Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota, hit back against CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday after Camerota attempted to minimize concerns over the confidential records from President Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president.
CNN claimed on Tuesday, citing two persons familiar with the situation, that Biden’s personal attorneys reportedly uncovered many sensitive documents when packing files and subsequently contacted the National Archives and Records Administration. A number of the secret documents apparently contained information about Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom. According to reports, Biden was not aware that the records had been discovered in his office and was informed by the White House counsel’s office.
Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House established a new oversight committee to investigate the “weaponization” of government institutions such as the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ).
“I know that you, in particular, want Congress to investigate the FBI and the DOJ,” Camerota said. “Do you worry that by investigating the FBI it will impact the morale of the agents and the work that they do?”
“I worry that it’s already happened,” Armstrong said. “These are really serious issues and we need to investigate and deal with it, and we’ve had FBI whistleblowers already come forward, and there’s a real serious problem in leadership, and just changing a regulation isn’t going to solve it.”
Camerota then brought up the sensitive documents from Biden’s tenure as vice president that were discovered in a private office and questioned whether there were any distinctions between the cases of Biden and former President Donald Trump. During a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in August 2022, the FBI found multiple sets of sensitive papers.
“I will tell you one big difference,” Armstrong said. “It was discovered on both prior to the [November midterm] election but only one was disclosed prior to the election, and this isn’t the first time that has happened either, whether it’s censoring the New York Post, 100 different people. We obviously know DOJ was coordinating heavily. Big government was coordinating with Big Tech in order to suppress certain things.”
“My knee-jerk concern is the difference in timing,” Armstrong continued.
Camerota then said that the two cases were not comparable because Trump’s possession of the documents only became public after “the National Archives spent more than a year trying to get the documents” and “finally had to make a public statement.” Armstrong agreed there are differences to the cases but argued that “there seems to be a pattern of conduct … the closer we get to the election, the less stuff is disclosed on one side.”
“Nobody can argue that it happens on an even-keel basis, because I’ve been here for four years and that’s just not the truth,” Armstrong said.
“President Trump didn’t disclose all the ones that he had either,” Camerota said. “I don’t think that in terms of nondisclosure around a midterm, that that’s a necessarily good analogy.”
Armstrong is not the first one to express issues with the timing of the Biden documents’ release. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, a former Daily Caller reporter, questioned Democratic New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill on if it was alarming that authorities knew of this news prior to the midterm elections yet waited months to bring it to the public.
“Does it concern you that this happened, though, the day before the midterm elections? That’s when these documents were found, and we’re just now finding out about it” Collins said.
“That does concern me,” Sherrill responded. “This has to be a very transparent process.”
Ken Dilanian, NBC’s justice and intelligence correspondent, questioned why the government delayed months to warn the American people on Tuesday.