Nets Note Bipartisan Criticism of Biden, Lack of Transparency on Docs

News & Politics

All three evening news networks continued covering the rapidly metastasizing scandal involving President Joe Biden’s irresponsible mishandling of classified documents. ABC’s World News Tonight & CBS Evening News each led with the story, while NBC Nightly News covered it after they did their obligatory panicking over drought-stricken California receiving badly needed rain. 

“President Biden today refusing to answer questions about the growing number of classified documents discovered at his Delaware home,” White House correspondent Mary Bruce announced during her report. 

Bruce then spoke truth to power noting that “the President’s team has hardly been forthcoming, refusing to answer basic questions since Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel.” 

She then aired a soundbite from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calling out the Biden regime:    

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I know the White House tried to say it was all cleared up on Thursday, and now we find out there’s more documents. I think there’s a lot of questions that continue to raise, and we want to get all the information possible.

“Even some top Democrats agree,” Bruce added before airing California Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff’s concerns that U.S. national security was jeopardized. “I’d like to know what these documents were. I’d like to know what the IC’s assessment is, whether there was any risk of exposure, and what the harm would be,” Schiff said. 

Meanwhile, on CBS Evening News, national correspondent Adriana Diaz also pointed out how Biden is stonewalling: “The President today ignored questions about the disclosure of five more classified pages at his Wilmington home, as the demand for answers from the White House from both parties increased.” 

Finally, on NBC Nightly News, correspondent Monica Alba offered the strongest barbs toward Biden by noting that Biden was “Ignoring reporters’ questions for a fourth straight day while privately expressing frustration with the growing backlash, according to three sources familiar with the matter.” 

Slamming Biden’s refusal to be held accountable, Alba pointed out that “the White House now facing intensifying criticism about a lack of transparency. The first classified documents were discovered by Biden attorneys a week before the midterms. But the public was not told until just last week, only following media reports.” 

We call balls and strikes here at NewsBusters, so it’s good to see the networks not moving on from this massive scandal. 

To read the relevant transcript click “expand”:  

ABC’s World News Tonight
1/16/2023
6:33:48 p.m. Eastern 

MARY BRUCE: President Biden today refusing to answer questions about the growing number of classified documents discovered at his Delaware home. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, are you sure there are no more classified documents? 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, how do you think that the classified documents got into your boxes? 

BRUCE: Over the weekend, the White House lawyer confirming five more pages of classified material were found at Biden’s home last Thursday. Those documents now in the hands of the FBI. The President’s team has hardly been forthcoming, refusing to answer basic questions since Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel. Eager to know more, Republicans in Congress have launched two investigations. 

SPEAKER KEVIN MCCARTHY: I know the White House tried to say it was all cleared up on Thursday, and now we find out there’s more documents. I think there’s a lot of questions that continue to raise, and we want to get all the information possible. 

BRUCE: Even some top Democrats agree. 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: I’d like to know what these documents were. I’d like to know what the IC’s assessment is, whether there was any risk of exposure, and what the harm would be. 

BRUCE: The Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee is now requesting visitor logs for Biden’s Delaware home, along with “All documents and communications” related to the searches. 

REP. JIM COMER: We want to know the visitor logs to the residence. We want to know who had access to the Biden Center for Diplomacy. 

BRUCE: But the White House tells us there are no official visitor logs for the President’s private home in Delaware, just as there were none for Donald Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago, where the former President took hundreds of classified documents and refused to turn them over to authorities. Biden officials noting Republicans show little interest in investigating that, accusing lawmakers of “a shamelessly hypocritical attempt to attack President Biden.” 

CBS Evening News
1/16/2023
6:32:50 p.m. Eastern 

ADRIANA DIAZ: Good evening, Norah, the document disclosures continued this weekend in what’s become an expanding legal and political headache for the White House. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you think that the classified documents got into your boxes? 

DIAZ: The President today ignored questions about the disclosure of five more classified pages at his Wilmington home, as the demand for answers from the White House from both parties increased. 

REP. JIM COMER: We have a serious trust issue. 

DIAZ: In a letter, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain the White House must provide the Wilmington residence’s visitor logs. But a White House spokesman told CBS News there’s no such thing. Like every President across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal. 

What was your response when the White House or the Secret Service told you that no such logs existed? 

COMER: I found that hard to believe. It’s very hard to believe because the Secret Service would, you would assume, would vet people before they would be granted entry into the former Vice President’s home, or certainly the current President’s home. But let’s take them at their word and say they weren’t. 

DIAZ: The latest disclosure of classified materials came Saturday when White House counsel Richard Sauber announced he had gone to the Wilmington house Thursday evening to hand over a single-paged document found earlier. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me,” he wrote, “five additional pages with classification markings were discovered.” 

Democrats are also voicing concern. 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: I’d like to know what these documents were, whether there was any risk of exposure, and what the harm would be. 

NBC Nightly News
1/16/2023
7:05:59 p.m. Eastern 

MONICA ALBA: Tonight, President Biden publicly silent about the special counsel’s investigation into his handling of classified material. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you think that the classified documents got into your boxes? 

ALBA: Ignoring reporters’ questions for a fourth straight day while privately expressing frustration with the growing backlash, according to three sources familiar with the matter. It comes as the White House revealed this weekend additional pages of classified documents were discovered inside the President’s Delaware home. 

So far the total number of classified records recovered is unclear with about a dozen identified at Mr. Biden’s private office including, sources tell NBC News, at least one document marked “top secret,” followed by two batches discovered at the Wilmington residence, including inside the garage. None of those sites are approved to store sensitive government material. 

The White House now facing intensifying criticism about a lack of transparency. The first classified documents were discovered by Biden attorneys a week before the midterms. But the public was not told until just last week, only following media reports. 

SEN. TIM SCOTT: The truth is that they suppressed the information before the election so that it would not have impact during the election. The stench of hypocrisy coming from this administration is making the American people sick. 

ALBA: The President’s personal attorney insisting they cannot release certain details “relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.” The White House has pledged to cooperate with the special counsel, noting differences in volume and response to the classified records found at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. But some Democrats saying national security may have been jeopardized by where Mr. Biden was storing classified documents. 

REP. ADAM SCHIFF: I don’t think we can exclude the possibility without knowing more of the facts.  

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