The discovery of classified documents inside President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home means it might be time to consider changes to the rules related to visiting a president’s home, a Republican lawmaker told Fox News Digital on Monday.
The White House Counsel’s Office said Monday that no visitor logs exist related to Biden’s home in Delaware, saying that like other presidents, Biden’s “personal residence is personal.”
But Republicans say the existence of classified documents in Delaware means it’s important to know who had access to Biden’s home and when. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., told Fox News Digital that Congress may need to look at strengthening the rules surrounding these visits, especially with so many examples of classified documents turning up in the homes of high-level officials.
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“If this is so pervasive that these documents are being found in so many locations, then it does become a question of who has access not just to the documents but to the residences of presidents and former presidents,” Cline said. “These are becoming more than just rare exceptions, and we have to start looking at making sure that national security is protected.”
Cline said strengthening the rules about logging in visitors might be a start.
“I think that that’s a reasonable demand given the fact that this is stretching beyond the exception,” he said. “It’s becoming a more commonplace occurrence to see these documents popping up. We have to put protections in place to make sure our national security is protected, and those visitor logs may be the first step in what needs to be done.”
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Last summer, former President Donald Trump’s Florida home was raided to recover documents, and many Democrats said Biden’s more recent scandal is less serious because he has been working with authorities. But Republicans say the story of how they were uncovered is still not clear, and they also note that Trump as president was authorized to declassify documents while Biden as vice president was not.
For that same reason, Cline dismissed the argument that either the Biden documents or Hillary Clinton’s classified emails are similar to Trump’s situation.
“There are different rules affecting different officials,” he said. “The president has a greater latitude when it comes to those secure documents.”
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Cline said that it appears based on press reports that President Biden’s son, Hunter, had access to the Biden home, and he said Republicans have several outstanding questions about who else might have had access to them. He said there are questions about how the documents got there.
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“To get to that location, they had to have been moved several times,” Cline said. “The president, when he was vice president, was not allowed to move top-secret documents from … the secure location where they were stored.”