Democrat Dick Durbin criticizes Biden over classified document controversy
Another top-ranking Democrat is distancing himself from President Biden over the discovery of classified documents at his personal residence. Senator Dick Durbin (Il.) says that Biden "bears ultimate responsibility" for the scandal, despite the White House's attempt to spin things.
In unusually frank remarks, Durbin told CNN's State of the Union that Biden had been "diminished" by the scandal.
Democrat lays into "diminished" Biden
Durbin suggested the files could have been misplaced by someone working for Biden, but he acknowledged the buck "ultimately" stops with him.
Asked if Biden -- who condemned President Trump's "totally irresponsible" handling of government documents -- has lost credibility, Durbin said he did.
“Well, of course. Let’s be honest about it — when that information is found. It diminishes the stature of any person in possession of them," he said.
"It’s not supposed to happen. Whether it was the fault of a staffer or an attorney, it makes no difference. The elected official bears ultimate responsibility.”
But, like Democrats have done for days, Durbin also sought to temper his criticism of Biden by contrasting him with Trump, whose home was raided by the FBI last year.
"Joe Biden has said from the start we are going to be totally transparent about this. Let the chips fall where they may. I’m going to open my home voluntarily to a search, not the first search, I’m sure, of his offices and home."
Durbin used much less restraint in his language following the raid at Mar-A-Lago. At the time, he called Trump's handling of documents a "literal outrage."
When asked to reconcile his statements, Durbin conceded that the issue in both situations is essentially the same, but he insisted that Biden has been "totally" cooperative and transparent, and Trump hasn't been.
Despite Durbin's claim that Biden has been transparent "from the start," many say he has been anything but forthcoming since the documents became public knowledge earlier this month.
The documents were found by Biden's team in November, but not disclosed to the public until January. Even then, the existence of a second set of documents was not immediately shared.
More classified Biden records have continued to surface, including a set of files that was discovered Friday by the FBI during a voluntary search of Biden's home.
Democratic senator Chris Coons of Delaware told ABC's This Week that Biden "had no idea" classified documents were at his house, although that hasn't exactly been established.