Key members of Congress have been granted access to classified documents found at locations linked to President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence, according to multiple reports on Tuesday.
The Biden administration began sharing the materials with the “Gang of Eight,” which includes House and Senate leaders and the top members of each chamber’s intelligence committee, last week in a “rolling production,” a source told CNN.
Lawmakers have been briefed on the documents in the past but voiced frustration with what they said was a lack of transparency that hindered their ability to perform oversight.
Two “Gang of Eight” members, Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL), have been particularly vocal, citing concerns about national security. A meeting in February with the Justice Department and leaders of the U.S. intelligence community “left much to be desired,” they said in a joint statement at the time.
Biden’s and Trump’s handling of classified documents is each under investigation by two separate special counsels appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
FBI agents seized more than 100 classified documents stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last summer in an escalation from negotiations that had taken place during the preceding months.
Biden’s team said they found about ten records marked classified while clearing out Biden’s office at a D.C. think tank in the days before the 2022 midterms, although that discovery was not made public until January when CBS News broke the story of a Department of Justice inquiry. Since then, searches by Biden’s lawyers and the FBI have taken place at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and his beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware, which have turned up more materials of interest to investigators.
Documents with classified markings were also found at Pence’s home in Indiana.
The discovery of these classified documents prompted the National Archives to call on other former presidents and vice presidents to check for such materials. The agency is tasked with taking custody of presidential and vice presidential records at the end of an administration under the Presidential Records Act.
Some of the documents found in locations linked to Biden date back not only to his time as vice president but also to his tenure as a U.S. senator.