Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN Sunday that President Joe Biden’s handling of the classified documents is “irresponsible.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) found six additional items with classification markings during a search at the president’s Delaware residence, according to a Saturday announcement from Biden’s personal counsel Robert Sauber. Officials with the DOJ investigated Biden’s home after his lawyers discovered ten classified documents at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2 and at the home on Dec. 20, Jan. 11 and Jan. 12.
The president defended his possession of the classified material, saying “there is no there-there.” Manchin said these findings are “unbelievable” and expressed support for a special counsel investigation.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Manchin told CNN anchor Dana Bash. “It is unbelievable how this could happen. It’s totally irresponsible and who’s at fault. But, with that being said, putting it in a political kangaroo court is not going to help. What should be done is exactly what Merrick Garland did with the special counsel. Let’s wait and see. Some people are taking sides, like well okay, it was more egregious than what President Trump did and what President Biden did, and maybe that’s true, I don’t know. Maybe it’s not true.”
“I’m willing to find out from the people that are looking at it, finding all these different documents and looking at the classification and if it’s harmful, could’ve been harmful or was it harmful, and make the determinations,” he continued.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed special counsel Robert Hur to investigate the president’s possible mishandling of classified material. The appointment occurred hours after the discovery of a second tranche of documents inside the president’s garage in Delaware. (RELATED: Rep. Jim Jordan Demands Biden Administration Provide Documents About Special Counsel Appointment)
Biden told reporters in Mexico City that he was “surprised” to learn that classified documents were found inside his home. He and the White House vowed to cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation into the documents.
Senate Democrats have been quick to contrast the Biden investigation to the seizure of classified materials at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made the distinction after calling on the administration to brief his committee on which documents were in Biden’s possession, according to The Hill.
Democrats are commending the president for immediately turning over the documents to the DOJ for review, unlike Trump who had over 300 classified documents in his possession after being subpoenaed by the Justice Department, The Hill reported. The FBI raided his Mar-A-Lago home in August after the former president did not return documents to the National Archives and Records Administration.