A prominent Democratic senator has criticized Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents days after files were found in the home of the current head of state in Delaware, calling his handling of sensitive materials “unacceptable”.
Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, appearing for an interview on Sunday, chided the president for his decisions – calling them careless and likening them to the actions of the president’s embattled predecessor, Donald Trump.
The documents, recovered Saturday from Biden’s Wilmington residence, range from his three-decade tenure in the Senate and his time as vice president, and reportedly bring the total number of classified files found to between 25 and 30.
It’s not immediately clear how many of the six documents revealed were top secret — although the DOJ searched the property for more than 12 hours, the president’s personal attorney said in a statement.
The long and winding trail of documents has raised concerns about the president’s decision-making as officials determine whether hoarding the documents in his garage — alongside his old Corvette — constitutes a national security violation.
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Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, appearing on CNN on Sunday, chided the president for his decisions, calling them lax and comparing them to the actions of his embattled predecessor
The documents, recovered from Biden’s Wilmington residence on Saturday, date from his three-decade tenure in the Senate and his time as vice president. The total number of classified files found in Biden’s private home reportedly increases to between 25 and 30
“To think that any of them ended up in boxes and warehouses in one place or another is just unacceptable.”
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) responds to FBI investigators finding additional classified material at President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. #CNNSOTU @CNNSotu pic.twitter.com/5zxXxiE5Gm
— CNN (@CNN) January 22, 2023
Speaking to Dana Bash on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Durbin condemned Biden’s behavior, saying it caused him to lose his moral “supremacy” over Trump – whose Mar-a-Lago home was recently raided by federal authorities .
“There is a standard that we follow when it comes to members of Congress and classified information,” Durbin said during the televised session, before detailing the actions of officials in his office when handling classified materials.
“The door to my office is closed. The person handing me the document takes it out of a locked briefcase, hands it to me, and watches me read it.
“When I finish reading it, he takes it back, puts it in his briefcase and leaves the crime scene. That’s how carefully we examine these documents,” Durbin continued.
“To think that any of them ended up in boxes somewhere in storage,” he continued, “is just unacceptable.”
Durbin, a 78-year-old progressive serving his fifth straight Senate term, went on to compare Biden’s ongoing debacle to Trump’s own classified documents crisis, which led to an FBI raid on his Florida mansion back in August.
While drawing parallels between the two situations, Durbin made it clear that he viewed Biden’s behavior as vastly different from that of former President Trump, citing the former’s apparent willingness to cooperate with federal investigators.
At least a few documents were found in Biden’s garage at his Wilmington home next to his old Corvette — a location Biden touted as “safe” last week.
“Joe Biden has said from the beginning we’re going to be completely transparent about this,” Durbin said. “Drop the chips where they can. I will voluntarily open my house for a search, not the first search, I’m sure, of his offices and his house. He has shown full cooperation in this effort.’
The elected official added, “This is in sharp contrast to President Trump.”
At that point, Bash stopped the senator and asked if Durbin was concerned after the recent discovery that Biden — who has poked fun at Trump’s mishandling of files recovered during the Mar-a-Lago raid — his “high standing” in this notion of ‘lost secret information’ to the former President.
Durbin responded by saying, “Of course,” before expanding on how far Biden — currently the subject of a DOJ investigation — has fallen.
During the interview, CNN’s Dana Bash (left) asked the senator that after the latest discovery, Durbin was concerned that Biden — who has poked fun at Trump’s abusive handling of files in the past — would sell his “high standing in this notion” to the lost ex. president
“Let’s be honest,” Durbin said, looking clearly concerned about the president’s current plight.
“If the information is found, it diminishes the reputation of anyone who has it. Because it’s not supposed to happen.
“Whether it was an employee’s fault or a lawyer’s fault,” he added, “it doesn’t matter. The elected official bears ultimate responsibility.”
Shortly before the DOJ’s discovery last week, Biden insisted his garage was a safe place in an exchange with a reporter following a series of discoveries by DOJ officials at his Delaware home, which in November led to an ongoing FBI -trigger investigation.
“Secret materials next to your Corvette? What did you think you were doing?’ Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked the President during a press briefing at the White House.
“My Corvette is in a locked garage, OK?” Biden responded, seemingly upset by the request. “It’s not like they’re sitting on the street”
“So it was in a locked garage?” Doocy insisted.
“Yeah, same as my Corvette,” Biden joked back.
The President is currently being investigated for his handling of classified records by a special counsel appointed by his own Attorney General, Merrick Garland.
Federal officials are considering conducting further searches of the commander in chief’s family home after six more items were discovered there during a search Saturday.
The news broke while Biden was at his Rehoboth Beach vacation home — and after Biden called Trump’s mishandling of files, hundreds of which were recovered from Mar-a-Lago, “irresponsible.”
Trump is currently the subject of a separate federal investigation, in part over his handling of classified records. The former head of state is believed to have lied to investigators about keeping the presidential papers in his private apartment, leading to an FBI raid on his home last summer.
Hundreds of allegedly top secret files were subsequently uncovered and seized as evidence by agents conducting the search. Trump has since been criticized by investigators for what appears to have been an attempt to thwart their investigation.
Biden, on the other hand, said he is taking the investigation “seriously” and is working with officials at the Justice Department and the National Archives at every step.
But Republican critics of the Democratic president have questioned that after this weekend’s discovery — the magnitude of which remains to be seen.
‘AGAIN?!? How the HELL do they keep screwing this up? As Biden keeps saying, “Everyone knows how seriously I take classified documents.” Yes. Yes we do,” Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter.
Biden at his Rehoboth Beach property this weekend while more classified files were found at his Wilmington home
Republican Representative Scott Perry, a member of the House Oversight Committee, echoed Biden’s own words: “Everyone knows how seriously I take classified documents.”
“I think the key words here were, ‘I take,'” Perry wrote.
Other Republicans have similarly clamored for the president to face legal action amid the growing scandal.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer said his investigation into the Biden family is moving to the “next phase,” which will reportedly involve both the president’s classified documents and finances — along with those of his son Hunter Biden .
“We look at the bank statements. We’ll look into bank violations,” Comer told the Washington Examiner.
“That’s the next phase of our investigation because we’re trying to find out who these anonymous sources are that are sending so much money to the Biden family’s schemes – the Biden Center for Diplomacy and the Hunter Biden artwork.”
Saturday’s discovery in Wilmington came just four days after Biden insisted he had “no regrets” about handling classified files.