(CNSNews.com) - Members of the Senate intelligence committee, both Democrats and Republicans, are complaining about the Biden administration's refusal to let members -- who have security clearance as well as oversight authority -- review the classified documents retrieved from the homes of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
On Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby defended the administration’s refusal:
“These documents, at least in the case of the president, are in the possession of the Department of Justice,” Kirby told CNN.
“This is an ongoing investigation; they have appointed a special counsel. We are going to respect that process, and embedded in that process is making sure we preserve the integrity of their ability to go through those documents.”
Host Kaitlan Collins noted that there is precedent -- that during the Trump-Russia investigation, a special counsel was investigating but senators were allowed to access classified documents relating to that case.
“Again, we're going to defer to the Department of Justice on this,” Kirby said. “They're the ones doing the investigation, and we want to make sure that we're giving them the time and the space to do it in the way they see fit.”
Collins asked if President Biden wants to see changes in the way classified documents are handled?
“The president believes that we all have a responsibility to handle classified documents appropriately. There are very strict guidelines and procedures in place -- have been for years,” Kirby said.
“Over time, those processes can change, and we're always looking at whether or not we need to modify it. You know, with electronic transmission, things are different. So we're certainly open to doing whatever procedures might be required but I don't think we're at a point right now that we know there are changes that need to be made.”
“But It sounds like you would support looking at making changes,” Collins followed up.
“There is a constant process in the federal government to review protocols to make sure that they're still appropriate. That's just something we do routinely," Kirby said.
“I'm not aware of any need to change anything right now. Again, let the DOJ do their investigation and we'll see what comes out at the other end.”