Sen. Warnock supports special counsel in Biden classified documents case

The Georgia Democrat said he was "glad to see" the president cooperating.

January 15, 2023, 12:37 PM

The Department of Justice was right to appoint a special counsel to investigate President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents, Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock said on Sunday.

"Classified documents are to be taken seriously and they are to be handled with a great deal of care and no one is above the law," Warnock told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl. "So I'm glad to see the Justice Department doing its work, and we ought to let that work proceed."

The White House has acknowledged that multiple sets of documents with classified markings, including those from Biden's time as vice president, were found at an old office that Biden used and at his home in Delaware.

On "This Week," Karl pressed Warnock: "The White House knew about this back in November, even before the midterms. Do you think that they should have told us about this earlier?"

"The Justice Department is engaged in the investigation and that's one of the questions that I think they will explore. And I don't want to get in front of that investigation," Warnock said.

He also said he was "glad to see that the president and his administration are cooperating."

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that a special counsel, Robert Hur, would lead the investigation into the Biden documents. The White House has stressed that it was Biden's team who first flagged the materials to the government and that they intend to be cooperative.

"We need to get to the bottom of this so that we don't see this kind of thing happen again," Warnock said on "This Week."

The recently reelected senator was also asked about his priorities in the "incredibly divided Congress," where Democrats hold a two-seat majority in the Senate and Republicans have a five-seat advantage in the House.

Warnock touted being "the 18th most bipartisan senator in the Senate," which he linked to his background in the church. Since 2005, he has been the senior pastor of Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist.

"When you're a pastor, you have to welcome and embrace whoever comes through that door, and I look forward to getting good things done for the people of Georgia and for the American people," he said.

In this Dec. 6, 2022, file photo, Senator Raphael Warnock speaks during an event in Atlanta.
Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

But there were limits to those negotiations, including around raising the debt ceiling that the federal government will soon reach, risking a historic default on its debts.

Republicans have called for a borrowing increase to be tied to spending cuts, which the White House has rejected. Warnock said the process shouldn't become chaotic.

"We have to make sure that we don't make the work in D.C about the politics. We can do deficit reduction, we can deal with national debt. But at the same time, the last thing we ought to do is playing chicken with the American economy," he said. "We've been through the onslaught of a very long pandemic that has created a lot of challenges for the American families. They pay their bills. I think they expect the government to pay its bills."

"We can do this on a bipartisan basis, as we've done time and time again," Warnock said.

Looking ahead to 2024, Warnock -- who has endorsed Biden's expected reelection bid -- played down his own ambitions for the White House when Karl asked if he would consider it, should Biden not run.

"You should take a look at my life. I'm a junior U.S senator for Georgia. I continue to lead the Ebenezer Baptist church and I have a 6-year-old and 4-year-old who I owe a trip to Disney world," Warnock said. "I'm going to remain focused on the people of Georgia and try to get a nap."

Later Sunday, Warnock will be joined by President Biden at Ebenezer Baptist, the same church where Martin Luther King Jr. himself preached

King would have turned 94 on Sunday.

Warnock was asked by Karl who, today, embodies King's moral leadership. The senator pointed to King's memorial on the National Mall -- "a Black man who grew up in the segregated south, who came in the 20th century to articulate the meaning of the American dream perhaps more effectively than anybody."

"What it shows any one of us, if we're deeply committed, if we're driven by the North Star of our moral compass, if we center the concerns of other people rather than just ourselves, we can have an impact in a powerful way," Warnock said.