Biden Looks Careless, Shady, and Hypocritical After the Revelations About His Handling of Classified Material
In addition to the “small number” of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s former think tank office, it turns out, he had a “small number” in the garage of his house in Wilmington, Delaware, plus one more in a room adjacent to the garage. These were Obama administration records that Biden came across during his time as vice president, and they were definitely not supposed to be in those locations. What had initially seemed like a single lapse now looks like a pattern of carelessness, which creates several problems for Biden and the Justice Department.
First, Biden is no longer in a position to criticize Donald Trump’s “totally irresponsible” handling of sensitive material that he retained when he left office. Second, the delay in acknowledging Biden’s retention of classified records and obfuscation of its scope look like blatant attempts to minimize the political fallout. Third, a criminal prosecution of Trump for his handling of the government documents he took to Mar-a-Lago, which was always an iffy proposition, now seems doomed for political as well as legal reasons.
That is not to say there are no meaningful differences between what Trump did and what Biden did. Based on what we know so far, Trump’s stash, which included 325 classified documents along with thousands of unclassified government records, was much larger than Biden’s. And unlike Biden, Trump persistently resisted returning the documents, apparently because he considered them his personal property. That resistance included months of wrangling with the National Archives and Records Administration and incomplete compliance with a federal subpoena, which culminated in the FBI’s August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.
Then again, Biden kept classified records in unapproved locations for six years, while Trump managed to do that for about a year and a half. Biden said he was “surprised” to learn last fall about the documents in his former office. Biden “takes classified information and materials seriously,” said Richard Sauber, the “special counsel to the president” who is overseeing the White House’s response to the case of the misplaced secrets. “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.”
The timing of these embarrassing revelations does not reflect well on Biden. Sauber said Biden’s lawyers discovered the classified records at the think tank on November 2, six days before the midterm elections. But the White House did not acknowledge that discovery until January 9, and then only after CBS News reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland had asked John R. Lausch Jr., the Trump-nominated U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to look into the matter. Even then, the White House did not mention the subsequent discovery of classified documents in Wilmington, which happened in December. That detail came out yesterday, again thanks to news reports that the White House then confirmed.
It is understandable that Biden did not want this story to break in early Novembe
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