EXCLUSIVE: Legal scholar Jonathan Turley said Tuesday that President Biden’s classified documents debacle is further evidence he should release his Senate papers to the American public in the name of transparency.
Turley, a professor of public interest law at George Washington University and a practicing criminal defense attorney, shared concerns by Republican lawmakers that the documents from Biden’s time as a senator, which remain sealed at the University of Delaware, should be a top priority in investigating the president’s handling of classified documents.
“I have previously said that the Delaware documents should be the priority,” Turley told Fox News Digital. “Biden has steadfastly refused to allow the public access to his Senate records.”
“Since the President is pledging transparency, he can start by lifting his bar on public access to the Delaware documents,” he added.
US President Joe Biden walks to the Oval Office after returning to White House in Washington, DC on January 23, 2023.
(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
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Several GOP lawmakers are calling for a search of Biden’s documents, which were gifted to the University of Delaware after he left the Senate to become vice president, after the FBI searched the president’s personal residence in Wilmington, Delaware, and found another batch of classified documents.
At least five troves of classified documents have been discovered in insecure locations at Biden’s Wilmington home and the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., called for a search of the Delaware documents, telling Fox News Digital that the “American people are tired of the double standard and the two-tiered system of justice that is perpetuated by the current administration.”
“No stone should be left unturned and every single establishment that is associated with Joe Biden must be searched,” Van Drew said. “More documents are being revealed day by day, so they all must be examined in order for investigations to be thoroughly conducted.”
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Jonathan Turley on America’s Newsroom, Friday, April 22, 2022 discussing NY court decision striking down gerrymandered electoral maps.
Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., shared Van Drew’s sentiment and called for a search of Biden’s Senate documents, saying that just “as we didn’t know that President Biden had stored classified documents at the Penn Biden Center and at his Wilmington home, we don’t know if any of the papers Biden donated to the University of Delaware from his U.S. Senate days contain classified information.”
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, told Fox News Digital that Biden’s time chairing both the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees further complicates matters.
“It’s a little tricky because, of course, he was active on both the Judiciary at that time and I think the head of Foreign Relations,” he told Fox News Digital. “So that’s a concern because he would have access as the chair of that committee to classified documents.”
According to the University of Delaware’s webpage on access to the files, “President Biden donated his Senatorial papers to the University of Delaware pursuant to an agreement that prohibits the University from providing public access to those papers until they have been properly processed and archived.”
“The University is bound by, and will comply with, the agreement,” the page reads. “Until the archival process is complete and the collection is opened to the public, access is only available with President Biden’s express consent.”
“The records will be available no sooner than the later date of December 31, 2019, or two years after the donor retires from public life,” it adds.
Biden defended keeping the documents sealed in 2020 when he was pressed on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” about releasing them amid speculation they could contain information regarding allegations from Biden’s former Senate staffer Tara Reade that he sexually assaulted her in 1993.
US President Joe Biden helps First Lady Dr. Jill Biden exit Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday January 23, 2023.
(Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Biden denied the allegations and said that the Senate personnel files wouldn’t be in his papers. He would go on defending his decision not to release the Senate papers by saying, “There’s a lot of things that of speeches I’ve made, positions I’ve taken, interviews that I did overseas with people, all of those things relating to my job. And the idea that they would be made public and the fact while I was running for public office, they could be really taken out of context.”
“The papers are position papers, they are documents that existed and that for example when I go, when I met with Putin or when I met with whomever,” he said. “And all of that to be fodder in a campaign at this time.”
The White House did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment Tuesday.
The White House again declined Tuesday to say whether the Department of Justice will conduct a search of Biden’s residence in Rehoboth, Delaware, for classified documents.
Turley said it’s illogical that a search of the Rehoboth home hadn’t already occurred.
“In any event, there is ample reason for the FBI to search all of these additional locations,” he said. “There is no logical reason why the FBI would assume that the multiple locations of unlawful storage are the full extent of these violations.”
U.S. President Joe Biden walks to speak to reporters as he and first lady Jill Biden leave the White House and walk to Marine One on the South Lawn on December 27, 2022 in Washington, DC.
“The delay, let alone the failure, of carrying out these searches is baffling,” he said.
Republicans in the House Oversight and Judiciary committees have launched investigations into Biden’s handling of classified information.
While the White House has said no official visitor logs for Biden’s homes exist, Turley said witness testimonies, Secret Service records and other sources related to that information is “all fair game for oversight committees.”
“There are a host of questions unrelated to possible charges,” he said. “The timing of the disclosures, the communications with the White House, and false statements issued to the public are all fair game for oversight committee.”
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The Justice Department is also investigating Biden’s handling of documents, and Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Robert Hur, to review the matter.
Tobias said he doesn’t believe the investigation will result in an indictment.
“I think there was just carelessness or sloppiness or negligence maybe,” he said. “I don’t think anyone’s going to come forward with an indictment.”
“It’s hard to imagine knowing that [Biden] might get back into public service that he would, you know, squirrel away documents to use them. That seems implausible to me,” he continued.
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“I think they’re going to try to cooperate with the Justice Department as much as they can and try to get to closure,” he added. “But there have been a number of documents that have turned up in succession, I think, and that’s what concerns me.”
Fox News’ Houston Keene, Cameron Cawthorne and Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.