Senate Democrats called President Biden’s handling of classified documents “unacceptable” and “irresponsible” on Sunday, a day after the White House confirmed that even more sensitive materials were discovered at the commander-in-chief’s Delaware home.
“To think that any of them ended up in boxes in storage one place or the other is just unacceptable,” Sen. Dick Durbin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he’s astonished that Biden and former President Donald Trump are both caught up in scandals involving classified documents, asking “How does this happen?”
Manchin said in his experience, after viewing classified documents in specially secured rooms, — known as SCIFs, or a sensitive compartmented information facility — officials always check to make sure you are “clean” when you leave.
“They want to make sure you’re not carrying anything out. You know, and it might be a mistake. You might just put it in your other papers, but you double-check right there. To be held accountable and responsible is what we all are. And to put those in unsecured spaces is irresponsible,” Manchin said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Asked about Biden’s comment from Friday that he has “no regrets” about not revealing that classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center on Nov. 2, just days before the midterm elections, Manchin said the president should have “regrets.”
The latest on President Biden’s classified docs scandal
“I think he should have a lot of regrets,” the West Virginia Democrat said.
Biden should hold whoever is responsible for overseeing the documents accountable, Manchin said, while acknowledging that ultimately the person in charge is at fault.
“If I hold people accountable and I use — whether it be my chief of staff or my staff that were doing this — then I’m going to hold someone accountable, but basically the buck stops with me,” Manchin said.
Durbin was asked on CNN if the new revelations about the classified documents found at the Biden think tank and at his home in Delaware mean that the president has lost the “high ground” when it comes to comparisons between him and Trump after boxes of classified materials were discovered by FBI agents in a raid on Mar-a-Lago last August.
“Of course. Let’s be honest about it,” Durbin said.
“When that information is found, it diminishes the stature of any person who is in possession of it, because it’s not supposed to happen. Whether it was the fault of a staffer or attorney, it makes no difference. The elected official bears ultimate responsibility,” he said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed special counsels to investigate the Biden and Trump classified document cases.
According to a poll released Sunday, Americans think Biden and Trump both acted inappropriately in their handling of classified files.
The ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 77% believe Trump acted inappropriately, while 64% say the same about Biden.