The Justice Department has told lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee that it is working to satisfy their demands for information about classified documents found at properties of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump without harming ongoing special counsel investigations into both matters, according to a new letter obtained by CNN.
The DOJ letter, dated Saturday, responds to the committee’s August request for information about the documents recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and follow-up inquiries by the panel about classified material found at the Penn Biden Center as well as Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home.
“We are working with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to support the provision of information that will satisfy the Committee’s responsibilities without harming the ongoing Special Counsel investigations,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote to Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, the Intelligence panel’s top lawmakers.
“Although one of the Special Counsels was appointed only on January 12, prosecutors on both matters are actively working to enable sharing information with the Committee,” Uriarte said.
The letter also notes that the DOJ “worked in good faith to schedule a briefing in September 2022,” but since that time, there have been “significant developments, including the appointment of two separate Special Counsels to handle the respective matters.”
“The Department looks forward to continuing to engage with the Committee to meet its needs while protecting the Department’s interests,” the letter states.
The DOJ’s response, which was also sent to the top lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, comes with Warner and Rubio reiterating their call for department to share the classified documents obtained from the properties of Biden and Trump.
In an interview Sunday with “Face the Nation” on CBS, Warner and Rubio objected to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s policy to withhold the documents until the special counsels handling each investigation give authorization. Warner said the DOJ policy “doesn’t hold water.”
“Our job is to make sure there’s not an intelligence compromise, and while the Director of National Intelligence had been willing to brief us earlier, now that you’ve got the special counsel, the notion that we’re going to be left in limbo, and we can’t do our job, that just cannot stand,” the Virginia Democrat said.
Rubio called into question the logic behind the Justice Department’s position to not share the documents with the committee, arguing that as members of the Senate Intelligence panel, it’s likely they already have the proper clearance to view the documents.
“I don’t know how congressional oversight on the document, actually knowing what they are, in any way impedes an investigation,” the Florida Republican said. “These are probably materials we already have access to. We just don’t know which ones they are.”
This story has been updated with additional information.