Gang of Eight ‘flavored’ Trump, Pence and Biden documents, Himes says

The congressional leaders known as the “Gang of Eight” were given a “taste” of what the classified documents found at the properties of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, the Rep. Jim Himes, top. Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday.

The bipartisan group, made up of high-ranking lawmakers from the House and Senate, held its long-awaited first briefing on the issue on Tuesday. In a joint interview with Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Himes, D-Conn., expressed both dissatisfaction with the level of information they received.

When asked if there was a difference between the classification levels of the Biden, Trump, and Pence documents, Himes said “the group was not shown anything that would allow us to reach that conclusion,” adding that they only got a “taste” during . the briefing.

“We have to be a little careful here,” Himes said. “Neither of us is satisfied that we have received enough information to fulfill our primary responsibility of ensuring that the sources and methods are protected. We have more to learn before we’re happy with that.”

“After we got a taste, this is a very serious issue,” Himes said.

Turner, R-Ohio., indicated that the group is looking at the issue “holistically” regarding the classified documents.

“What do we have to do to fix this? How do we address this? What were the risks involved?,” Turner said. “We also have to understand that a risk assessment was not even being done without asking Congress. We started this. That’s part of the concern.”

During the interview, Turner also criticized the FBI for “not being forthcoming” when asked if lawmakers knew. what’s in the Trump, Biden and Pence documents.

“They are not giving us the information. They are claiming that it will affect the outcome of their investigation, which of course it cannot, because the people who are the targets of their investigation know what is in those documents,” said Turner.

One thing we do know, he said, is that “administration after administration has apparently been sloppy and messy in their use of classified documents, and that’s one thing on a bipartisan basis that we have to address in much longer than this.”

After the Feb. 28 preliminary classified intelligence meeting for the Gang of Eight, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said “it left a lot to be desired. “

“In line with our responsibility to oversee the Intelligence Community and protect our national security, we met today with leaders from the IC and the Department of Justice to discuss the disclosure of classified documents,” they said in a statement. “While today’s meeting helped shed some light on these issues, it left much to be desired and we will continue to press for full answers to our questions in accordance with our constitutional oversight obligations.”

White House spokesman Ian Sams said the White House supported the “independent” decisions of the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence regarding the whistleblowing.

“We support the decision of the Department of Justice and ODNI to be transparent and offer information to Congress,” Sams said in a statement. what we have said for months: that the White House trusts DOJ and ODNI to exercise independent judgment regarding whether or when it would be appropriate, for national security reasons, to offer briefings on any relevant information in these investigations.”

The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in August, returning a trove of top secret and other highly classified documents. Classified material from the Obama administration was found among Biden’s vice presidential papers in a Washington office in November, the White House acknowledged after CBS News first reported the discovery in January. ​​​​The Department of Justice found additional documents with classified markings at Biden’s Delaware home during a voluntary search. Also in January, Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, informed the National Archives about classified documents found at the former vice president’s home in Indiana. Jacobs said Pence ordered the search after Biden’s revelations.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed separate special counsels to investigate the Trump and Biden documents. He has not appointed a special counsel to review the Pence documents.

Trump has denied wrongdoing, claiming last year that he can declassify documents “just by thinking about it.” The White House has said that the president is cooperating fully with the Justice Department’s investigation, and Biden suggested that the team that packed the boxes at the end of the Obama administration was partly responsible.

Meanwhile, Pence’s lawyer said documents were being “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home at the end of the Trump administration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *