WASHINGTON — The White House counsel’s office said Monday that no visitor logs are kept at President Joe Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware, thwarting one Republican effort to find out who might have visited the home while classified documents have been stored there.
On Sunday, Representative James Comer, the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked Ron Klain, Biden’s White House chief of staff, in a letter for information on the searches for the documents at Biden’s office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington and at Biden’s home, including lists of who visited the residence since he became president nearly two years ago.
“Like every president across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,” the counsel’s office said in a statement. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”
The Secret Service also said that while a security detail is assigned to the home, it does not track who comes and goes.
“We don’t independently maintain our own visitor logs because it’s a private residence,” a Secret Service spokesperson said.
Newly empowered House Republicans have been demanding more information about who might have had access to classified documents from Biden’s vice presidency that ended in 2017 that were discovered at his Washington think tank office where he worked occasionally and at his Delaware home.
Biden has said he was surprised that any classified documents — about 20 in all — were found at locations linked to him.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the top U.S. law enforcement official, has named two special counsels, one to investigate how Biden and his aides handled the classified documents as he left the vice presidency and one to investigate how former President Donald Trump took more than 300 classified documents with him to Mar-a-Lago, his oceanside retreat in Florida, when his presidency ended two years ago.
Biden has turned over the documents recovered at locations linked to him to the National Archives and Records Administration, as required by law. In both instances, the Trump and Biden documents should have been turned over when their terms in office ended.
Meanwhile, Trump, at the request of the National Archives, returned some documents months after he left office, but when officials came to believe he still had more classified materials at Mar-a-Lago, they secured court approval for a search of the property in August and recovered dozens more documents.
Comer’s request Sunday for the visitor logs came a day after the White House said Biden’s aides had found five additional pages of classified material at his home, in addition to an earlier disclosure that other documents had been found in the garage at the residence and at the Washington office Biden occasionally used before running for president in 2020.
Republicans, who reclaimed narrow control of the House of Representatives in November’s nationwide congressional elections, have assailed Biden for not acknowledging the existence of the classified documents from his vice presidency until last week even though the cache at his office was discovered in early November, just days before the elections.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” show Sunday, Comer said he was not accusing Biden of wrongdoing, but added, “I will accuse the Biden administration of not being transparent” in not confirming that the classified documents had been discovered until after CBS News first reported it.
“The hypocrisy here is great,” Comer said about Biden attacking Trump for his document cache and then not confirming his own until weeks after the election, the disclosure of which could have influenced voting.
The White House, seeking to minimize the political fallout from the disclosure of the classified material found at Biden locations, has noted that it is fully cooperating with the investigation of his documents while Trump has decried the probe of the material found at Mar-a-Lago.