'Gang of 8' briefed on Trump, Biden and Pence classified documents

Sens. Mark Warner and Marco Rubio said the briefing left "much to be desired."

February 28, 2023, 7:17 PM

U.S. officials briefed top congressional leaders on Tuesday about documents with classified markings that were in the possession of former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The closed-door briefing to the so-called "Gang of Eight" -- the top Republicans and Democrats currently in congressional leadership -- was expected to provide more information on the nature of the documents, but officials were not expected to provide the documents themselves to congressional leaders, sources told ABC News.

The Senate Intelligence Committee had been pushing for a briefing from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines about classified documents since the August search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.

Committee Chair Sen. Mark Warner and Ranking Member Sen. Marco Rubio have said the news of documents found at both Biden's office and home, in addition to Pence's Indiana home, increased the urgency for the briefing. And those on the intelligence panels, in particular, have been demanding access for weeks to the specific documents.

PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen through a thicket of tree limbs from the National Mall in Washington, January 4, 2023.
The U.S. Capitol dome is seen through a thicket of tree limbs from the National Mall in Washington, January 4, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters, FILE

Lawmakers declined to speak with reporters as they exited the closed-door meeting after roughly an hour.

Warner and Rubio later released a joint statement saying Tuesday's briefing left "much to be desired."

"In accordance with our responsibility to oversee the Intelligence Community and protect our national security, today we met with leaders from the IC and the Justice Department to discuss the exposure of classified documents," the two lawmakers said. "While today's meeting helped shed some light on these issues, it left much to be desired and we will continue to press for full answers to our questions in accordance with our constitutional oversight obligations."

The White House said Tuesday afternoon that it supported the Department of Justice and Office of the Director of National Intelligence's "decision to be transparent" with Congress.

"The decision to brief and the determination of what content would be briefed were made by DOJ and ODNI independently, consistent with what we have said for months: that the White House has confidence in DOJ and ODNI to exercise independent judgment about whether or when it may be appropriate for national security reasons to offer briefings on any relevant information in these investigations," White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a statement.