More classified documents have been found at Biden's residence
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
President Biden's classified document troubles are piling up.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
His lawyers announced they had found more files at his home in Wilmington, Del. And congressional Republicans pounced.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
JAMES COMER: Well, we don't know exactly yet whether they broke the law or not. I will accuse the Biden administration of not being transparent. Why didn't we hear about this on Nov. 2, when the first batch of classified documents were discovered?
FADEL: That was Republican Congressman James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee on CNN yesterday.
MARTÍNEZ: All right. So what does this mean for President Biden? We're joined now by NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.
Tam, OK, so Congressman Comer has made it clear that Republicans seem pretty eager to investigate President Biden, but it sounds a lot different from how they're responding to former President Trump's hundreds of documents at his home in Florida.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Of course it is, but consistency is rarely in great supply in Washington. Comer yesterday sent a letter to White House chief of staff Ron Klain requesting visitor logs for the president's home in Wilmington, Del. But Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, tells me that like every president in modern history, Biden's personal residence is personal, and he doesn't have visitor logs. Incidentally, former President Trump never released visitor logs from his private club and home in Florida, or even the White House, for that matter, which has been standard.
But to be clear, the White House has given their opponents and Congress plenty of ammunition. They gave incomplete information to the press multiple times, including Thursday and Friday, when President Biden, his counsel and press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were pretty unequivocal about one last document being found in Wilmington, only to on Saturday put out a new statement saying five more pages of classified materials had been found in that same spot Thursday night.
MARTÍNEZ: And now, President Biden is speaking at the National Action Network's annual MLK Day breakfast event in D.C. today. Any chance he addresses the documents controversy?
KEITH: Oh, not likely. Yesterday, he went to Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., for Sunday services. That's the church where Dr. King was pastor until his assassination. Senator Raphael Warnock is the pastor there now. And Biden was the first sitting president to deliver remarks from the pulpit there on a Sunday service.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I've spoken before parliaments, kings, queens, leaders of the world. I've been doing this for a long time. But this is intimidating.
KEITH: Georgia has become a key swing state, one he would hope to win again if he makes it official and runs for reelection. And I can guarantee you that the will-he-or-won't-he drama would have been the focus here. But instead, he's facing the second scandal of his presidency - after the Afghanistan withdrawal - for documents that were likely packed up and moved at the end of the Obama presidency six years ago.
MARTÍNEZ: You know, it seemed as if President Biden ended 2022 on a bit of a high, or at least on an up. What does all this do to his start of 2023?
KEITH: You know, he had been riding high coming off the midterms, where Democrats performed better than expected, you know, at least by the laws of political gravity. Inflation is slowing. The unemployment situation is still strong. Gas prices have stabilized. And Biden consolidated support among elected Democrats and potential opponents. Even prominent Democrats who had been skeptical running - of him running for reelection were saying they would support him. And I haven't seen yet any erosion of that support. But no president wants a special counsel investigation because, at the very least, it's going to cast a cloud over him until it's over, and you never know when it will end.
MARTÍNEZ: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.
KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.