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Joe Biden lays a wreath at the Shanksville Flight 93 Memorial on September 11, 2020. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden reiterated on Monday his campaign pledge to declassify documents pertaining to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, adding that he welcomed a new filing by the Department of Justice to conduct a "fresh review" of the available documents.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come days after families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks told the president in a statement to not attend next month's 20th-anniversary memorials unless he declassifies documents that they believe will show Saudi leaders supported the attacks.

  • "[W]e cannot in good faith, and with veneration to those lost, sick, and injured, welcome the president to our hallowed grounds until he fulfills his commitment," the families wrote in the statement.
  • "Twenty years later, there is simply no reason — unmerited claims of 'national security' or otherwise — to keep this information secret," they added.

What he's saying: Biden on Monday said he is committed to "ensuring the maximum degree of transparency under the law."

  • "[I] welcome the Department of Justice’s filing today, which commits to conducting a fresh review of documents where the government has previously asserted privileges, and to doing so as quickly as possible," Biden said in a statement.
  • "I know well the all-consuming grief of losing someone you love so suddenly. I can only imagine the added pain these families have endured, spending 20 years pursuing accountability and justice," he added.
  • "My heart and my prayers continue to be with the 9/11 families who are suffering, and my Administration will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community."

9/11 Community United, a group for families and survivors of the attacks, reacted to Biden's statement by saying they appreciated that Biden acknowledged the "long-standing questions" surrounding Saudi Arabia’s involvement but called the president's words "half-hearted."

  • "This announcement is a necessary but insufficient step towards transparency, accountability and above all, justice," per the statement.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

Go deeper

Biden touts infrastructure bill ahead of Monday signing

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday said the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill would "stabilize" the supply chain and "modernize" the country's infrastructure.

Why it matters: The president's remarks at a briefing in Baltimore come days after the House passed the long-awaited bipartisan infrastructure package and ahead of the bill's signing ceremony on Monday.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.