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Tipsheet

Here’s How Cotton Plans to See Seized Classified Docs

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said he and other Republicans will block presidential nominees until members of the Intelligence Committee are shown the classified material found at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence as well as President Biden’s home and office.

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The threat from Cotton, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, comes after lawmakers left a closed-door briefing Wednesday frustrated that the National Intelligence Director, Avril Haines, refused to show them copies of the documents or discuss the contents due to special counsel investigations by Jack Smith and Robert Hur. 

“Whether it’s blocking nominees or withholding budgetary funds, Congress will impose pain on the administration until they provide these documents. And that is coming from both parties,” Cotton told reporters.

“I’m prepared to refuse consent or to fast-track any nominee for any department or agency and to take every step I can on every committee on which I serve to impose consequences on the administration until they provide these documents for the Congress to make our own informed judgment about the risk to national security,” he added.

According to The Hill, Cotton called the administration's excuse for not discussing the material “a farce.” He wasn't alone. 

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence panel emerged together from the secure briefing room and rejected the administration’s argument.

That is “not a tenable position,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va. “What I think the director heard is she didn’t just hear it from Sen. Rubio and I. Literally every member of the committee, without exception, said this won’t stand.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the committee’s vice chair, called it a “very unsatisfying hearing.”

“The bottom line is this: They won’t tell us what they have until the special counsel allows them to tell us. That’s an unacceptable position,” Rubio said.

Warner and others pointed out that the Senate Intelligence panel received regular briefings on Russian interference in the 2016 election at the same time a special counsel was appointed to investigate the matter.

The senators argued that their committee has oversight responsibilities for intelligence matters and that they need to be able to assess whether the discovery of classified documents at Trump’s and Biden’s unsecure homes and office poses a threat to national security. [...]

“We’ve got a job to do, and we’re going to do it,” Warner said. (NBC)

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin dismissed Cotton's threats, saying he's "seen this movie before" since the Arkansas Republican previously held up a group of U.S. attorney and U.S. marshal nominations. 

“I’ve reached out to Sen. Warner this morning, I’m going to talk to him to see if there’s a way to satisfy Sen. Cotton’s concerns, which are shared by some people,” Durbin said. 

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