WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) spoke to Raw Story Thursday about the difference between former President Donald Trump refusing to hand over the 13,000 documents he took when moving to Florida after losing the 2020 election. He said that it contrasts with the revelation that President Joe Biden had White House documents at the Penn Biden Center and docs at home packed up as part of his information from his time in the White House. Schiff said that if Biden had withheld information it would have been different.
"If President Biden had refused to turn over classified information if he had taken attempts to obstruct the return of that information, if his counsel had misled the Bureau, and there were hundreds of documents when they said they had none, then you could start to draw an equivalence," Schiff said. "But of course, none of that is the case. Whenever classified information is where it shouldn't be it's a concern to me, particularly as someone on the Intelligence Committee and I think the Committee ought to be briefed on any documents found in the places they shouldn't be. But I see no equivalence there."
He went on to say that he thinks it was appropriate to brief Congress on what documents were discovered. Then again, he said he's still waiting to be briefed on the documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
"As of yet, we haven't heard," said Schiff.
The Gang of 8, the so-called group of the top leadership of both parties, could be briefed at any time, Schiff said, but that hasn't happened either. Schiff was previously in the Gang of 8 along with former Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who then left Congress to go work for Donald Trump's social media site. The new Intel Committee chairs haven't been announced, but Schiff said that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working to weaponize those positions.
"Sending out fundraising appeals asking his right-wing donors to press a button if they want to remove me from the committee," he said. "Another norm has been broken in terms of the intelligence oversight work that we do. So, there's no telling."
In the Senate, both former Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked to be briefed and asked for a threat assessment on Trump's documents. It hasn't happened either. On Wednesday the Senate Intelligence Committee also asked for a threat assessment for the Biden documents.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to make an announcement on Thursday afternoon, but it's unclear if it will be about Trump's document scandal or whether he intends to appoint a special counsel to deal with Biden's document. Former federal prosecutor Barb McQuade disagreed with the assessment that a special counsel should be appointed for Biden because thus far there's no evidence that a law has been broken.
"One step at a time," she said about Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) demand for a DOJ appointee. "Special Counsel regs require AG to determine whether an appointment is merited. That’s what Trump-appointed US Atty in Chicago is doing now. Only if there is some evidence of criminal conduct should a special counsel be appointed. Not all mishandling is criminal."