(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the new chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, says the Department of Justice may not bar members of Congress from reviewing classified material found at the home and office of Joe Biden and at the homes of Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
“Congress has subpoena power, and its ability to compel the administration is absolute,” Turner told ABC’s “This Week” with Martha Raddatz:
The Biden administration has so far refused to let members of the Senate intelligence committee review or even hear descriptions of the documents retrieved from Biden, Trump and Pence, a refusal that produced complaints from Democrats as well as Republicans last week.
Raddatz on Sunday asked Turner what he would like to see happen:
“I think things are over-classified,” Turner said:
“I mean, there’s — unfortunately, Congress doesn’t have the ability to declassify. There are things that I think need to be out in the public discourse.
“We certainly saw a shift in policy with respect to Ukraine and Russia, where the government declassified information so people could talk about what Russia was doing, and what they were doing in Ukraine. I think it’s incredibly important for allies of the United States to openly discuss the information that we have.
“But there’s one development last week that I think is going to be very important, was when Senator Warner and Marco Rubio came together and jointly chastised the Department of Justice for their lack of being forthcoming with the respect to these documents that are being found.
“We were told that we were going to have these documents available to us to review. Now, the Attorney General Garland, the Department of Justice is saying they’re not going to allow Congress to review these documents.
“They have no ability to prevent us. Congress has subpoena power, and its ability to compel the administration is absolute. They don’t have an ability to say under the Constitution or a statute, we have an ongoing investigation, therefore, now we can’t tell you.
“I think it only makes everybody concerned about what are they hiding and why are they trying to keep it from Congress? You’re going to see bipartisan, bicameral support to force Attorney General Garland to make these available to Congress so that we can take a look at what happened, what’s in these documents, and what does Congress need to do to protect America’s secrets?”
(Sens. Mark Warner and Marco Rubio are the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate intelligence committee.)
The Justice Department has appointed special counsels to look into Biden’s and Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.
Biden administration spokesman John Kirby said last week that the Justice Department is engaged in an “ongoing investigation” and “We are going to respect that process, and embedded in that process is making sure we preserve the integrity of their ability to go through those documents.”
In other words — DOJ won’t let members of Congress know what they have found.
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