North Dakota Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong pushed back Wednesday against CNN’s Alisyn Camerota after Camerota appeared to downplay concerns about the classified documents from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president.
Biden’s personal attorneys allegedly discovered several classified documents while packing files and subsequently notified the National Archives and Records Administration, CNN reported Tuesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter. Several of the classified documents allegedly held materials related to Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom. Biden was reportedly unaware that the documents had been found at the office and was notified via the White House counsel’s office.
The GOP-led House on Tuesday created of a new oversight committee to investigate the “weaponization” of federal agencies like the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ).
“I know that you, in particular, want Congress to investigate the FBI and the DOJ,” Camerota said. “Do you worry that by investigating the FBI it will impact the morale of the agents and the work that they do?” (RELATED: ‘They Want To Disable Oversight’: Vince Coglianese Breaks Down ‘Stunt’ Story About Biden And Secret Documents)
“I worry that it’s already happened,” Armstrong said. “These are really serious issues and we need to investigate and deal with it, and we’ve had FBI whistleblowers already come forward, and there’s a real serious problem in leadership, and just changing a regulation isn’t going to solve it.”
Camerota then brought up the classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president that were found at a private office and asked whether there were any differences between Biden’s case and that of former President Donald Trump. An Aug. 2022 FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence recovered several sets of classified documents.
“I will tell you one big difference,” Armstrong said. “It was discovered on both prior to the [November midterm] election but only one was disclosed prior to the election, and this isn’t the first time that has happened either, whether it’s censoring the New York Post, 100 different people. We obviously know DOJ was coordinating heavily. Big government was coordinating with Big Tech in order to suppress certain things.”
“My knee-jerk concern is the difference in timing,” Armstrong continued.
Camerota then said that the two cases were not comparable because Trump’s possession of the documents only became public after “the National Archives spent more than a year trying to get the documents” and “finally had to make a public statement.” Armstrong agreed there are differences to the cases but argued that “there seems to be a pattern of conduct … the closer we get to the election, the less stuff is disclosed on one side.”
“Nobody can argue that it happens on an even-keel basis, because I’ve been here for four years and that’s just not the truth,” Armstrong said.
“President Trump didn’t disclose all the ones that he had either,” Camerota said. “I don’t think that in terms of nondisclosure around a midterm, that that’s a necessarily good analogy.”
Armstrong isn’t the only one to raise concerns about the timing of when the Biden documents were made public. CNN’s own Kaitlan Collins, formerly a reporter for the Daily Caller, questioned Democratic New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill about whether it was concerning that authorities knew of this story prior to the midterm elections but waited months to reveal it to the public.
“Does it concern you that this happened, though, the day before the midterm elections? That’s when these documents were found, and we’re just now finding out about it” Collins said.
“That does concern me,” Sherrill responded. “This has to be a very transparent process.”
NBC’s Justice and Intelligence correspondent Ken Dilanian also asked Tuesday why the administration waited months to inform the American public.