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Tom Cotton vows ‘there will be pain’ for Biden administration

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Republican US Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Republican US Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has vowed “there will be pain” until the Biden administration shows lawmakers what classified documents the US president held outside the proper security protocols. 

Cotton (R-Ark.) said he and other Republicans will hold up Biden’s nominees until his administration shares with Congress the classified documents seized at Biden’s Delaware home and Washington office and former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. 

Cotton also warned that Republicans could also hold up federal funding as leverage. 

“The administration is stonewalling Congress on the classified documents present at President Trump’s residence and President Biden’s residence and office, which is totally unacceptable,” Cotton told reporters Wednesday. 

“The members of the Intelligence Committee — for that matter, the members of Congress have an absolute right to this information so we can make an informed judgment about the risk, if any, these documents have posed to our national security by being improperly handled,” he said. 

The Arkansas senator rejected the Biden administration’s claims that the sensitive information can’t be shared with Congress while special counsels Jack Smith and Richard Hur are investigating Trump’s and Biden’s handling of the documents, calling it “a farce.”   

“Until the administration stops stonewalling Congress, there will be pain as a consequence for them,” he declared.

“Whether it’s blocking nominees or withholding budgetary funds, Congress will impose pain on the administration until they provide these documents,” he said. 

Cotton said that Congress had access “to many sensitive documents” during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations that Russia colluded with Trump campaign advisers during the 2016 election.  

 “There’s no reason that standard shouldn’t apply now to the documents present at President Trump’s residence and President Biden’s residence and office,” he said. 

“I’m prepared to refuse consent to fast-track any nominee from any department or agency and to take every step that I can on every committee on which I serve to impose consequences on the administration until they provide these documents,” he added. 

The first batch of classified documents was found in November in an office Biden used in Washington between his time as vice president and the 2020 presidential election.

The White House confirmed that additional documents were found at the garage of Biden's private home in Wilmington, Delaware. In a statement, Biden's personal counsel Robert Bauer said a total of six pages of documents with classification markings were discovered at the president’s Wilmington residence. The White House had previously said that only one page was found there.

The disclosure of the latest discovery comes days after the White House confirmed media reports that Biden’s personal lawyers had found an initial batch of classified documents on Nov. 2 in an office he had used for his work at a Washington think tank.

The files were handed over to the National Archives, which notified the Justice Department of the discovery on Nov. 4. By mid-November, Attorney General Merrick Garland had tapped John Lausch, a Trump-appointed US Attorney in Chicago, to oversee an assessment of the classified materials.

The White House has been hardly forthcoming about the way it has handled the classified documents. It has declined to answer questions beyond limited statements issued over the past week, and has had to update its narrative multiple times as more information has come to light.

Republicans have accused the Biden administration of deliberately keeping the initial discovery of sensitive files secret for two months and until the public learned about it from news reports.

Republicans -- fresh out of their disappointing midterm election performance and their chaotic effort to elect a new speaker-- have already vowed to use their new House majority to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents and how federal agencies responded to it.





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