Well, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. According to CBS News, 10 classified documents were located at Joe Biden’s vice-presidential office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.
The documents were discovered by Biden’s attorneys, who were reportedly packing up Biden’s stuff to vacate the office. Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned a US attorney to review what was found.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington, two sources with knowledge of the inquiry told CBS News. The roughly 10 documents are from President Biden’s vice-presidential office at the center, the sources said. CBS News has learned the FBI is also involved in the U.S. attorney’s inquiry.
The classified material was identified by personal attorneys for Mr. Biden on Nov. 2, just before the midterm elections, Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed. The documents were discovered when Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys “were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.,” Sauber said in a statement to CBS News. The documents were contained in a folder that was in a box with other unclassified papers, the sources said. The sources revealed neither what the classified documents contain nor their level of classification. A source familiar told CBS News the documents did not contain nuclear secrets.
Now, I’m not exactly good at math, but given the Penn Biden Center didn’t even open until 2018, that would have to mean these classified documents were taken there by the current president (or one of his underlings) after he no longer had the right to possess them, right? And an out-of-office vice president certainly doesn’t have declassification powers.
One must admit, the setup here is pretty ironic given Donald Trump is currently under criminal investigation by Joe Biden’s DOJ for taking supposedly classified documents (Trump claims he declassified them) to his home in Florida post-presidency. Yet, here we have the current president getting caught with classified documents during a period when it was illegal for him to have them.
Still, there are some differences, I suppose. It doesn’t appear these documents were under a prior request by the National Archives, and that provides a possible out for Biden to claim this was different somehow. Sure enough, and that’s exactly what he’s doing through his representation. In the CBS News report, there’s a quote from Biden’s special counsel noting that these documents weren’t under any previous request from the Archives.
With that said, how do you just “discover” classified documents? Are we to believe Biden didn’t know they were there? And given they were locked up in a closet, why were they taken in the first place? To me, this feels a lot like clearing the deck to make sure there are no roadblocks to the probable prosecution of Trump. Biden turns these over after having them for years, his minions claim there was no intent to break the law, and everyone assures us that it’s nothing like the Trump taking documents to Mar-a-Lago.
I’m not so sure those distinctions fly, though. The entire argument against going after Trump is there are two different standards being applied, and I think that’s pretty clearly the case. Obviously, no two situations will ever be exactly the same, but there are enough similarities here to give one pause.
Nothing is going to happen, though. I think we can all be certain of that. Per the report, the DOJ is looking at whether a special counsel will need to be appointed, but there’s no real chance of that. This will be brushed aside while the crusade to get Trump continues.