Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and ranking member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) are demanding “immediate compliance” from the Justice Department and director of national intelligence after neither complied with prior requests from the senators for a review of how recent document discoveries may have threatened national security.
The senators stated in a letter sent Thursday and published by CBS that they not only wanted information they were still awaiting about documents with classified markings found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and the Penn Biden Center, but that they were expanding their request to include documents found at the homes of President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence.
“Our request is not unprecedented. In other investigations involving the mishandling of classified information the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence have accommodated the legitimate oversight needs of this Committee without detriment to any ongoing investigation,” the senators wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
The letter is a sign of Warner and Rubio’s increased frustration with both the Justice Department and Haines, who are now facing accusations of stonewalling the senators.
The department’s last communication to the pair, sent January 28 and published by Fox, indicated the department was “working” in coordination with Haines to satisfy the Senate committee’s needs but that it was attempting to do so “without harming the ongoing Special Counsel investigations.”
Haines, for her part, met with Warner, Rubio, and others in a closed-door briefing last week, and Rubio emerged dissatisfied, according to NBC.
“The bottom line is this: They won’t tell us what they have until the special counsel allows them to tell us. That’s an unacceptable position,” Rubio said, per the outlet.
In their letter Thursday, Rubio and Warner asked that Garland and Haines meet their demands promptly.
“As we expressed previously, in light of the substantial public interest, the need for bipartisan and responsible oversight of these matters is at its highest. We urge your immediate compliance with our previous requests,” they wrote. “These matters are the highest priority of the Committee and our oversight and authorization efforts will align accordingly.”
In a recent Face the Nation interview, Rubio alluded to the committee holding up funding for the intelligence community should the committee’s needs not be met.
Senator Rubio on classified documents: “I’m not in the threat business right now, but …” pic.twitter.com/JSMltZQul1
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) January 29, 2023
“I’m not in the threat business right now, but there are things we need to do as a committee every year to authorize the moving around of funds. I think the director of national intelligence and other heads of intelligence agencies are aware of that,” Rubio said.