Ex-Biden aide agrees to House interview on classified docs
WASHINGTON (AP) — A former executive assistant to Joe Biden has agreed to sit for an interview with the House Oversight Committee as Republicans expand their probe into the president’s handling of classified documents.
Kathy Chung — one of the staffers who packed Biden’s belongings at the end of his term as vice president — is set to talk to the committee on April 4, the committee said. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the Oversight committee, requested the interview last month.
“The Committee believes your proximity to Vice President Biden and role as handler of his personal matters gave you access not only to classified material he maintained after leaving the White House, but also to the Biden family’s business schemes,” Comer said in a letter dated Feb 4.
According to a person familiar with the matter, Chung has turned over records related to the movement of documents from the White House to the Penn Biden Center, where Biden kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019. The person was granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive transfer of documents.
The committee had made a wide-ranging document request, including for Chung’s communications with the Biden family dating back more than 10 years.
A Justice Department special counsel is already investigating how classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president and senator wound up in his home and former office — and whether any mishandling involved criminal intent or was unintentional. Biden’s personal lawyers disclosed in January that a small batch of documents with classified markings had been found weeks earlier in his former Washington office. They have since allowed FBI searches of multiple properties.
The most recent search occurred in mid-February at the University of Delaware, Biden’s alma mater. In 2011, Biden gifted the school records from his time in the U.S. Senate, where he served for 36 years.
Neither the university nor the president’s attorneys have revealed if any classified documents were found at the school. Under the terms of Biden’s gift, the records are to remain sealed until two years after he retires from public life.
The discoveries that Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence were in possession of classified documents over the last year have brought new scrutiny to the rules around classified information and laid bare an uncomfortable truth: Policies meant to control the handling of the nation’s secrets are haphazardly enforced among top officials and rely almost wholly on good faith.
It’s also become increasingly common for presidents, vice presidents and even members of Congress to retain sensitive documents after leaving office, according to the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
“The archivist told us that there were 80 members of Congress” who turned out to have classified material in their records, Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., told reporters Wednesday about a briefing he received from the National Archives. “How that happens is beyond me.”
The scheduling of Chung’s interview with House Oversight was first reported by CNN.
Associated Press reporter Nomaan Merchant and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.