Key lawmakers granted access to Biden, Trump and Pence classified documents

CNN Newsource Pristine Villarreal

(CNN) — Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill who oversee the intelligence community finally have been granted the ability to look over the classified documents found improperly in the homes of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, three sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, ending a months-long standoff between Congress and the administration.

The members of the “Gang of Eight”, which includes the House and Senate leaders from each party as well as the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, are privy to the most sensitive classified information. They began to get the documents last week.

A source familiar with the process tells CNN the Gang of Eight began getting access to Biden, Pence and Trump’s classified documents “in a rolling production” last week. The Biden administration is giving the group access to the documents “in tranches” and not all at once, according to the source.

For several months, leaders of the intelligence committees have been pushing for more information about the kinds of documents found, offering harsh criticism for the lack of information they received early on.

The argument from top lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee has been that they needed to understand the contents and extent of the documents found at each residence in part to understand the potential damage that could be unfurled if the documents had fallen into the wrong hands and if proper mitigation protocols had been followed.

In January, Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, blasted the administration for the lack of transparency over the documents and what they were.

“We simply want to know what was this information,” Rubio said at the time. “What (were) these materials that they had? So that we can make an honest assessment when they provide us a risk assessment, of whether or not they’ve taken the proper mitigation if any was necessary.”

Warner, in recent weeks, had an at-times heated phone conversation with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco on the lack of congressional access to the classified documents found in the possession of Biden, Trump and Pence, two sources familiar with the call tell CNN.

Warner and Rubio have applied considerable public pressure on the DOJ to grant access to the documents.

Republican Rep. James Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News Tuesday morning, “it is very disappointing that it has taken the government this long to allow the Gang of Eight to have access” to the classified documents.

Punchbowl was first to report that that administration has begun giving the Gang of Eight access to the documents.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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