Comer subpoenas former White House counsel in classified documents probe

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House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) on Monday issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Dana Remus in connection to the committee’s investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents from his time as vice president.

Comer is asking Remus to sit for a deposition for the committee’s probe over the classified documents found at Biden’s home and an old office.

He is also requesting transcribed interviews with four White House employees: Annie Tomasini, Anthony Bernal, Katharine Reilly and Ashley Williams.

Comer, in the subpoena, says Remus had “knowledge of why White House personnel began to visit with frequency Penn Biden Center in 2022, where classified materials, including materials related to Ukraine, were later discovered.”

Classified documents stemming from Biden’s time as vice president have been found at his Wilmington, Del., residence and at a University of Pennsylvania office in Washington, D.C., that Biden used after the end of the Obama administration.

Those documents were found by officials clearing out the office last November, according to the White House, but it was not publicly disclosed until January.

Attorney General Merrick Garland in January appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to look into the matter, and the White House confirmed earlier this month that Biden sat for an interview with Hur in connection to the investigation.

The subpoena says that the Oversight Committee is looking for answers on the timeline of events leading up to the date the White House said the classified documents were discovered. 

At the center of the subpoena is the question of why Remus contacted Kathy Chung, a Defense Department employee who was an assistant to Biden when he was vice president, in May 2022 about classified documents.

“Specifically, the Committee seeks clarification regarding the timeline of events prior to November 2, 2022 (the day, according to the White House and the President Biden’s personal attorney, documents were discovered at Penn Biden Center), the security of the documents in the Penn Biden Center before and after Ms. Chung packed them, and President Biden’s history of potentially mishandling classified material,” according to the subpoena. 

The subpoena also questioned why Remus was involved. Remus served as White House counsel between Biden’s swearing in and July 2022. 

“The Committee questions why—if there is a valid reason why White House Counsel would be the appropriate coordinator of this task—the President’s personal attorneys assumed responsibility for the task after your departure in July 2022, instead of your successor as White House Counsel,” according to the subpoena. 

“Facts continue to emerge showing that the White House’s narrative of President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents doesn’t add up,” Comer said in a statement.

“It is imperative to learn whether President Biden retained sensitive documents related to any countries involving his family’s foreign business dealings that brought in millions for the Biden family,” he added.

Ian Sams, the White House’s oversight spokesperson, dismissed the subpoenas as “the latest example of House Republicans’ extreme efforts to undermine the rule of law and interfere in ongoing Justice Department investigations.”

“Instead of doing their jobs to fund the government and avoid yet another extreme and dangerous government shutdown of their own making, House Republicans are focused on a baseless fishing expedition just to try to smear the President for political purposes,” Sams said.

House Judiciary Committee Democrats similarly slammed the move in a social media post, saying that the House GOP should be focused on avoiding a government shutdown.

“Instead of trying to prevent a government shutdown that threatens to tank our economy and hurt working families, MAGA Republicans are writing (more) strongly worded letters. Why aren’t they focusing on the priorities of everyday Americans?” they wrote in the post on X, formerly Twitter.

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