deciding factor in the next presidential election.
He said senior government officials have millions of documents coming through their offices and that Biden’s cooperation with authorities likely means his possession of classified materials was inadvertent.
“There is one important document that differentiates former President Trump from President Biden — it’s an arrest warrant,” Coons said. “It took an FBI search, a non-consensual warrant search, to get the documents from Mar-a-Lago.
Republican lawmakers are less convinced, with Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, saying he thinks Biden’s cooperation with authorities “looks more like a cover-up than an investigation.”
“I mean, sure, he’s become a serial hoarder of classified documents,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said many unanswered questions remain and told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he plans to send a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to get more information.