AP Photo/George Frey
- Rep. Stewart rejected the notion that President Biden was unaware of classified documents in his possession.
- “Of course, he knew that he had them. They’re so obvious,” Stewart told CBS News on Sunday.
- Biden last week said that he did not realize that he was in possession of the Obama-era documents.
GOP Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah on Sunday said the notion that President Joe Biden was unaware that he had classified materials in his possession was “nonsense” due to indicators on such documents that are readily identifiable.
Stewart, a former Air Force pilot who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, was highly critical of the discovery of classified materials from Biden’s eight-year stint as vice president under then-President Barack Obama while speaking with host Margaret Brennan on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
“I’ve dealt with classified documents almost my entire life. And you have to know, every one of these documents, they have a cover sheet that’s red. It says what the classification is and why it’s classified. Every single page has a classification marking on it,” he said.
“This isn’t the kind of thing that you just sit on your desk and you think, ‘Oh, I forgot that they’re classified.’ It’s very clear that they’re classified. And for those who think that, well, the President didn’t realize that he had those in his possession. It just is nonsense. Of course, he knew that he had them. They’re so obvious.”
During the interview, Stewart also stated that it was unlikely that the materials discovered in Biden’s possession would endanger national security — which the congressman also said about documents found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida after the FBI searched the property last August.
“President Trump had this similar experience,” Stewart told Brennan. “Some of the media claimed he has nuclear codes, nuclear secrets. I said at the time I find that extraordinarily unlikely and I think that the same thing would be true of this situation.”
In Trump’s case, the former president rebuffed efforts to return missing documents when contacted by the National Archives in 2021, and upon the agency’s receipt of several documents, classified materials were found — which led to a probe into the potential mishandling of documents.
Republicans, who were highly critical of the Mar-a-Lago search, have quickly sought to probe Biden over the discovery of documents at his Wilmington, Delaware, home and the Penn Biden Center in Washington, DC.
The files uncovered at the Penn Biden Center were turned over to the National Archives; the president’s personal attorneys turned over the files found in Delaware and were cooperating with the Department of Justice and the National Archives.
The House Judiciary Committee on Friday announced that it would launch an investigation into the unearthing of the Biden materials.