Although Democrats are in the minority in the House in this new Congress, they can still do a lot.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat in this Congress on the House Oversight Committee, has shared newly available pieces of evidence that refute claims from Republicans of different approaches from the relevant federal authorities to the circumstances of classified documents found with Trump and Biden. Some of what Raskin highlighted specifically discredits the allegation, which seems to consistently circulate among House Republicans, that the Biden administration has been especially uncooperative with their pushes for information in an imagined manner that would suggest some kind of conspiracy to obstruct those probes. In reality, authorities like the federal Justice Department have consistently been evasive — when confronted with the possibility of a disclosure threatening an ongoing investigation!
“Committee Republicans continue to make unfounded accusations of disparate treatment by the National Archives and the Department of Justice in their efforts to preserve presidential records and secure classified records,” Raskin said. “Today, Committee Democrats are releasing a previously undisclosed letter received last Congress from the Justice Department demonstrating the agency’s longstanding policy to not disclose information that could interfere with the integrity of ongoing investigations. Committee Republicans have failed to identify any evidence to support their irresponsible claims that the National Archives and the Department of Justice are politically biased and have been uncooperative with their investigation.”
The threats that could originate with expansive disclosures of the contents of an investigation range from tipping off potential targets to exposing witnesses to potential targeting and revealing investigative methods that could be relevant to future probes, directly connected or not. Among what Raskin highlighted was a letter sent in the last Congress to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s since left office but then led the oversight panel, outlining how the department had pushed for certain details from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to be withheld in tandem with a concern for protecting the department’s investigations. There was a well-documented hurdle in Democratic investigators actually receiving details they sought around the classified documents found with Trump — which, unlike Biden, the ex-president has responded to with attempts at what could be deemed obstruction.
The narrative of especially evasive actions from authorities geared around what could be deemed protecting the Bidens is fictional. Elsewhere in Congress, a subcommittee of the House Judiciary panel recently held a hearing scrutinizing the supposed lack of compliance from the Justice and Education departments with pushes for documents connected to supposed targeting of parents. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the top Democrat in those proceedings, noted the irony of the push while Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs the judiciary panel, remains guilty of what was arguably just a blatant lack of compliance with a subpoena from the January 6 panel in the last Congress.