Sen. Roy Blunt Questions Why Intel/Oversight Committees Weren't Told About Mar-A-Lago Security Concerns

Susan Jones | August 29, 2022 | 6:39am EDT
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Former President Donald Trump (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Former President Donald Trump (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

( - Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has told congressional leaders that the intelligence community will examine the damage that could have resulted from President Trump storing top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago mansion.

Politico said it obtained a letter from Haines to the chairs of the House intelligence and House oversight committees, telling them DNI will assess "the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents.”

"Well, I think we need to know more about the documents," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos:

"One of the things I was concerned about when I heard about this so-called raid or seizing of these documents was, why hadn't the Intelligence Committee that I've been on for my time in the Senate and time in the House, why hadn't we heard anything about this, in fact, if the administration was concerned that there was a national security problem?

"I got immediately involved with Chairman Warner and Vice Chairman Rubio and said, we need to get a letter out right now to the Justice Department and the director of national intelligence to say if there is a problem, why haven't you told us about that problem?

"That hasn't happened yet, but the Director of National Intelligence announced I think on Friday that she's going to be briefing the committee soon and then we'll know what the problem is.

"But I will say this, we hadn't been told there was a problem and if this -- if there's a problem, the Oversight Committee should have been told."

Stephanopoulos told Blunt, "That's a fair point, and we'll find out why they weren't or what was going on. It was probably to protect the criminal investigation.

“But setting that aside, whether or not these documents were classified, was it right for the president to take these government documents which he is supposed to turn over to the National Archives down to Mar-a-Lago?" Stephanopoulos asked:

"You should be careful with classified documents," Blunt responded.

"I've had access to documents like that for a long time. I'm incredibly careful.

“I was wondering as I was listening to that discussion if the same things were said when Secretary Clinton had documents, when Director Comey had documents, they had them on the Internet, which is much more dangerous than having them in a box somewhere. But everybody needs to be more careful about how these documents --"

Stephanopoulos interrupted, telling Blunt, "you're not answering the question."

"You were critical of Senator Clinton who actually turned over what she had, turned over all her devices,” Stephanopoulos said. “What we have here is a situation where the president did not turn over these documents. Can you say whether that was right -- or right or wrong? Do you believe it was right for the president to take those documents to Mar-a-Lago?”

"He should have turned the documents over and apparently had turned a number of documents over, George.

“What I wonder about is why this could go on for almost two years, and less than 100 days before the election, suddenly, we're talking about this rather than the economy or inflation or even the student loan program you and I were going to talk about today?”

"Well," said Stephanopoulos, "it went on because the president didn't turn over the documents, correct? He was asked several times. He didn't turn them over. He was subpoenaed, he didn't respond to the subpoena."

Blunt said it's a "good thing" that a federal judge has indicated she's willing to appoint a special master to sort through the documents taken from Trump's home: "I understand he turned over a lot of documents. He should have turned over all of them. I imagine he knows that very well now, as well."

President Trump on Friday mocked the media hype surrounding the release of a redacted affidavit that produced the search warrant. He posted the following "statement":

Donald Trump issued this "statement" on Aug. 26.
Donald Trump issued this "statement" on Aug. 26.
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