Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., suggested that a closer look at former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush may be needed Wednesday regarding their handling of classified documents.
President Biden, former President Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have been found to have misplaced classified documents in recent months, raising questions about how carefully senior US officials are with America’s secrets. Hawley voiced those concerns to Fox News on Wednesday, saying America’s former leaders should be under closer scrutiny.
“Do we have to ask President Obama, former President Bush? I mean, you know, maybe like that,” Hawley said in response to a question on the subject.
Hawley’s office clarified that he was not suggesting that a formal investigation by Obama or Bush was necessary at this point.
Trump has faced months of federal investigations into his misuse of classified documents, and Biden now faces an investigation by a special counsel. Pence joined the trend on Tuesday, announcing to Congress that earlier this month he discovered classified documents at his home in Carmel, Indiana.
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“I don’t know any details about Vice President Pence other than what I’ve read and what you all have reported,” Hawley told Fox. “So I don’t know the details there. But of course we want to find out what he had and why he had it.”
Hawley went on to point out that Trump was the only law enforcement official to have faced an FBI crackdown, arguing that the fact showed a bias toward Trump on the part of the federal government.
“It struck me that the FBI doesn’t appear to have searched anyone else’s home. Nobody else was treated like a criminal. There’s a reason for that. It’s because Trump is a political opponent, which these other people weren’t,” Hawley said.
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The FBI raid this summer seized a slew of documents after Trump refused to turn them over to the National Archives. Meanwhile, Biden’s attorneys uncovered three stashes of classified documents at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, as well as at the Penn Biden Center, a Washington think tank. Federal investigators later discovered a fourth batch of Biden documents, also at his Wilmington home.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the matter in early January, tapping former US Attorney Robert Hur.
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Biden and Pence both say they immediately contacted federal authorities to return the documents. The DOJ has not announced an investigation into Pence as of Wednesday morning.