Last August 8, the country was shocked to learn that the FBI, following orders from Joe Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, conducted an early morning raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, during which it confiscated over 11,000 government documents, about 100 of which were classified, that Trump had failed to return to the National Archives at the end of his presidency. According to the search warrant, the FBI was investigating Trump for the possible violation of three federal criminal statutes, including the unauthorized retention of national defense information in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act, destroying or concealing records “with the intent to impede, obstruct or influence” a federal government activity, and the illegal removal or destruction of federal government records (without respect to cause).
Soon thereafter, when President Biden was asked in a CBS interview about his reaction when he “saw the photograph of the top secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago,” he replied, “How anyone could be that irresponsible, and [then] I thought: What data was in there that may compromise sources and methods?”
As the investigation into the Mar-a-Lago documents continued, in November, Attorney General Garland appointed federal prosecutor Jack Smith as an independent special counsel to take over the probe, as Democrats continued to claim that Trump’s mishandling of the documents was further proof that he is unfit to run for president again in 2024.
But now that political shoe is on the other foot, after the disclosures last week that President Biden had illegally retained possession of secret government documents at the end of his two terms as Barack Obama’s vice president in January, 2017.
A SERIES OF DAMAGING DISCLOSURES
The first batch of Biden’s illegally retained documents were found this past November 2, just six days before the midterm election, in the locked closet of a Washington office which the Penn University Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement had reserved for Biden’s use. Word of that discovery was deliberately suppressed by the Justice Department and White House officials, and was only revealed to the public on Monday, January 9, after it was leaked to CBS News, which then broke the story.
The next day, January 10, Biden told reporters that he had been “surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office.” The president offered no explanation as to how the documents had gotten there.
The following day, NBC News reported that more classified documents were found on December 20 in the garage of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home. Finally, on January 14, one of Biden’s private lawyers announced that five more pages of classified material had been discovered in a storage room adjacent to that garage and which Biden has called his “personal library.”
According to CNN, the initial batch of 10 classified documents discovered by Biden’s lawyer, Pat Moore on November 2 while Biden’s long unused Washington office was being cleaned out, were found in “a manilla folder marked ‘VP personal,” and consisted of “intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran and Great Britain. The documents also included a memo from Biden to President Obama and briefing memos meant to prepare Biden for a phone call with the prime minister of Britain and another call with Donald Tusk, who was president of the European Council. The CNN report cited a single anonymous White House source who claims that Biden “didn’t know the documents were there.”
According to the timeline released by Biden’s lawyers last week, the National Archives was informed of the discovery in Biden’s Washington office the same day they were supposedly found, on November 2. The documents were retrieved by the National Archives the next day, and the matter was promptly referred to the Justice Department, which, on November 9, launched a preliminary inquiry into why and how the documents had come into Biden’s possession. The matter was kept from the American people.
BIDEN AND TRUMP ARE GUILTY OF THE SAME CRIMES
While Biden so far has been found to have less classified and unclassified government documents in his possession than Trump, it is still clear that Biden had violated two of the three criminal statutes which the FBI had used to justify its raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. From a strictly legal point of view, the number of classified documents that have been mishandled is irrelevant. Just one mishandled classified document is enough to seek a criminal indictment.
WHY TRUMP MAY NOT HAVE BROKEN THE LAW
On the other hand, when he was vice president, Biden did not have Trump’s legal authority when he was president to declassify any government document in his possession. Trump claims to have done that for all of the documents the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago.
Before he became president, Biden also was not eligible for the provisions in the Presidential Records Act that give a former president the right to access documents from their presidential years from the National Archives, and which provides all ex-presidents with a staff with security clearances and secure facilities (SCIFs) for the maintenance of classified records, as well as Secret Service protection for his Mar-a-Lago home, where the documents were stored. The Presidential Records Act permits departing presidents to take personal copies of any of their records; but it does not grant similar privileges to departing vice presidents.
Writing in the Federalist, Margot Cleveland suggests that the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago could have been easily avoided if the officials at the National Archives had been willing to “work with Trump to coordinate the storage of the documents under the technical possession of the government, but at a location of the former president’s choosing, just as was done with former President Barack Obama.”
Cleveland writes that, “because the National Archives and the Biden administration went nuclear against Trump for possessing documents at Mar-a-Lago marked classified, they have no option but to pretend to treat Joe Biden’s possession of classified documents in an equally serious way.”
Cleveland says that, “the Biden classified documents scandal is not a serious scandal. The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan is a serious scandal. Biden’s refusal to faithfully execute his duties as president of the United States to secure the southern border is a serious scandal. The Biden family pay-to-play escapades are a serious scandal. And the weaponization of the FBI and the intelligence community to interfere in the 2020 election and hand Biden the presidency is a serious scandal. This [the mishandling of government documents] is not.
Yet another complication arising from the presence of the classified documents in Biden’s home is the fact that his son Hunter was living there at the time, while he was struggling with addiction to drugs, and working on making business deals with shady foreign associates who might have wanted access to that classified information.
Meanwhile, Democrats, White House officials and Biden’s supporters in the mainstream media have been trying desperately to distinguish between his mishandling of government documents and Trump’s. But support for Biden in this issue is clearly slipping, even among those who could usually be counted on to back up the president.
WHY GARLAND APPOINTED A SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR BIDEN’S CASE
Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland was pressured to appoint a special counsel, Robert Hur, who had served as the U.S. attorney in Maryland, to investigate the story behind the hidden Biden documents.
Hur is taking over the investigation which was initiated by John Lausch, a U.S. attorney in Chicago. Initially the probe had centered upon the first batch of classified documents that were found at the Washington office, but has been expanded to include the other documents that were subsequently found in Biden’s home.
Garland hoped that his appointment would assure the American people that Biden was not getting preferential treatment, and that the parallel investigations into Trump and Biden would be carried out impartially and based strictly upon the facts and the law. However, Garland had already been accused by Trump supporters of following a double standard, because he had launched the high-profile FBI raid on the home of the former president in the middle of an election year.
Furthermore, Garland hid from voters news of the discovery of similar documents illegally in Biden’s possession just six days before last November’s midterm election, and continued to suppress word of that discovery until last week, when it was reported only due to a leak to the media.
There are also questions about Garland’s selection of Hur to head the investigation into Biden because when Hur was at the Trump Justice Department, he worked for deputy attorney general Ron Rosenstein, and was involved in overseeing the misguided and botched Mueller investigation into the Russia-Trump 2016 election hoax.
On the other hand, the very fact that the president is now being investigated by an independent special counsel will inevitably create a major distraction in the months ahead for Biden and his inner circle of White House aides who were with him when he was vice president. They must now be prepared to testify under oath about any knowledge they may have that is related to the mishandled government documents.
Since Hur has also been given authority to probe “any matters that arose from the initial investigation” and anything that “may arise directly from” his own investigation, Biden and his associates must also be prepared to respond to any fresh disclosures that Hur might uncover.
PARALLELS TO HILLARY CLINTON’S EMAIL SERVER
According to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, Politico’s Legal Affairs columnist, Biden’s main legal jeopardy is from his violation of the federal statute which punishes the loss or removal of national defense information resulting from “gross negligence.”
“If that sounds familiar,” Mariotti wrote, “that’s because it was the same statute that former FBI Director James Comey focused on during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.”
While both special prosecutors will be able to pursue their separate investigations of Biden and Trump independently, in the end, Smith and Hur will submit their recommendations to Attorney General Garland, who alone will make the final decision about whether they should be prosecuted for mishandling the documents found in their possession, or, in Trump’s case, obstruction of the efforts by the National Archives to recover those documents.
In addition to the facts uncovered by the special counsel investigations, Garland’s decision will also have to take into account the action by former FBI Director James Comey. In 2016, Comey exceeded his authority by unilaterally deciding to exonerate Hillary Clinton despite her willful violation of federal document security laws by using a private e-mail server and then ordering the destruction more than 33,000 of those emails to prevent them from falling into the hands of a congressional committee which had subpoenaed them.
More specifically, if Garland does decide to prosecute Trump but clears Biden, he will inevitably be asked, and not just by Republicans, why Trump did not receive the same lenient treatment that was granted to Hillary Clinton for committing a similar offense.
Biden did keep “at least 10 classified documents — including at least one marked Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information — for over six years in an unsecured office and additional classified documents in his home garage.” Nevertheless, Mariotti very much doubts that special counsel Hur will seek to indict the president for his “sloppy handling of classified material,” unless his investigation turns up new evidence of “criminal recklessness” by Biden.
BIDEN’S EXCUSE: “MY GARAGE WAS LOCKED”
Last week, Biden sought to make light of the fact that he had compromised the security of the classified documents that were illegally in his possession, by noting that some of them had been stored in the same locked garage where he stored his classic 1967 Corvette Stingray sports car. “My Corvette is in a locked garage, OK?” Biden said in answer to a question from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy. “So it’s not like they [the documents] were sitting out in the street.”
“People know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously,” the president added. “I also said we’re cooperating, fully cooperated with the Justice Department’s review.”
Republicans were neither satisfied nor amused by the president’s feeble attempt to claim that a locked garage door was a sufficient safeguard for top secret government documents. They insist that Biden deserves the same harsh treatment that Trump received after the discovery of the government documents that he had at Mar-a-Lago.
Hur’s independent investigation will make it much easier for the White House to duck the hard unanswered questions about Biden’s handling of the classified documents. Biden’s press secretary has already begun referring those questions from the White House press corps to the Justice Department, knowing that it will routinely refuse to comment on Hur’s ongoing investigation. And when investigating House Republicans seek the same information from the Department of Justice, its answer will also be “no.”
HOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE A NEW TARGET
House Republicans were already planning to launch an investigation into the evidence of influence peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, found on his laptop. Now they have a new target, the retention and mishandling of secret documents by Joe Biden himself upon leaving his post as vice president.
Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, has asked for a classified briefing about the Biden documents by the end of the month, as has Democrat Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Congressman James Comer of Kentucky, who chairs the Oversight and Reform Committee, is also demanding more answers. “We first learned about the Penn Biden Center classified documents months after they were found in an unsecure closet. Then it took the White House weeks to inform the public about the documents found in President Biden’s Wilmington garage. And now days later, we are learning that there are more documents at the Wilmington residence.” Now Comer wants to know, “Are there more classified documents to be found?”
Comer has also asked the White House to turn over all relevant material and communications related to the government documents discovered in Biden’s custody. Comer has also demanded that the White House provide a log of all of the visitors to Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home during the entire six-year period that the classified government documents were stored.
“The committee is concerned that President Biden has compromised sources and methods with his own mishandling of classified documents. . . In light of the Biden family’s suspicious business schemes with foreign adversaries, Americans need to know who has visited President Biden’s Wilmington residence and had access to the stashed classified documents that sat in Biden’s garage,” Comer wrote in a letter to White House counsel Stuart Delery.
“The White House needs to release visitor logs to the public and bring transparency to this administration,” the chairman added.
The White House response to Comer’s letter was that such a visitor’s log does not exist, out of respect for the privacy of President Biden’s home.
Comer also challenged Biden’s credibility in an interview with CBS News. “Look, this happened November 2nd. Joe Biden said he would be the most transparent president in American history. Why are we just now learning this? CBS did a great job uncovering this [otherwise] we would never know,” the Kentucky congressman said.
Congressman Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sent letters to Attorney General Garland and Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, requesting a briefing on the discovery of classified information at the two Biden locations, and suggesting that their presence “could implicate the president in the mishandling, potential misuse and exposure of classified information.”
Turner also wrote, “The question of further dissemination of these documents … must be fully examined,” and demanded to be told why Biden, as a former vice president, maintained custody of highly classified documents, who had access to them and for what purposes.
Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, and Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana another senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, have also sent Attorney General Garland a letter asking for all relevant executive branch documents and communications between the Department of Justice, the FBI, the White House and Biden’s personal lawyers.
“We are conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions with respect to former Vice President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C., private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware, residence,” Jordan and Johnson wrote.
“It is unclear when the Department first came to learn about the existence of these documents, and whether it actively concealed this information from the public on the eve of the 2022 elections,” the letter said. “It is also unclear what interactions, if any, the Department had with President Biden or his representatives about his mishandling of classified material. The Department’s actions here appear to depart from how it acted in similar circumstances.”
“We expect your complete cooperation with our inquiry,” Jordan and Johnson added.
Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sent a letter to Biden’s attorney, Richard Sauber, asking which documents found in Biden’s Washington office were marked classified, why the office was being vacated and a list of other locations where Biden may have stored records that he obtained while he was vice president.
BIDEN GETTING THE HILLARY CLINTON “KID-GLOVES” TREATMENT
Chris Swecker, a 24-year veteran of the FBI who retired from the bureau as an assistant director of its criminal investigative division, told Fox News that the Justice Department has badly mishandled the Biden document case, especially compared to the way it treated Donald Trump.
“There is a glaring disparity in how somewhat identical facts are treated when it comes to the Bidens,” he said.
When asked why the FBI left the search of Biden’s home for more misplaced classified materials to Biden’s White House aides, Swecker responded that “an open investigation” should have already been started. He also that the FBI’s treatment of Biden’s misplaced documents reminds him of how the FBI treated Hillary Clinton, which enabled to her to avoid prosecution on criminal charges for her use of an unsecured private email server for her government correspondence while she was Secretary of State.
“This is a continuation of that kid-gloves, soft touch that they have with things to the left of the political aisle,” Swecker said, while when dealing with people “on the right side, they come in with swat teams and search warrants and come hard. It shouldn’t be that way.”
“I think it’s bad for the FBI to go using search warrants to do that sort of thing,” he added. “They should subpoena and they should do this in a way that is short of conducting an outright raid. But that’s not what they did with Trump – they just raided his Mar-a-Lago residence.… If it’s good for Trump, it should have been good for Biden, as well.”
The former FBI agent also said that in his opinion, the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago were much better protected than those found in Biden’s Delaware home.
“At Mar-a-Lago. . . it took an FBI swat team to get in there.” Swecker further explained, “You can’t get in the gate. I’m sure there was a log there because he was still under Secret Service protection. [They] were locked inside a closet, the hotel has got cameras and security, so it’s buttoned down pretty tight. They had made sure it was locked at the request of the [National] Archives and Department of Justice.
“Now a garage door, you can go out to any one of these tech places and you can program any garage door opener to open up any garage door, practically,” Swecker added. “[Biden] wasn’t under Secret Service protection at the time, from my understanding, and the house was empty a lot of that time. That house was inherently. . . much less secure than Mar-a-Lago.”
BIDEN’S LAWYERS CLAIM IT WAS AN INNOCENT MISTAKE
Richard Sauber, who serves as a Special Counsel to the president, has responded to the criticism by insisting that Biden “takes classified information and materials seriously” and that the president’s lawyers “will continue to cooperate” with the Hur’s investigation.
“We are confident that a thorough review will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced, and the President and his lawyers acted promptly upon discovery of this mistake,” Sauber added.
But that dismissive attitude has failed to satisfy Biden’s Republican critics, and many frustrated Democrats as well, who believe that the tight-lipped White House approach to Biden’s classified documents problem has only reinforced the suspicions of Biden’s opponents that the president really does have something to hide. The steady drip, drip, drip of daily disclosures last week of fresh document discoveries in Biden’s home only served to supercharge the scandal and enabled it to dominate the headlines.
While Biden had been largely immune to any serious criticism or embarrassing question from friendly anti-Trump reporters during the 2020 presidential campaign, and to a lesser extent, the first two years of his presidency, that honeymoon period with the media is now clearly over. Instead, over the past week, the atmosphere in the White House press room has become tense due to persistent questions from reporters reminiscent of President Nixon’s Watergate scandal, asking Biden what he knew about the misplaced classified documents found in his possession, and when he knew it.
Many of Biden’s supporters now also believe that the president must wait before making his expected announcement that he will run for re-election in 2024 until he more fully explains how and why classified government documents wound up in his garage and a private office in Washington, D.C., and thereby puts the growing controversy over the documents fully to rest.
BIDEN FRIENDS SAY HE NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE
“He’s got to say, ‘I messed up, I apologize,’” said Lanny Davis, who handled various investigations as a lawyer for President Bill Clinton’s White House.
“With the wisdom of hindsight, it’s not too late for President Biden to own up to mishandling this,” said Davis. “Own it!”
Yet another critic of the way the Biden White House has handled the document scandal is Andrew Weissmann, who gained notoriety as the “pitbull” prosecutor in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. In a series of tweets, Weissmann said, “The White House keeps digging a hole deeper: they have failed to answer so many questions, which is very strange if this is all an innocent mistake.” Weissmann also asked about the “total number of government docs found and precisely where; and what levels of classification? Why wasn’t this all revealed in November/December?”
On the other hand, Weissmann has predicted that Biden will not be prosecuted because, “it’s not a crime to accidentally take and retain govt docs. If upon learning that you have docs, you return them, there is no crime.”
The belief that the White House has badly mishandled the document scandal is also shared by at least one unidentified Bush administration official, who told an NBC reporter, “I think it was a misstep. If you’re going to be transparent, you have to be forthcoming with what you know and when you know it. When you start trickling out information that you knew already, it starts to raise more flags. People start wondering, ‘When is the next shoe going to drop?’”
Unfortunately for Biden, his White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has been unable to come up with a satisfactorily answer for the obvious question that was asked by an NBC reporter last week: Why has the administration repeatedly waited to publicly disclose the documents’ discovery until after reporters learned of them from other sources? Instead, she has sought to justify the White House silence as necessary to respect the independence of the Department of Justice investigative process.
WHICH BAD EXPLANATION WILL VOTERS BELIEVE?
But that excuse will not be adequate to repair the damage being done to Biden’s image by the document scandal. There are only two reasonable explanations for the illegal presence of classified government documents he took while he was vice president in both his Washington office and his home. Either Biden knowingly kept them, perhaps to use as source material for his book that was published in 2017, and is now deliberately lying about it, or he is now so mentally challenged that he really did not remember that they were still in his possession. Regardless of which explanation turns out to be accurate, or voters choose to believe, it will not help him to win re-election in 2024.
Meanwhile, the inevitable comparisons between the ways in which Biden and Trump cases are being handled will only make it that much harder for Jack Smith, the Special Counsel now investigating Trump’s handling of the Mar-a-Lago documents to file criminal charges against him, especially if Biden is ultimately allowed to escape prosecution for the same offenses. A Wall Street Journal editorial concludes that “the underlying offense is far too close for safe political comfort. If that were to happen, then “half of the country would conclude that the sitting president is prosecuting his chief political competitor for an offense that he also committed.”
Trump and his allies have been making the claim that because both Biden and Trump had classified material in their possession after leaving office, their two cases are legally equivalent. Therefore, if criminal charges are filed against Trump but not Biden, it would be a serious miscarriage of justice.
WE ONLY KNOW WHAT BIDEN’S LAWYERS HAVE TOLD US
Byron York, the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner nots that, “The biggest problem with the Joe Biden documents story is this: We know only what Joe Biden’s lawyers have told us.”
In fact, York notes, the information that Biden’s lawyers have released about the documents so far leaves many obvious questions unanswered. For example, “How did the classified documents end up in the former vice president’s possession? We don’t know.
“The same questions apply to the documents found in Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. How did they get there? When did they get there? Did Biden himself use them?”
“Why did Biden’s lawyers wait so long to search [his Delaware] houses? Biden’s lawyers did not say.”
The most detailed statement of the circumstances surrounding the discovery of government documents in Biden’s home last week came from Biden’s personal lawyer Richard Sauber. He said that Biden’s other personal lawyers halted their search of Biden’s home after coming across the first page of classified material, because they “do not have active security clearances.”
“Because I have a security clearance,” Saber said, “I went to Wilmington [the next] evening to facilitate providing the document the President’s personal counsel found to the Justice Department,” Sauber wrote. “While I was transferring it to the DOJ officials who accompanied me, five additional pages with classification markings were discovered among the material with it, for a total of six pages. The DOJ officials with me immediately took possession of them.”
He then added that after having “publicly released specific details about the documents identified, how they were identified, and where they were found, the appointment of the Special Counsel in this matter means we will now refer specific questions to the Special Counsel’s office moving forward.”
Amplifying that message, Bob Bauer, another one of President Biden’s personal lawyers, released a separate statement explaining how Biden’s legal team has “attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation’s integrity.” Bauer added that “these considerations require avoiding the public release of detail relevant to the investigation while it is ongoing.”
TOO MANY QUESTIONS STILL UNANSWERED
While Biden has been much more cooperative than Trump in returning the discovered documents in his possession to the National Archives, he and his team of lawyers still have a lot of questions to answer, both to Hur’s investigators and to the voting public.
The first batch of classified documents were discovered last November 2, six days before the midterm elections, but no one among Biden’s team said anything publicly about it at the time, even though Biden had used the investigation into Trump’s documents as a talking point during the midterm campaign, calling Trump’s illegal possession of classified material “irresponsible.”
Their most likely reason for keeping the discovery secret until after the midterm election is obvious. The federal laws for handling highly classified materials are clear. They are never to be moved from secure facilities. Prompt revelation before the election that Biden had been equally irresponsible as Trump in that regard would likely have been politically damaging for the Democrat candidates who were running on Biden’s presidential record of accomplishments.
Another question raised by the timeline for the documents that Biden’s lawyers have released regards the period between January 20, 2017, when Biden’s term as Obama’s vice president ended, and February 8, 2018, when the Penn Biden Center opened its doors in Washington D.C., including Biden’s office where the first batch of mishandled government documents were discovered last November. Where were those documents during that time, and why did Biden take them with him when his term as vice president ended in the first place?
It is obvious that those documents had to have been moved more than once, which makes it more difficult to believe the claim by Biden’s lawyer that they were merely “inadvertently misplaced.”
WHY WAS BIDEN’S LAWYER CLEANING OUT HIS OFFICE?
Yet another unanswered question is why Biden lawyer, Pat Moore, was present when the office at the Penn Biden Center was being cleaned out. That is usually a job for movers and low level staffers rather than one of the president’s personal lawyers, except, of course, if the lawyer had been expecting to find something in that office that should not have been there.
That is what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was thinking when he said, “If you call a lawyer to remove something from your office, you must have known ahead of time.”
Biden’s critics say that the Penn Biden Center itself should be one of the targets of Hur’s investigation because since its opening was announced in 2017, Penn University has received $30 million in gifts from mostly anonymous donors in Communist China.
BIDEN SCANDAL PARTIAL VINDICATION FOR TRUMP
The revelations that Biden had been in illegal possession of classified government documents for the past six years was not only a political gift to Republicans, but also a partial vindication for Donald Trump, who has been facing the threat of criminal prosecution for essentially doing the same thing that we now know that Biden did as well.
GOP strategist Scott Jennings, a former aide to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and in the George W. Bush White House ,said that the discovery that Biden also held onto classified documents, “politically neutralizes the Mar-a-Lago issue, and everyone knows it.
“Biden scolding Trump over it last year when he had documents in his garage … I mean you can’t make it up. He should’ve kept his mouth shut regarding an ongoing investigation. But now and forever he has to live with his own hypocrisy,” Jennings added.
He also said that if the Justice Department indicts Trump and not Biden, “it raises the question of fairness and double standards. Details here don’t matter as a political debating point, even if they do as a legal matter.”
FORTUNATE TIMING FOR REPUBLICANS
The timing of the disclosure of Biden’s document scandal was also fortuitous for his political opponents. The story broke on the same day that Biden was visiting Mexico City in an effort to demonstrate that he was at last doing something serious about bringing the immigration crisis on the southern border under control.
The discovery of Biden’s documents diverted the media’s attention away from Kevin McCarthy’s messy election for Speaker, as well as the outrage over the admission by freshman Republican Congressman George Santos, who has admitted that he brazenly lied to Long Island voters about his background, including his claim to be the Jewish son of Holocaust survivors.
McCarthy’s reaction to the Biden document disclosures was that they explain “why the American public does not trust their government.”
Speaker McCarthy accused Biden of blatant hypocrisy in his criticism of Trump following the FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago home. “I think Congress has to investigate this. Here’s an individual that said on ’60 Minutes’ that [he] was so concerned about President Trump’s documents. … And now, we find… [that Biden] as a vice president, [also took classified material] keeping it for years out in the open in different locations,” McCarthy said.
MCCARTHY CONDEMNS THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S DOUBLE STANDARS
McCarthy also blasted the Biden Justice Department for practicing a double standard when dealing with Biden vs. Trump. He asked, “Did [Biden] utilize the Justice Department to raid President Trump?
“You watched them leak photos of files of President Trump; where’s the photos of President Biden’s documents?” McCarthy asked.
“Prior to an election, they found a sitting president, when he was vice president, with top secret documents,” McCarthy said, and then asked, “Why did they handle that differently? We’re in America, we believe in equal justice. Why did they not even tell America that transpired?
“How did [Biden] sit before ‘60 Minutes’ knowing what he had done? How do we find a second location and he’s shocked by it? Why aren’t you [the press] asking him these questions?
“Why doesn’t [Biden] come forward to the American public?”
McCarthy also noted in an interview with Fox News that, “Congress has an independent constitutional obligation to oversee all aspects of the Justice Department, and that includes special counsels as well. And so we will have a role in overseeing what’s transpiring here. What’s real concerning to me is how justice is applied and is it applied equally.
MCCARTHY CONDEMNS THE POLITICIZED JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
“How many years has this vice president, who’s been in [public] office for more than 40 years, had these documents? Who’s been in and out of there?” the House Speaker asked. “So, they apply a special counsel, but how many agents do they apply to that and applied to President Trump as well? This is just hypocrisy.”
McCarthy also said, “I’m tired of this Justice Department that we found that went after parents and others, that they utilize it to go after people because they have different political beliefs. That is what’s wrong with government.”
He also complained about Garland’s choice of Hur to serve as the special counsel running the investigation into Biden’s documents, because of his previous “ties to the Russia hoax.”
“Why is it,” McCarthy asked, “every time there’s an investigation of a Republican, they’re always tied together in a small little loop? Couldn’t we have an independent person in the FBI that has no ties to anything to investigate something? Why is it always from a small protected group of friends [that] are the only ones that they put in to [serve as] counsel?”
McCarthy then promised, “We will get to the bottom of this no matter how long it takes us and how hard we have to fight. There’s one thing I think, I hope the American public realized from watching the race for speaker: I will never give up. That means I will never give up on you on getting the truth.”
DOCUMENT SCANDAL ENDED BIDEN’S WINNING STREAK
The disclosure that Biden illegally had classified documents in his possession interrupted his recent political winning streak, as reflected by the recent rise in his job approval rating. Biden and his supporters have had good reason to celebrate, because of the unexpectedly strong showing by Democrats in the midterm election, as well as passage of the huge $1.7 trillion omnibus federal spending bill generously funding wasteful liberal welfare spending programs and more than 7,200 “earmarked” pork-barrel projects through the end of the current fiscal year.
That winning streak is now over. Last week, when Biden and his administration should have been boasting about the latest economic report showing a sharp drop in the rate of inflation, the White House was kept busy instead trying to explain one embarrassing document discovery after another, each one further damaging its already tattered credibility and self-righteous claims of transparency.
The document scandal will give McCarthy and his House Republican majority an opportunity to do to President Biden what the Democrats under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, did to Donald Trump over the past four years, keeping Biden and the Democrats on the political defensive for the next two years as the GOP prepares to take back control of the White House and the Senate in the 2024 election.