Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., criticized President Joe Biden on Sunday for his handling of classified documents after six additional items were found at the president’s home in Delaware.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Manchin called Biden “irresponsible” for placing documents in unsecured locations and expressed support for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision to appoint special counsel 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 he made 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 sure as hell didn’t intend for it 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 refused to endorse Biden if the president seeks 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 during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, saying he is “concerned” because of the process involved in viewing those 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 how I read it, when I finish reading it, he takes it back and puts it in the briefcase and leaves the place,” 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.”
Durbin, however, 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 after he left. the charge and was completely unaware. comply with a subpoena, prompting a search warrant to be executed in August.
Biden’s personal lawyer said Saturday that six additional items, including documents with classified marks, were found in the president’s home after Justice Department officials searched the residence. The search was driven by the White House, not the Justice Department, a White House official and a source familiar with the matter told NBC News.
This 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 DOJ has appointed special counsel Robert Hur, a former federal prosecutor who has worked with many Republicans throughout his law enforcement career, to oversee the investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents.