House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner expressed deep concern over the storage and handling of classified materials from both the Biden and Trump administrations. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Ohio Republican highlighted the significance of safeguarding national security information within controlled environments.
Turner disagreed with former Attorney General Bill Barr’s assertion that Trump committed “very egregious obstruction” by withholding documents from the National Archives. According to Turner, archivists testified that they were unaware of the presence of classified documents until the initial delivery from the Trump administration. It was only upon opening the boxes four months later that they discovered classified materials. Turner emphasized that this timeframe was acceptable and contradicted claims of prolonged mishandling.
Addressing the need for legislative action, Turner stated that his committee is working on a bipartisan basis to assess whether changes are necessary to the procedures governing the handling of classified documents. He revealed that previous administrations, including Reagan’s, had delivered mixed sets of classified and unclassified documents to the National Archives, and instances of classified documents being found in libraries prompted the notification of 80 members of Congress.
Turner clarified that while he would not defend any alleged misconduct by Trump, the legal process must determine the validity of the charges. Additionally, he expressed concerns regarding the Trump-Russia investigation and the use of unverified information sourced from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, calling for safeguards to prevent political bias from infiltrating future campaigns and influencing media and governmental actions.
The upcoming testimony of John Durham before the Intelligence Committee will shed further light on the Trump-Russia investigation and provide an opportunity to address these concerns and ensure greater transparency and integrity in the government’s actions.