Reps. Turner, Jordan raise questions, seek info on possible Biden classified materials

Senate Intelligence Committee member also seeks a briefing on the subject.

Two Ohio Republican congressman, U.S. Reps. Mike Turner-Dayton, and Jim Jordan-Urbana, are seeking information on potentially classified documents found in the Washington office space of President Joe Biden’s former institute.

The Justice Department is reviewing the documents, the White House said Monday.

Turner, the top Republican of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, requesting a review of the situation, according to a release from the committee Tuesday.

“It has been reported that a portion of the materials at issue were marked ‘sensitive compartmented information,’ indicating the highest classification and most sensitive intelligence information in our government,” Turner wrote to Haines. “This discovery of classified information would put President Biden in potential violation of laws protecting national security, including the Espionage Act and Presidential Records Act.”

Jordan, chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said Monday that the American public deserved to know earlier about the classified documents.

“They knew about this a week before the election, maybe the American people should have known that,” Jordan told the Associated Press. “They certainly knew about the the raid on Mar-a-Lago 91 days before this election, but it would have been nice if on Nov. 2, the country would have known that there were classified documents at the Biden Center.”

The AP reported Tuesday that Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, said “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered as Biden’s personal attorneys were clearing out the offices of the Penn Biden Center, where the president kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019.

The documents were found on Nov. 2 last year in a “locked closet” in the office, Sauber said.

A person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly said Attorney General Merrick Garland asked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to review the matter after the archives referred the issue to the department, the AP reported.

Biden ignored shouted questions about the matter Tuesday during a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Mexico, the AP said.

Republicans have taken control of the House of Representatives and are promising to launch widespread investigations of Biden’s administration.

The revelation also may complicate the Justice Department’s consideration of whether to bring charges against former President Donald Trump, who is trying to win back the White House in 2024 and has repeatedly claimed the department’s inquiry into his own conduct amounted to “corruption.”

Sen. Mark Warner, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for a briefing on the Biden documents.

“Our system of classification exists in order to protect our most important national security secrets, and we expect to be briefed on what happened both at Mar-a-Lago and at the Biden office as part of our constitutional oversight obligations,” he said. “From what we know so far, the latter is about finding documents with markings, and turning them over, which is certainly different from a months-long effort to retain material actively being sought by the government. But again, that’s why we need to be briefed.”

Turner’s district now includes the city of Springfield and southern portions of Clark County. He is expected to become chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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