White House refuses to say if Biden would sit for interview with special counsel in classified records probe

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The White House on Tuesday refused to say whether President Joe Biden would sit for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur if asked as part of the investigation into his improper retention of classified records.

Classified records were found inside the Washington, D.C., offices of the Penn Biden Center think tank on Nov. 2, 2022, but only disd to the public last week.

A second stash of classified documents was also found last week inside the garage of the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, prompting Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint former U.S. Attorney Robert Hurt as special counsel to investigate the matter. Over the weekend, additional classified documents were found in the president’s home.

In a call with reporters Tuesday, White House officials maintained the president’s commitment to cooperating with the Justice Department and the special counsel’s investigation, but they refused to answer when asked whether Biden would sit for an interview as part of that probe if asked.

EXCLUSIVE: WHITE HOUSE SLAMS HOUSE GOP’S ‘HYPOCRITICAL’ INVESTIGATIONS INTO BIDEN’S RETENTION OF CLASSIFIED RECORDS

White House refuses to say if Biden would sit for interview with special counsel in classified records probe

It’s not clear if President Biden would agree to sit with DOJ officials investigating his improper possession of classified documents.
(AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster / File)

“We’re not going to get ahead of that and speculate what he may or may not ask for,” White House Counsel’s Office spokesman Ian Sams said Tuesday. “I’m not going to comment on that and would refer you to the Justice Department on that process and their thinking on how to conduct their investigation.”

Sams said the president “takes classified information seriously,” and when classified documents were discovered in November, Biden “directed his team to ensure any materials be returned to the government.”

“The president is committed to doing the responsible thing and handling this appropriately,” Sams said. He said the White House and Biden’s legal team “acted promptly to dis information to the proper authorities.”

Sams said the White House was limited in its ability to respond, given the Justice Department’s review and the special counsel’s investigation, but vowed to continue to provide to the public “as much information as appropriate.”

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR: TIMELINE OF BIDEN’S CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS DEBACLE

When asked for the number of classified records found and for the contents of those records, Sams said he could not address that, as the records “have been turned over to proper authorities and will be part of the ongoing investigation.”

White House refuses to say if Biden would sit for interview with special counsel in classified records probe

Special Counsel Robert Hur is investigating Biden’s documents.
(Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

As for whether the White House feels it was necessary for Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter, given the Justice Department’s review and the president’s alleged cooperation with that review, Sams pointed to Biden’s commitment for an independent Justice Department.

“This was a decision for the attorney general to make independently, and we were made aware by his announcement that this was done,” Sams said. “We are committed to fully cooperating with the special counsel.”

Sams added that the president “ran on” the premise of “restoring strength of the Justice Department” and ensuring that the attorney general could act independently of the White House.

“The attorney general made this decision and the president’s team and lawyers are going to be fully cooperative throughout this investigation,” Sams said.

WHITE HOUSE SAYS IT’S BEING TRANSPARENT ABOUT CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS DESPITE KEEPING UNDER WRAPS FOR MONTHS

On Nov. 18, Garland appointed former DOJ official Jack Smith as special counsel to investigate the issue of classified records being held at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

White House refuses to say if Biden would sit for interview with special counsel in classified records probe

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland
(Olivier Douliery / AFP via Getty Images / File)

When he appointed Smith, Garland and top DOJ officials were simultaneously conducting an internal review of Biden’s mishandling of classified records. That review, and the discovery of classified records at Biden’s office, was not disd to the public until last week.

AG GARLAND APPOINTS SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE BIDEN CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS

Meanwhile, the White House has been fielding requests from Congress from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., and others, and it has repeatedly slammed those GOP inquiries as “hypocritical.”

“We intend to respond to Congress in good faith,” Sams said, adding that the White House also expects House Republicans to “use good faith.”

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“We’re going to call it out when we see rampant hypocrisy,” Sams continued, noting that the White House will continue to review congressional requests. “But our commitment is to work in good faith with Congress.”

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