Rubio Demands Briefing on Mar-a-Lago Raid, Biden’s Classified Documents

Senator Marco Rubio, R-FL, and Senator Mark Warner, D-VA, are demanding answers from the Biden administration on the classified documents it has now seized from three White House alumni. The pair sent a bipartisan letter on behalf of the Senate Intel Committee, calling for immediate oversight of the FBI’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents.

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The letter is just the latest in a months-long standoff between the committee and the Intel Community, originating with the unprecedented Mar-a-Lago raid in August. Since the raid, the committee has expanded its requests to include reviewing documents taken from the residences of Joe Biden and Mike Pence. Rubio and Warner addressed their demands to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

“In a letter dated August 14, 2022, we wrote to you to request that you provide… all classified documents that were seized in the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence…

In a subsequent letter to Director Haines, dated January 11, 2023, we made a similar request with respect to the classified documents that were discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

As of this writing, neither of you have complied with these requests.”

“These matters are the highest priority of the Committee, and our oversight and authorization efforts will align accordingly,” they wrote in the letter.

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According to Politico, the Assistant Attorney General pledged to provide a briefing to committee members the following day. The senators, however, say that this is already long overdue.

The Department of Justice said it denied previous requests due to “longstanding policy… to maintain the confidentiality of information regarding open matters.” They further stated that the committee’s and agency’s interests “must be carefully balanced to protect the conduct and integrity of law enforcement investigations.”

Rubio and Warner hit back in their letter, stating, “The Department alone does not decide this balance.”

Almost six months after the raid on Mar-a-Lago, it is still unclear what documents were seized and whether they had any national security implications. The FBI seized more than 300 documents from Trump’s residency but has refused to share any specifics with the public or the committee.

“Our jurisdiction is clear, as are our responsibilities,” Rubio and Warner said in their statement. “Without access to the relevant classified documents, we cannot effectively oversee the efforts of the Intelligence Community to address potential risks to national security arising from the mishandling of this classified information.”

There may soon be an escalation if the DOJ does not comply with the committee’s demands. Rubio appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday to talk about the situation, calling it “untenable.” Senator Tom Cotton, R-AR, has suggested withholding funds and blocking Biden nominees until the DOJ complies. According to Politico, other lawmakers have proposed the same on both sides of the aisle.

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“Our request is not unprecedented… As we expressed previously, in light of the substantial public interest, the need for bipartisan and responsible oversight of these matters is at its highest. We urge your immediate compliance with our previous requests.”

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