Democrats express alarm over Biden classified docs: ‘I’m very concerned’

Democrats are expressing alarm over President Biden’s classified documents controversy, with some criticizing the president as diminished in stature and his staff as irresponsible.

“I’m very concerned,” said Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), one of several incumbent Democrats who face potentially difficult reelection races next year in reliably GOP states in presidential elections.

“We have to get to the bottom of it to find out what the hell happened, why it happened,” he said.

“This is about national security,” Tester added, saying investigators need to find out if “it put our national security at risk.”

Biden’s January has been submerged in revelation after revelation of classified documents found at his former office and home. Most recently, 11 more documents were found during a search at Biden’s Wilmington, Del., home on Friday.

The drip-drip-drip nature of the findings has left Democrats and Republicans alike wondering whether there will be more documents found and has left the White House looking off-balance at times.

Biden emerged from the 2022 midterms in a stronger position after Democrats gained a seat in the Senate and held down their losses in the House. Democrats still see Biden as their most likely standard-bearer, and lawmakers in his party have been quick to contrast his handling of classified documents with former President Trump — who is dealing with his own controversy.

At the same time, there’s little doubt the issue has raised some questions for Biden and the White House just as his team prepared to move forward with an expected presidential announcement later this year.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who like Tester is up for reelection next year in a state that Trump won easily in 2020, blasted the lax handling of secret information as “unbelievable” and “totally irresponsible.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Sept. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Biden’s attempt to dismiss the building scandal last week by asserting “there’s no there there” also drew a barb from Manchin.

He told CNN on Monday “that’s just not a good statement,” adding “we just don’t know” what secrets may have been compromised.

Criticism from Manchin is hardly unheard of, but Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who represents a safer state for Democrats, was also somewhat critical on Sunday. He said the controversy “diminishes” Biden and noted the president rightly felt “embarrassed by the situation.”

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.)

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) on November 15, 2022. (Greg Nash)

Durbin on Monday said of the White House: “They were not careful in handling classified documents.”

“When I think of how we deal with them in the Capitol in comparison, whoever was responsible for it didn’t follow the basic rules,” Durbin said of the handling of classified documents.

Durbin said he never took a classified document out of his office, “let alone out of the building.”

Yet Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stopped short of speculating whether Biden committed a potential crime, telling reporters: “I wouldn’t go that far.”

House Republicans are saber-rattling over the issue, signaling they intend to use their newly won oversight powers to look into the Biden documents story in a more aggressive way than they looked into Trump’s controversy.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the new chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, has requested that the Secret Service hand over all the information it has on visitors to Biden’s Delaware home in the time since he served as vice president.

The request — made to Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle on Monday — came after Comer demanded that visitor logs for the residence be turned over. The White House said last week that such records do not exist.

Later on Monday, White House counsel Stuart Delery wrote to Comer that the administration does not have possession of the documents the National Archives and Department of Justice have taken as part of the investigation into Biden’s handling of classified materials.

Delery pledged to “accommodate legitimate oversight interests” in response to Comer’s request.

One GOP strategist said Republicans will go after Biden aggressively given the Trump controversy.

“The House is going to have a field day with investigations because of the fact that the Biden administration has been so outspoken criticizing Trump for the exact thing,” said Brian Darling, a former Senate aide.

Darling said the House could vote on articles of impeachment if the special prosecutor or House investigators find Biden broken the law or jeopardized national security.

“It’s possible. It depends on how the hearings go in the House. I think it’s quite possible that there will be discussion about impeachment because Democrats seemed so open to the idea of impeachment against President Trump and we’ve seen a lot of the payback from many of the things that happened when Democrats controlled the House, like kicking members off committees,” he said.

Durbin told reporters he expects House Republicans to go overboard in trying to tear down Biden, just as they did when they tried to blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the death of four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

Senate Republican Whip John Thune (S.D.) said Biden’s possession of classified documents now effectively “completely neutralizes” Democratic attacks against Trump for holding sensitive material in Florida.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. (Greg Nash)

“I’m not sure I understand all the laws that pertain to classified documents. I know the procedures that apply, but it seems to me the Justice Department is going to have to sort all that out and I think right now it’s still an evolving situation,” he said.

Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), a senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the careful handling of classified documents should always be a top priority and declared: “All of the circumstances are going to be examined …. So there’s a message that nobody is above the law.” 

“The rule that I follow scrupulously is you don’t take documents out of the room,” he said. “Obviously there’s a lot of information coming out and I want to wait and see what the facts are. 

But Wyden also gave Biden some political cover by drawing a distinction with Trump.  

“One point that I don’t believe is in contention is President Biden has voluntarily cooperated and the former president did not,” he said. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who faces a competitive re-election in a Republican-leaning state, urged the administration to be as transparent as possible.  

“There’s nothing that’s betrayal of national interest, there’s nothing he’s trying to hide but they need to come out with all of it,” he said. “He’s got to deal with it and get it over with.” 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) expressed frustration that the media attention surrounding the classified documents scandal threatens to eclipse the congressional agenda.  

“It’s being looked at to the nth degree,” he said. “I’m concerned that I think we’re wasting an awful lot of effort on something that has a special prosecutor look[ing] into it and at the end of the day it looks like all you’re going to find is some sloppiness. We have real problems to work on,” he said. 

Whoopi Goldberg Claims Joe Manchin’s Attack On Kamala Harris Was ‘Bigoted’ – ‘Really Disrespectful’

Over the weekend, Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) spoke out to criticize Vice President Kamala Harris for going on a local television station in West Virginia to try and drum up support for the Joe Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

This did not sit well with “The View” cohost Whoopi Goldberg, who said on Monday that she thought Manchin’s attack on Harris was “bigoted.”

Goldberg Slams Manchin

“Vice President Kamala Harris did an interview with the local West Virginia TV station to make the pitch for the new COVID stimulus package, and moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin was not happy he didn’t get a heads-up about it. Take a look,” Goldberg said on Monday’s episode of “The View.”

“I saw it. I couldn’t believe it,” Manchin said of Harris’ interview. “No one called me.  We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway for it. I think we need to, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together, what was done.”

“OK, so let me just point this out, Joe, she is the vice president,” Goldberg fired back. “She does not work for you. She doesn’t need your permission to go do this. When you talk like that, it sounds a little bigoted, like you think you have the right to tell her when she can and cannot come someplace. I think it’s really disrespectful politics myself.”

Related: Whoopi Goldberg Goes Off On Republicans Who Voted Against Impeachment – ‘You’re Scared’

Joy Behar Disagrees With Goldberg

In a surprising twist, Goldberg’s cohost Joy Behar actually saw this differently.

“Well, you know, Joe Manchin is a Democrat, but he swings to the right,” she said. “At this moment in time, the Democrats need Joe Manchin more than Joe Manchin needs the Democrats because he will always win in West Virginia taking middle of the road positions.”

“He’s got an ego problem, I’ll grant you that,” Behar added. “But the guy voted for impeachment, he voted for the ACA, he’s on the Democratic team — so I don’t think it’s a great idea alienating Joe Manchin, no matter how big his ego is.”

“I’m sorry, do you think she needed to speak to him before she went and gave this interview?” an incredulous Goldberg asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what the protocol — probably not,” Behar explained, at which time Goldberg interrupted her to say, “No, because she’s the vice president.”

When asked for her thoughts on this, conservative cohost Meghan McCain said, “I completely agree with Joy.”

Read Next: Joy Behar Warns Gaetz To ‘Watch’ Himself In Feud With Liz Cheney – ‘She’ll Eat Him For Breakfast’

This piece was written by James Samson on February 1, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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Manchin Comes Crawling Back After Trump Guilty Vote

By David Kamioner | February 14, 2020

By making the vote to acquit the president a partisan affair, and making the guilty vote a bipartisan action with the Romney defection, Joe Manchin had to know there would be a price to pay.

We did a piece on it in LifeZette. It was obvious, as he had teased he might vote to acquit. So now his olive branches to the White House just look like pathetic groveling.

Also, according to LifeZette sources on Capitol Hill, the phones have been ringing off the hook in Manchin’s office and the response to his guilty vote has not been pretty. Calls are running over 2 to 1 for the president and against Manchin on the vote.

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Oh no, says Joe. Everything is hunky dory. He and president will soon be buds again.

So not to burden with a lot of his blather, his rationale for the optimism is that when Trump did his best to unseat Manchin in 2018 they had lunch a week after his reelection. The insinuation is that this is just a game on the part of the president and soon bygones will bygones.

But hold on.

Manchin said one of the reasons he voted guilty was because he didn’t like the president’s message at the State of the Union address the night before his impeachment vote, “I saw the State of the Union, and I said: ‘It’s not who we are.’ There’s so many good things that we can do better. I hope he changes,” he told Politico. “I’m looking for that person that has heart and soul and compassion.”

So the president does not currently have “heart, and soul and compassion” according to the senator.  But Manchin expects it to suddenly appear in his case? Oh, of course. That’s a gimme because we all know Donald Trump is politically easygoing. Doesn’t hold grudges at all. Nahhhh…

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Lindsey Graham is trying to smooth over feathers between the two. He correctly points out that the GOP, with 53 votes, will need Democrat votes to achieve 60 and get GOP and presidential legislation out of the Senate and to the president’s desk for signature into law.

That’s true. But it may be up to the GOP Senate to make nice with Manchin right now. If Trump acts like Trump, always a good bet, then Manchin still has some time left in the dog house.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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Manchin and Murkowski Solid for President in Senate Impeachment Vote

By David Kamioner | February 4, 2020

Less than two days before the historic impeachment vote in the U.S. Senate, two senators who were thought to be swing votes, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, announced they could not vote to remove the president from office.

Thus, they will vote for the president and no on the charges.

Most analysts had predicted the GOP’s Murkowski would hold the line. But Manchin was more of an educated guess. LifeZette called it. However, others thought Manchin would not defy his Senate leadership. So either he got a doomed cause waiver to help him in his home state or he’s planning a jump to the GOP. Either is possible and the party switch would not hurt him in deep red conservative West Virginia.

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Murkowski’s independent libertarian-trending Alaskans probably just want the whole show over with and will have no problem with her vote.

The only remaining possible holdouts are Collins, Jones, Tester, and Romney.

Republican Susan Collins of Maine may vote guilty on one or both counts because she knows the president will win anyway and at least one guilty vote could help her in blue-leaning Maine. She could have received the done deal waiver from McConnell. The Left may also consider an anti-Trump vote a thrown bone because of her yes vote for Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama is in a hard place. He’s likely to lose this year no mater how he votes on impeachment, as he won in a fluke in 2017. However, even the slightest hope would be gone if he votes against the president. So does he vote to convict and pray the Democrats take care of him after he leaves office or does he vote with the president and hope GOP infighting once again gives him an upset victory?

Democrat Jon Tester of Montana was once considered a possible vote for the president on impeachment. But smart money now says he will vote with his party. But there’s a small chance he bucks them, which would help him in deep red Montana.

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And then there’s Mittens.

Hates the president but loves his GOP Senate seat from conservative Utah. The pressure in Utah is already getting intense for him to hold up the GOP shield wall. Could vote with the president on one count and against on the other. Our call is that he sticks with the GOP on both counts.

This piece originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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Three Democratic Senators May Vote to Acquit Trump of Impeachment

According to a new report, three moderate Democratic senators have signaled they might vote to acquit President Donald Trump in the upper chamber’s impeachment trial.

Sens. Joe Manchin, Doug Jones and Kyrsten Sinema Might Vote to Acquit Trump

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama and Kyrsten Sinema could break ranks with their Democratic colleagues. At least one of them has also said they could vote in favor of only one impeachment article — the abuse of power — but oppose obstruction of Congress.

This week in an interview with Politico, Manchin said he will only support only one of the articles if he “can explain one and not the other.” He has yet to decide on whether he will run for re-election in 2024, said he won’t make a final decision on how he will vote until after the trial concludes.

“I know it’s hard to believe that. But I really am [undecided]. But I have not made a final decision. Every day, I hear something, I think ‘this is compelling, that’s compelling,’” Manchin said. “Everyone’s struggling a little bit.”

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The most vulnerable Senate incumbent among Democrats is Jones, who had previously criticized the “obstruction of Congress” article and has said he is “troubled” that House Democrats failed to call White House officials as witnesses.

“I don’t think I’ve totally decided. I certainly have [been] leaning one way or the other. That needle moves” Jones told Politico. “I am leaning in certain ways but I want to hear, I truly, honestly, want to hear the entire trial.”

Sinema’s silence on impeachment suggests her vote is still undecided. A spokesperson said she supports gathering more evidence to “make a more fully informed decision at the end of the trial.”

Dems Push for John Bolton to Testify

Theses senators’ comments come as Democrats now want to call former White House National Security Advisor John Bolton to testify as a witness. The New York Times reported Sunday that Bolton’s upcoming book reveals that President Trump wanted to tie U.S. military to Ukraine to inquiries into allegations of corruption in former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden.

President Trump has rejected these claims, and took direct aim at Bolton Wednesday morning in a pair of tweets.

“For a guy who couldn’t get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn’t get approved for anything since, ‘begged’ me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying ‘Don’t do it, sir,’ takes the job, mistakenly says ‘Libyan Model’ on T.V., and many more mistakes of judgement [sic], gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?” the president wrote.

RELATED: Trump Blasts Bolton Over ‘Nasty’ and ‘Untrue’ Book

Some liberals have urged others to call these senators and ask them to impeach Donald Trump.

What’s stopping conservatives from urging them to do the opposite?

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