Looks like former President Donald Trump isn’t the only top executive official who took classified documents from the White House to his personal property, a violation of the Presidential Records Act governing such behavior.
White House officials reported that a batch of records, including some classified documents, from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president were found in a private office he used between his time as vice president and president.
Biden’s personal attorneys found the documents on November 2 in a locked closet at Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. as they were packing up the office to vacate it. The attorneys notified the National Archives and they took possession of the documents on November 3.
Biden lawyers cooperating
“The documents were not the subject of any previous request or inquiry by the Archives,” Special Counsel Richard Sauber said in a statement. “Since that discovery, the President’s personal attorneys have cooperated with the Archives and the Department of Justice in process to ensure that any Obama-Biden Administration records are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch to investigate the matter.
But let’s remember for a minute how Biden reacted when classified documents were supposedly found at former President Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence.
“How that could possibly happen? How anyone could be that irresponsible? And I thought what data was in there that would maybe compromise sources and methods?” the president told 60 Minutes at the time of the report. “And it just – totally irresponsible.”
Biden did same as Trump
Now, Biden will have to contend with the fact that he did the same thing the FBI has said Trump did–remove classified documents from the White House and store them at another location he owned or had access to.
Trump actually claims that he declassified all of the documents that were marked classified at Mar-A-Lago, but that hasn’t been fully investigated yet.
I’m sure the Biden administration will claim that Biden is better because it was a smaller amount of documents or they weren’t as important or whatever, but they really can’t get away from the fact that both appear to have violated the same rule. So far, he is ignoring questions from reporters about the documents, but he will have to deal with the issue at some point.
Biden has to admit, however, that this could potentially turn out to be a big scandal for him.
Need for consistency
In reality, it is likely that many modern presidents have taken documents from the White House that they shouldn’t have, either for sentimental reasons, to study them for their memoirs, or to hide something they didn’t want the public to know.
The FBI and the press should never have made such a big deal about Trump having documents, but they couldn’t help themselves. Now, they will need to treat Biden the same way or risk further bias accusations.
Trump said as much when he found out about the documents. “When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” he wrote on Truth Social on Monday. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”