Government documents were found in an office once occupied by the president. And of course, the Republicans are trying to deflect attention from Donald Trump’s case and profit from it politically. But there are crucial differences — not only in terms of quantity of documents found.
Does President Joe Biden now also have a scandal on his hands with regard to classified documents? As we have just learned, Biden’s lawyers discovered some classified documents that belonged in the National Archives while clearing out an office Biden used as Barack Obama’s vice president.
The Republicans are already sensing a scandal that could deflect attention from the case of classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate during an FBI raid.
Of course, we need to clarify how the papers came to be in Biden’s office and whether the future president knew about them. Still, based on what is known until this point, the case is clearly different from Trump’s case, starting with the sheer volume of material at issue. Lawyers reportedly found 10 classified documents in Biden’s old office. Trump’s case involves more than 100 classified documents.
After the discovery, Biden’s lawyers are also said to have notified the National Archives immediately, and the [Archives] took possession of the material the following day. That is completely different from the case with Trump, who refused to hand over the documents he took from the White House for quite some time. Trump’s lawyers handed over 38 documents only after a court ordered him to do so. It took an FBI raid to seize another 100 documents that Trump continued to hold onto.
The Justice Department appointed a special counsel to shed light on the Trump document scandal and to investigate whether to bring charges. Justice now is also examining the case of the Biden documents. Still, regardless of what happens once the Biden matter is clarified, it is crucially different from the Trump case.
That is because Trump’s White House insisted on a legal approach claimed by former presidents that a U.S. president cannot be prosecuted while he is in office. That would also currently apply to Biden. It is different for Trump who, as former president, can now be held criminally responsible just like any other U.S. citizen.
Admittedly, the Republicans, with their majority in the House of Representatives, can set up a committee to investigate the matter and reap maximum political profit from this affair. So we can look forward to another big political drama from Washington.