According to various reports on Tuesday, key members of Congress have been provided access to sensitive information discovered at places associated with President Biden, former President Trump, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence.
According to a CNN source, the Biden team started disclosing the information with the “Gang of Eight,” which consists of House and Senate leaders as well as the most senior members of each chamber’s intelligence committees, just last week in a “rolling process.”
Lawmakers have previously been briefed on the materials, but have expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of transparency that has hampered their capacity to undertake oversight.
Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) have been particularly vociferous, expressing national security concerns. A February meeting with the Justice Dept. and intelligence community leaders “left much more to be desired,” they stated in a joint statement at that point in time.
The handling of confidential documents by Biden and Trump is being investigated by two independent special counsels that were appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Last summer, FBI investigators collected more than 100 secret papers housed at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, escalating from previous months’ conversations.
While emptying out Biden’s office at a D.C. think tank during the days before the 2022 midterm elections, Biden’s crew discovered roughly 10 classified records, which were not made public until January, when CBS News reported the news of a Department of Justice investigation. Since then, searches conducted by Biden’s attorneys and the FBI at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and his beach property in Rehoboth, Delaware, have turned up more items of interest to authorities.
Documents with secret markings were also discovered at Pence’s Indiana home.
Following the discovery of these classified records, the National Archives requested that additional former presidents including vice presidents search for similar files. Under the Presidential Records Act, the agency is responsible for taking possession of presidential as well as vice presidential records at the end of a term.
Some of the records discovered in sites associated with Biden date not just from his time as vice president, but also from his time as a U.S. senator.