The White House and the Secret Service said Monday that they do not keep visitor logs for President Joe Biden’s personal home in Wilmington, Delaware, despite a request from a top House Republican.
“His personal residence is personal, as it has been for every President in modern history,” White House counsel’s office spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement. “However, upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitor logs, including publishing them on a regular basis, which had been discontinued by the previous administration.”
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., asked White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain for the visitor logs in a letter sent Sunday as the Justice Department and House Republicans investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents during his time as vice president in the Obama administration. The White House confirmed on Saturday that more classified pages were discovered at Biden’s Delaware home than had previously been disclosed.
“Given the serious national security implications,” Comer wrote in his letter to Klain, “the White House must provide the Wilmington residence’s visitor log.”
“We don’t independently maintain our own visitor logs because it’s a private residence,” Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, echoing the White House. He went on to say that the Secret Service conducts background checks on those who come into contact with the Bidens at their homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, but that such documents are only kept for a limited time.
Guglielmi stated that the agency would cooperate with any information request from Congress.
The White House announced on Saturday that additional classified pages from the Obama administration had been discovered at Biden’s Wilmington home, in addition to the two batches revealed earlier in the week. Those documents were discovered in a Washington, D.C., office he previously used, his Wilmington home’s garage, and a room adjacent to the garage. The slow trickle has fueled the president’s critics while worrying allies that the problem is not being addressed quickly.
According to three sources familiar with the situation, Biden is frustrated with the reaction to the news and believes it was handled poorly.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as special counsel to oversee the investigation last week. The House Judiciary Committee, now led by Jim Jordan of Ohio in the new GOP-majority House, also announced an investigation on Friday.
Because of Hur’s appointment, both Biden and former President Donald Trump are under investigation by special counsels for their handling of classified materials after leaving office. Guglielmi stated on Monday that the Trump Organization does track arrivals and departures at Trump Tower in New York City and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, both of which the Secret Service has access to.
Biden’s allies have argued that his case differs significantly from Trump’s, primarily because Biden returned documents once they were discovered, whereas Trump did not fully comply with a subpoena and withheld some documents, prompting authorities to execute a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August.
“I mean, it’s totally different right now,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday, adding that, unlike Trump, Biden “isn’t saying that somehow magically when he thinks about classified documents that he can declassify them.”
“They aren’t going to defy subpoenas or require FBI raids to obtain the documents,” she added.
In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Comer was asked why his committee was focusing on Biden’s documents but not Trump’s.
“I don’t think we need to spend a lot of time investigating President Trump because the Democrats have done that for the past six years,” said Comer, who asked the White House on Friday whether Biden’s son Hunter Biden had access to classified materials at the president’s residence.
Comer told Fox News on Monday that he doubts the Secret Service has any records of who comes and goes from Biden’s home.
“You’d think that the Secret Service would vet people who would be allowed on the premises of the president’s residence,” he said. “So, you know, there are other areas that we’re going to look at,” he says.
Later Monday, the White House issued another statement in which it stated that House Republicans “lack credibility.”
“Their demands should be met with scepticism,” Sams said, adding that “President Biden is doing the right thing and cooperating fully with a thorough review, but House Republicans are playing politics in a shamelessly hypocritical attempt to attack President Biden.”