WASHINGTON — White House officials said on Monday that there are no visitor logs that keep track of who comes and goes from President Biden’s personal residence in Wilmington, Del., where six classified documents were discovered in recent days.
A top House Republican demanded on Sunday that the White House turn over visitor logs for Mr. Biden’s home, citing what he called the “serious national security implications” of the fact that the documents may have been accessible to people without security clearances.
“It is troubling that classified documents have been improperly stored at the home of President Biden for at least six years, raising questions about who may have reviewed or had access to classified information,” wrote Representative James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and the chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Committee.
But a spokesman for the White House Counsel’s Office said no such logs exist because Mr. Biden’s home is not an official government property.
“Like every president across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal,” said the spokesman, Ian Sams. “But upon taking office, President Biden restored the norm and tradition of keeping White House visitors’ logs, including publishing them regularly, after the previous administration ended them.”
Understand the Biden Documents Case
The discovery at two locations of classified documents from President Biden’s time as vice president has prompted the Justice Department to scrutinize the situation.
- In Washington: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate the situation drew a mixed reception from Republicans, who had hoped to spearhead the effort themselves.
- Two Cases in the Spotlight: Two presidents — Mr. Biden and former President Donald J. Trump — are now under investigation by special prosecutors for how they’ve handled classified documents. Here is how their cases compare.
- Last Days as Vice President: The appointment of a special counsel has focused new attention on the frenetic final stretch of Mr. Biden’s vice presidency in January 2017.
- Presidents and Their Prosecutors: Since the dark days of Watergate, every president but one has faced a special prosecutor looking into them or their associates.
Anthony Guglielmi, the chief of communications for the Secret Service, said his agency does not track people who visit a president’s personal home, either.
“The Secret Service doesn’t maintain visitor logs at the private residences of protectees,” Mr. Guglielmi said. “The visitor logs that are kept at government buildings are part of the National Archives and Records Administration, and while we have access to those, we are not the custodian of those records and logs.”
The demands by Republicans for transparency in the case of Mr. Biden’s classified documents highlight the political danger for the president, who criticized former President Donald J. Trump when boxes of classified records were found at his Florida residence.
Last week, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the documents found in Mr. Biden’s home and office. In November, Mr. Garland appointed a different special counsel to investigate Mr. Trump’s handling of sensitive documents and his failure to return all of them, even after being subpoenaed.
The two cases are different. Mr. Trump fought with officials for months about whether to return government materials in his possession. In Mr. Biden’s case, his aides and lawyers returned the documents and contacted authorities swiftly after discovering them on their own.
In addition, the documents found at Mr. Biden’s residence were in a garage in his private home, which largely serves as a gathering place for the president and his family on the weekends. By contrast, Mr. Trump’s Florida estate, known as Mar-a-Lago, is a private club that regularly hosts large parties and events, often close to where the classified documents were found.
On social media on Monday, the former president mocked Mr. Biden for keeping classified documents in his home. He also bragged: “Mar-a-Lago is a highly secured facility, with Security Cameras all over the place, and watched over by staff & our great Secret Service. I have INFO on everyone!”
But Mr. Biden’s Republican critics, like Mr. Comer, are seeking transparency in ways they have not for Mr. Trump.
Asked on Monday whether the Oversight Committee would be requesting from Mr. Trump the “INFO on everyone” from Mar-a-Lago, a spokesman for Mr. Comer declined to answer. Instead, he offered a statement that did not address why the committee had sought visitor logs from Mr. Biden’s home, but not Mr. Trump’s.
“The American people deserve transparency, not secrecy,” said the spokesman, Austin Hacker. “We will continue to press the Biden administration for answers about who had access to these classified documents.”
Aides to former presidents lashed out at Mr. Comer’s request, noting that former administrations had not kept logs of the people who came and went from a president’s private home.
“Either completely uninformed or deliberately misleading,” Eric Schultz, who was a spokesman for President Barack Obama, tweeted on Monday. “Not how this works.”
Mr. Schultz noted that there were no logs kept for the homes of Mr. Trump, former President George W. Bush or former President George H.W. Bush.
“No logs from Trump’s homes, Crawford ranch, Kennebunkport, or any President’s family home,” he wrote.
Administrations do keep visitor logs for the White House. During Mr. Obama’s tenure, officials released those records several times each year in an effort to be candid about who was meeting with Mr. Obama and other top officials, though the names of some visitors were excluded.
Mr. Trump’s White House did not release visitor logs. Mr. Biden restarted the practice when he took office.