The White House said on Tuesday it will respond in “good faith” to inquiries from the House Oversight Committee over the improper storage of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s home and a think tank office.
On Saturday, Jan. 14, the president’s counsel said five additional pages with classified markings were discovered at the president’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, and said they were immediately handed to Justice Department officials.
Aides previously found another batch of classified documents at his residence, and at a Washington think tank where he had an office after his time as vice president in the Barack Obama administration. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has named a special counsel to probe the issue.
The White House has largely been on the defensive since the initial revelations that the documents had been found.
On Tuesday, however, it held a briefing with a spokesman who is working with the White House counsel’s office, which appeared designed in part to reclaim the offensive by pointing out what it sees as Republican hypocrisy on the issue.
White House spokesman Ian Sams told reporters that regular public disclosure about the issue during a Justice Department investigation posed risks that answers provided on a periodic basis may be incomplete.
“We understand that there’s a tension between the need to be cooperative with an ongoing DOJ investigation and the rightful demands for additional public information, and so we’re trying to strike that balance,” Sams said.
He also said the White House has received a “few letters” from the House Oversight Committee on the issue, is reviewing them and will make a determination about its response in due course.
The Justice Department is separately probing former President Donald Trump’s handling of highly sensitive classified documents that he retained at his Florida resort after leaving the White House in January 2021.
Sams criticized Republicans for having different responses to the disclosures about Trump and about Biden.
“These are the same Republicans who didn’t make a peep,” about Trump’s handling of classified material, Sams said. “And if they did make a peep, they often defended it.”