Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., criticized President Joe Biden on Sunday for his handling of classified documents after six more items were found at the president’s home in Delaware.
In an interview on NBC News’ «Meet the Press,» Manchin said Biden’s having classified documents in unsecured locations was «irresponsible» and expressed support for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to review the materials.
“Being accountable and accountable is what we all are,” Manchin said. “And putting them in unsafe spaces is irresponsible.
“It’s hard to believe that in the United States of America we have a former president and a current president who are basically in the same situation. How did this happen?» he said, adding that he recalls being asked if he was «clean» of secure documents upon leaving a compartmentalized confidential information facility.
Biden, Manchin continued, should admit to making mistakes after batches of classified records were found in recent weeks at his residence and a Washington office he used.
“We make mistakes,” he said. “I can tell you that I don’t think anybody intended, he certainly didn’t intend, for him to fall into the wrong hands and use it against our country. I know they didn’t mean for that to happen.»
Manchin added: “Could it have happened? I dont know. And yes, you could also say, ‘Listen, that’s irresponsible. It was something we should have had better control and balance on.'»
Asked if he will run for president in 2024, Manchin said: «Everything is on the table.» He has refused to endorse Biden should the president seek re-election.
«I haven’t decided anything I’m going to do until I see what the lay of the field is going to be at that point, because this country needs to come together,» Manchin said. “We have to get back together. We are not uniting. And he needs to bring in someone who can unite this country.»
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., one of Biden’s top allies, similarly rebuked Biden for his handling of classified documents in an interview Sunday on CNN’s «State of the Union.» , saying that he is «concerned» by the process involved in viewing. the records.
“There is a standard that we follow when it comes to members of Congress and classified information. My office door is closed. The person who presents me with the document takes it out of a closed briefcase, hands it to me, and watches as I read it. When I finish reading it and he takes it and puts it in the briefcase and leaves the scene,» Durbin said.
«I mean, that’s how carefully we reviewed these documents,» he said. «To think that any of them ended up in boxes stored in one place or another is just unacceptable.»
However, Durbin emphasized Biden’s promise to be «fully transparent» on the matter, in «stark contrast» to former President Donald Trump, who kept hundreds of classified records at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. after leaving office. and failed to fully comply with a subpoena, prompting a search warrant to be executed in August.
Biden’s personal attorney said Saturday that six more items, including documents with classified marks, were found at his home after Justice Department officials searched it. The search was driven by the White House, not the Justice Department, said a White House official and a source familiar with the matter.
Brings the total number of batches of records found to four. The discoveries, which leaked this month, include a «small number» in a locked cabinet in an office space at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, another set in the garage of the residence of Biden and six pages in a room next to the garage.
The Justice Department has appointed special counsel Robert Hur, a former federal prosecutor who has worked with many Republicans throughout his law enforcement career, to oversee the Biden investigation.