WASHINGTON — House Republicans are trying to figure out how to force the White House to disclose visitor logs from President Biden’s Delaware residences after the revelation that he stashed classified documents in the garage and at least one other room of his Wilmington home.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) demanded the records Friday in what could be a prelude to a binding congressional order.
“In light of the Biden family’s suspicious business schemes with foreign adversaries, Americans need to know who has visited President Biden’s Wilmington residence and had access to the stashed classified documents that sat in Biden’s garage,” Comer wrote in a letter to White House Counsel Stuart Delery.
“The White House needs to release visitor logs to the public and bring transparency to this administration,” the chairman added.
No. 4 House Republican Elise Stefanik of New York is also weighing formal actions to make the logs public after demanding the information in a prior interview with The Post, according to an aide.
The Secret Service told The Post in October that it had found “no responsive records” in response to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking visitor logs from Biden’s homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach.
White House spokespeople have defended Biden’s decision not to release visitor information, arguing in part that they mostly would show “the comings and goings of the president’s grandchildren.”
Presidents can pick and choose what they reveal about White House visitor logs thanks to a 2013 DC Circuit appeals court ruling written by then-Judge Merrick Garland, who now serves as Biden’s attorney general. Garland wrote for a three-judge panel that the president’s constitutional right to confidential communications means that FOIA doesn’t apply to visitor logs kept by the Secret Service — even though they otherwise would seem to meet the definition of “agency records.”
Garland’s ruling on White House visitor logs, however, has not been ratified by the Supreme Court, meaning that federal courts outside of DC are able to rule differently. The ruling also said nothing about Congress obtaining the records as part of its oversight duties.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a member of the House judiciary and foreign affairs committees, also sent a letter directly to Biden on Friday asking for the visitor records.
“Today, I sent a letter to President Biden urging him to provide transparency and release visitor records from his Wilmington, Delaware residence in the wake of the recent disclosures that he used his personal residence’s garage to store classified and sensitive documents,” Buck said in a statement.
“As a matter of national security and transparency, the public deserves to know who visited this residence and had access to these unsecured, classified documents.”
The House Judiciary Committee joined the fray as well on Friday, with chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) demanding from the Justice Department “all documents and communications referring to or relating to the physical storage of material with classified markings found at the Penn Biden Center and the Biden residence in Wilmington, Del.”
The Justice Department and a White House lawyer disclosed Thursday that classified documents were recovered from the Wilmington home — where Biden will return Friday afternoon for his 52nd visit since taking office less than two years ago.
First son Hunter Biden listed the Wilmington, Del., residence as his home on a 2018 background check form and it’s unclear if he has brought any associates to visit his father there — after introducing his dad to contacts from China, Mexico and Ukraine on official trips, at the vice president’s residence and at a 2015 DC restaurant gathering.
Biden admitted Thursday that the records were found next to his prized Corvette, but defended himself by saying, “My Corvette is in a locked garage, OK? So it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street.”
The White House previously disclosed Monday that classified documents dating to Biden’s vice presidency were found Nov. 2 at his former office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, which opened in 2018. There reportedly were 10 documents in that cache, including papers labeled “top secret” that dealt with Iran, Ukraine and the UK.
It’s unclear how many documents were recovered in Delaware. Some were found Dec. 20, the authorities said, and at least one record was discovered later on Wednesday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed a special counsel, Robert Hur, to investigate whether Biden criminally mishandled classified documents during his vice presidency and in the years that followed.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday insisted repeatedly that the Biden administration had been “transparent” about the classified-documents controversy.
But Jean-Pierre was pressed by reporters on the fact that Biden kept the discovery under wraps for months and deflected reporter questions about Delaware visitor logs.
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre at her regular briefing Thursday, “When will the White House release a log of visitors to the Wilmington house?”
Jean-Pierre didn’t directly answer, but pointed out that Biden restored the partial release of West Wing logs, which was not done by former President Donald Trump.
“We did something that the last administration got rid of, which is instituting the White House logs,” she said.
Jean-Pierre cut off a reporter for The Post’s attempt to follow up, saying, “I’m sorry, I was calling the gentleman who wanted to ask a question that was not related to this.”