The US House Republican will pursue safeguards on classified documents

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairman of a key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Monday he would pursue bipartisan legislation to better ensure the proper handling of confidential documents in the White House when administrations leave office.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said it was essential that legislation be in place to ensure that classified material is not moved from the president’s and vice president’s offices to unprotected locations at the end of an administration.

Discovery of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and other sites, including President Joe Biden’s home in Delaware, led to the appointment of two different special advisers and raised national security fears .

Confidential documents were also discovered in the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence.

“We need to reform the way documents are canned as they leave the office of the president and vice president and follow them into the private sector,” Comer told a National Press Club forum.

“Someone needs to supervise all the documents that go into the boxes to make sure they’re not classified.”

Comer said he and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the oversight team, hope to have a bill in place before Biden leaves office. A spokesperson for Raskin was not immediately available for comment.

“We will work together in a bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution before this administration leaves and the next intel goes into office,” the Kentucky Republican added.

The Comer committee will hold a transcribed interview with National Archives General Counsel Gary Stern on Tuesday. The sessions follow a request from Comer to the National Archives for information about documents found in Biden’s possession.

The Republican, who has also searched for materials on lost documents at the White House and the Justice Department, said he wanted to know if any of the documents found in Biden’s home were handled by the President’s son Hunter Biden, a longtime target for allegations Republican flu peddling.

Comer said his panel will hold the first public hearing of its investigation into the Biden family business dealings on Feb. 8.

The House Oversight investigation is a distraction for Biden and could cast a shadow on the Democratic president as he prepares for a possible re-election bid in 2024.

The committee will hear testimony from three former employees of Twitter and the social platform’s handling of information about Hunter Biden.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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