Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) conceded Sunday that it is “embarrassing” that President Joe Biden was in possession of classified documents but asserted that his situation is different than former President Donald Trump’s.
“It’s certainly embarrassing,” Stabenow told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “It’s embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents, certainly not on purpose. They don’t think it’s the right thing and they have been moving to correct it, working with the Department of Justice, working with everyone involved with the archives. It’s one of those moments that obviously they wish hadn’t happened.”
A member of Senate Democratic leadership, Stabenow then asserted, without evidence, that GOP-led investigations into Biden would cause problems for the U.S. economy.
“What I’m most concerned about, this is the kind of thing that the Republicans love,” Stabenow said. “’Let’s talk about investigations, let’s create chaos. Let’s not talk about the fact that we have a manufacturing renaissance going on in this country, more jobs created, lower unemployment rate, higher wages.’ And what [Republicans] are proposing to do would interfere with that, would really put us on the edge economically.”
Republican leaders, including House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have vowed multiple investigations into the Biden document incident and whether it is connected to his son Hunter Biden’s overseas business deals. At the same time, McCarthy and others have expressed outrage regarding how Trump’s Mar-a-Lago was searched by FBI agents last year as they attempted to find classified materials amid a legal dispute with the National Archives.
A tranche of classified records during Biden’s time as vice president were recovered by Biden’s lawyers on Nov. 2 at the Penn Biden Center in Washington that had served as his office between 2017 and 2019. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced last week that he appointed a special counsel, former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur, to investigate the matter.
Days later, White House lawyers confirmed they located a “small number of additional Obama-Biden administration records with classified markings” at Biden’s garage in Wilmington, Delaware. On Saturday, special counsel Richard Sauber said he found five pages of classified records at his Wilmington home on Saturday.
Delaware Visitor Logs
On Sunday, Comer asked White House chief of staff Ron Klain to produce visitor logs for Biden’s home in Delaware. Last week, Comer and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) indicated they’re investigating Biden and sought documents and communications from the White House’s counsel and the Department of Justice.
“Without a list of individuals who have visited his residence, the American people will never know who had access to these highly sensitive documents,” Comer said in the letter.
There is no legal requirement that U.S. presidents disclose visitors at their home or at the White House. The Biden administration reinstated disclosures of official guests to the White House and released its first batch of records in May 2021. Former President Donald Trump had suspended the practice shortly after he took office in 2017.
The White House has promised to cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation and says the documents were inadvertently misplaced. It has declined to elaborate, citing the Justice Department probe.
In his announcement, Garland said Hur, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Maryland under Trump, will act as a quasi-independent prosecutor to determine whether classified records from Biden’s time as vice president had been improperly stored at his residence in Delaware and a think tank in Washington. Hur, he added, will examine “whether any person or entity violated the law.”
In September, Biden called Trump’s handling of classified documents “totally irresponsible.” The former president, responding to the latest developments on his Truth Social platform, questioned when Biden’s homes would be searched. Trump announced his own reelection bid last year.
Earlier this month, Stabenow, 72, announced she would not be seeking reelection in 2024.
“For the next two years, I am intensely focused on continuing this important work to improve the lives of Michiganders. This includes leading the passage of the next five-year Farm Bill which determines our nation’s food and agriculture policies. It is also key in protecting our land and water and creating jobs in our rural and urban communities,” she said in her announcement.
Reuters contributed to this report.