« We expect her to accomplish what she said she would do during confirmation: be nonpartisan and be able to deal with those documents, » Sen. said. James Lanford (R-Okla.), who is on the committee that reviewed the archivist and voted against her in the courtroom.
But any issues with how presidents handle confidential information « are not within his control at this point, » Lankford added. « This is a legal issue. »
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), another member of the government affairs group who led the opposition to Shogan’s confirmation, agreed that the nexus of the fight over classified documents had shifted: “I think it’s right. This is my feeling. I don’t know how involved the National Archives are at this point.
The top Democrat on the panel that oversaw the fierce confirmation battle, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), said he has not heard from Republicans interested in the archives since the Senate floor vote.
«I haven’t spoken to her since she was confirmed. She wasn’t there before and she wasn’t a part of it [classified document fight] and he is a highly skilled person,” he said. « I didn’t feel any focus on her. »
The archives did not immediately comment on his interactions with Congress after the confirmation.
Some Republicans, in particular, linked the weaker focus on the archives’ handling of classified documents more to the simmering of political news than to markedly less scrutiny of Shogan.
“It’s just that there’s not much oxygen left here. It just seems like we’re going from crisis to crisis to crisis,” said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who is also a member of the jury that considered your candidacy.
Indeed, House Republicans have been overseeing the archives’ role in the Biden confidential documents case extensively prior to Shogan’s rise, and the matter isn’t entirely off their radar. The Audit and Accountability Committee of the Chamber launched an investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents in January and conducted a transcribed interview with Archives General Counsel, Gary Stern, on January 31.
Next, the panel White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients asked in March whether the White House blocked the release of a public statement from the archives about confidential documents that were discovered at the Penn Biden Center think tank.
A former Biden aide who voluntarily appeared for an interview in April testified that she and another aide worked quickly to package documents from his time as vice president and were unaware they contained classified information, according to a partial transcript released by the Democrats oversight panel in May. The chairman of the commission, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), former White House adviser Dana Remus then asked for a transcribed interview and documents relating to archive management.
The archives were back in the news again this month after Trump’s indictment and not-guilty plea in a Miami courtroom for allegedly refusing to hand over classified documents from his tenure as president — material that Shogan’s agency led the prosecution to recapture and that legally it should have been under his control.
The supervisory board did not immediately return a request for comment on the status of its investigation.
Shogan’s nomination last year to the normally under-the-radar post initially sparked little controversy, despite his arrival days before the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search. Previously he worked at the White House Historical Association, the Library of Congress and the Congressional Research Service, as well as teaching positions at Georgetown University and George Mason University.
But things got more complicated during unusually galling confirmation hearings in which Republicans accused Shogan of partisan activity. They highlighted old social media posts, as well as a 2007 academic article she wrote titled « Anti-intellectualism in the Modern Presidency: A Republican Populism. »
“Those tweets were in a personal capacity,” she said at a confirmation hearing of previous social media posts.
Hawley also filed a whistleblower complaint from Shogan’s time with CRS, where the complaint accused her of partisan and abusive behavior, allegations she strongly denied.
The agency has also become a flashpoint in classified-document investigations centered around Biden and Trump, even as officials told the House Intelligence Committee in a transcript released in May that dozens of former congressmen and other top officials have kept information confidential – an issue that we say dates back to the Reagan administration.
Officials told the House panel that the agency has received 80 calls since 2010 regarding improperly stored classified information from several libraries and universities that house government documents.
The Senate finally confirmed Shogan in a 52-45 vote on May 10 with only three Republicans backing her: Sens. Shelley Moore Understood (W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) e SusanCollins (Maine).
Capito, who describes Shogan as a personal friend and introduced her before the committee that considered the pick, said the appointment came during a « highly sensitized period, » as the agency – operating without a confirmed boss Senate at that point – sought to meet its responsibility to recover classified documents obtained at properties associated with Trump, Biden and Pence.
“It was right when all of this was coming to a head,” Capito said in an interview about Shogan’s confirmation. “I don’t imagine she will have a role in that. I think she is [now] a law enforcement or legal issue.
One push lawmakers have said will continue regardless of Trump’s indictment is potential reform aimed at over-classifying government information, including a possible renewal of penalties for improper handling of such documents.
« We classify too many documents and we need a better declassification system, » said Sen. John Cornin (R-Texas), who led a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing overclassification in May. « That’s one of the reasons I think elected officials treat classified information with so little care, because they’ve realized that a lot of what passes for classified information is stuff you can learn on TV and from newspapers. »
Lawmakers are considering possible vehicles for changes to classification laws, but he said success will hinge on keeping that work separate from political conflagrations like document management cases.
“[It] it takes confidence and requires taking her out of a media conversation and attacking people personally,” Lankford said, which is “happening now.” But he was quick to add, “Congress is easily distracted. So it can’t happen.