Representative Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, was confronted on Saturday for “downplaying” the way former President Donald Trump handled classified documents, but then criticizing President Joe Biden‘s classified documents issue.

CNN host and chief investigative correspondent Pamela Brown asked Turner about his thoughts on the discovery of classified documents at Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware, and discussed how that compared to Trump’s situation.

“I want to go back to what you said in August after the FBI search on [Trump’s resort home] Mar-a-Lago. We interviewed you right after that, and in that interview you seemed to downplay the seriousness of classified documents being at Mar-a-Lago,” Brown said in the Saturday interview. She then played a portion Turner’s August remarks

In that previous interview, the GOP lawmaker said “we don’t really know that these informations are classified.” He said that investigators needed to look at “the substance” of what Trump had taken from the White House.

Pamela Brown and Mike Turner
In the screenshot above, CNN host Pamela Brown questions Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio) on Saturday over his differing views on President Joe Biden’s classified documents scandal compared to what he’s previously said about former President Donald Trump’s handing of similar documents.
CNN/screenshot

“It appears you’ve changed your tune,” Brown said after playing the clip from the August interview. “[You’re] saying now the discovery of Biden’s classified information would put him in potential violation of laws protecting national security,” she pointed out.

Turner responded by contending there was a difference between the two situations and suggesting his comments were taken out of context. “President Trump’s house should not have been raided. That’s the huge difference between here and President Biden’s situation,” Turner, who is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said.

“This inequality, this hypocritical aspect, especially from President Biden, having condemned Trump and then having done the same thing,” he added.

However, White House counsel’s office spokesperson Ian Sams recently said that Biden is “committed to doing the responsible thing and acting appropriately.” The Justice Department did carry out a search of Biden’s Delaware home, which commenced on Friday. The news of the search broke Saturday evening, and six more classified items were uncovered.

Earlier this month, classified documents were found at Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware. The documents dated back to when he served as vice president under former President Barack Obama. Some of the documents also dated back to when Biden was a senator from 1973 to 2009.

An earlier batch of confidential records was also discovered on November 2 by Biden’s attorneys in his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement think tank in Washington, D.C.

The CNN host on Saturday pointed out some of the differences between both situations, telling Turner “if you’re being intellectually honest with yourself, the key difference here [is] that Trump and his team defied a subpoena.”

“They said they have turned over everything and yet evidence developed through the course of the investigation that classified documents were being moved, which started this obstruction of justice investigation. So that is a key difference here of why the FBI searched his [Trump’s] residence,” Brown added.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) previously asked a federal judge to hold Trump’s office in contempt of court over concerns he still has not returned all top secret materials removed from the White House.

The former president was originally subpoenaed to return the classified materials in May. Trump’s lawyers assured the FBI that all materials were returned in June. But in August the FBI seized hundreds of classified documents, including those marked top secret, from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

GOP Rep. Confronted on Downplaying Trump Documents
Above, Representative Mike Turner (R-Ohio) questions witnesses during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by ROD LAMKEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Though Brown on Saturday kept insisting that Trump had months to cooperate and return classified documents before the FBI raid, Turner argued Attorney General Merrick Garland had “several steps” that he could have taken before approving the search at Mar-a-Lago.

“The thing is to go to the level of raiding the former president’s home, the political rival of President Biden, that is such a high level of scrutiny,” Turner said during the exchange on CNN. “And they can’t claim that it was because the national security was at risk because they didn’t even ask anybody who’s in national security.”

Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, along with others, took to Twitter to praise Brown’s interview with Turner. He argued she helped highlight Republicans‘ “hypocrisy.”

“The interview of @RepMikeTurner by @PamelaBrownCNN is just an indicator of the hypocrisy of the @GOP. Well done, Pam,” Hertling wrote.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s media office and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for comment.

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