Don’t believe the Secret Service doesn’t know who visits Biden’s house

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Let’s say the FBI were investigating a threat against the president, and one relevant line of inquiry involved figuring out who had visited the president’s private homes in Delaware during certain dates over the last 23 months. The Secret Service is responsible for keeping these private residences secure even when the president is not on-site. If the FBI told the Secret Service that it was critical to get such visitor information, do you really think the Secret Service would respond, “Gee, sorry, we don’t keep logs for that”?

I certainly don’t believe that.

Given the lawyerly way the Biden White House has answered questions about who has visited the president at his Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach homes, I am prepared to believe that the Secret Service does not keep a document that they call a “log” of visitors. But I do not believe the Secret Service lacks records of visitor information, whatever they may call those records. I am very confident that, if the agency believed it was in the interests of the president’s security that the information be produced for the bureau, it would be produced at warp speed.

The Secret Service claims there are not records of visitors at Biden's Delaware home.
The Secret Service claims there are not records of visitors at Biden’s Delaware home.
WPVI
Classified documents were found in Biden's garage.
Classified documents were found in Biden’s garage.
Joe Biden/YouTube

The lesson to be drawn here is: Don’t rely on the good graces of the White House or, more broadly, the Biden administration, for details pertinent to the president’s mishandling of classified information — or, for that matter, details about anything else apt to be unflattering to Biden and his administration.

After all, we just learned that the Department of Justice let Biden’s own lawyers search his residence for classified documents.

That lesson should resonate, in particular, with House Republicans, who now have subpoena power.

In our constitutional system, the check on presidential wrongdoing is Congress. It is not prosecutors who work for the president. In fact, the Framers would have been mystified by the latter suggestion. Of course, it wouldn’t have come up. In the late eighteenth century, when the Constitution first went into effect, there was barely any federal law enforcement to speak of. Policing and prosecution were powers retained by the states.

While the first Congress provided for an attorney general (mostly to be a legal adviser to the president and press the government’s civil claims in court), the Justice Department was not established until 1870. Federal law enforcement did not explode until the twentieth-century progressive era, with its dramatic expansion of Washington’s influence and its love for creating bureaucracies to micro-manage American life — including much of what used to be the purview of the states.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can launch a Congressional probe into Biden's documents and use subpoena powers to get answers.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy can launch a Congressional probe into Biden’s documents and use subpoena powers to get answers.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

As the Justice Department and its investigative components (e.g., the FBI) became more influential, congressional oversight of executive wrongdoing turned increasingly flaccid. With Watergate came the innovation of special prosecutors, who were portrayed as quasi-independent of the executive branch. That’s a legal fiction: Prosecution is solely an executive power in our system; that’s why the president has the power to fire such investigators — as President Nixon fired Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, and President Trump often threatened to first Russiagate prosecutor Rober Mueller.

The ascendancy of federal law enforcement has turned our constitutional system on its head. When Congress attempts to probe potentially criminal conduct by presidents and executive officials, particularly in Democratic administrations, congressional Democrats claim this is an obstruction of the prosecutor’s investigation.

Notice, though, it does not work both ways. We just endured nearly two years of the highly partisan, Democrat-controlled House January 6 Committee. It conducted an aggressive investigation, making liberal use of its subpoena powers and calling for contempt prosecutions for people who did not cooperate. The panel did not care whether its proceedings interfered with the Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute over 900 people charged with Capitol riot offenses. To be sure, the congressional committee was within its rights to ignore the Justice Department’s needs. But what goes around comes around.

Republicans who’ve just taken control of the House should have no tolerance for claims — already being made by the media-Democrat complex — that to subpoena witnesses and conduct hearings regarding Biden’s mishandling of classified documents would interfere with the work of the special counsel hand-picked by Biden’s attorney general.

It is Congress’s job to get facts and hold the executive branch accountable. The American people, through their representatives, are entitled to know exactly what Biden did. Whether what he did also happens to be a prosecutable crime is beside the point — especially given that Justice Department guidance forbids the indictment of a sitting president (i.e., any prosecution would have to wait until Biden leaves office).

Republicans must conduct fair investigations. They owe no deference to the Biden Justice Department. They should issue subpoenas, conduct hearings, and tune out hypocritical caterwauling about how such congressional probes could undermine the work of prosecutors — meaning, prosecutors who work for Joe Biden.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.

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