Barack Obama has given an indirect response to the growing classified documents controversy engulfing now-President Biden.
Throwing his old buddy Biden under the bus, Obama is claiming he doesn’t have any classified documents floating around in places they shouldn’t be.
Obama weighs in
In a statement, Obama’s representatives said “all of President Obama’s classified records were submitted to the National Archives upon leaving office” and that the National Archives (NARA) “continues to assume physical and legal custody of President Obama’s materials to date.”
That’s right: the man who notoriously bragged about governing with a “pen and a phone” is claiming that he doesn’t have any classified documents floating around improperly, even after Biden and Vice President Mike Pence said they did.
What are the odds?
The National Archives used strikingly similar language last year in a series of gratuitous, misleading “fact checks” defending Obama against President Trump’s claims that Obama records had been mishandled.
NARA said they had “assumed exclusive legal and physical custody of Obama presidential records.”
NARA caught flatfooted
That claim, which is now being repeated by Obama, is obviously incorrect in light of classified documents from Biden’s vice presidency being discovered at the Penn Biden Center and, of all places, Biden’s garage, near his Corvette.
The National Archives has been forced to backpedal on its previously definitive statements, telling Republican investigators last week, in a deeply ironic statement, that they never meant to suggest they actually had “all” records from the Obama-Biden administration.
“Please note that at the end of every Presidential administration, NARA receives only the presidential and vice presidential records that the departing administration provides us [emphasis added],” the Archives wrote. “We are never able to know whether we have ‘all’ such records.”
Obama’s fresh comments come after Mike Pence said Tuesday that his lawyers had found documents at his house, news which appeared to trivialize the case against Biden as well as Trump, whose home was raided by the FBI last year.
Even before the Biden controversy blew up this month, Trump had raised concern about a double-standard, concerns that have only grown in light of the DOJ’s seemingly kid-gloved approach to the Biden documents
With Biden and even Mike Pence now chasing down documents, it’s become a lot more difficult to dismiss Trump’s complaints as “misinformation.”
Indeed, the National Archives is weighing whether to ask all living former presidents and vice presidents to look again for classified material.