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What We Know: White House declines to comment on classified documents, cites DOJ investigation

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A White House spokesperson has responded to the controversy surrounding classified documents that were found under President Joe Biden’s possession, dating back to when he was vice president.

Ian Sams, a senior advisor at the White House, acknowledged the documents while speaking to reporters on Tuesday, saying that the White House is currently “limited in what it can responsibly disclose” as the incident is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice.

“Officials are trying to publicly explain what happened without compromising the federal investigation, which is a balancing act,” Sams said, adding: “I understand that there is tension between protecting and safeguarding the integrity of an ongoing investigation with providing information publicly.”

While Sams failed to go into detail, he defended Biden’s quick response after the documents were found.

“You know, as soon as these records were identified, they were immediately handed over to the proper authorities,” Sams said.

“And so, in terms of contents, in terms of numbers, in terms of the specifics related to the materials itself, we just can’t address that, because these have been handed over to the proper authorities. And these will be part of the ongoing investigation by the Justice Department.”

However, the White House response isn’t standing up to scrutiny for some, and according to NBC News’ legal contributor Andrew Weissmann, “There is nothing about a DOJ investigation that legally prevents someone under investigation from speaking publicly.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jeanne-Pierre has also refused to comment in depth on the topic, and has instead referred reporters’ questions to the Justice Department.

“As it related to an ongoing legal matter, I am going to refer you to the DOJ,” she said in a Wednesday press briefing, according to the Washington Examiner.

“As it relates to anything you want to ask of us about this legal matter, I would refer you to the White House counsel’s office. I’m going to leave it there. I’m not going to go into it further.”

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