The White House confirmed last Tuesday and Thursday that classified documents from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president were found in his private office in Washington D.C. and at his home in Delaware.
Why it matters: The disclosures could create a shadow over Biden, who criticized his predecessor, Donald Trump, for mishandling classified materials as the two prepare a possible rematch in the 2024 presidential election.
What’s happening: On Monday, the White House said several classified documents from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president were discovered in his former private office last fall.
- Richard Sauber, special counsel to the President, said Biden’s personal lawyer found “a small number” of documents with classified markings while packing documents at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. on November 2, 2022. Sauber stressed the National Archives “took possession of” the documents the next morning, adding that the Biden side is working with the Archives and the Justice Department to ensure that any documents from the Obama-Biden administration “are appropriately in the possession of the Archives.”
- On Thursday, the White House confirmed that a second batch of classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president had been found at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. A “small number” of classified documents were found in the garage, and one document was found in “an adjacent room.”
- Also, on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, Robert Hur, to investigate the matter.
- On Saturday, Sauber confirmed that five more classified documents were found in the “adjacent room” in Biden’s Wilmington home.
- Meanwhile, the President’s personal lawyer released a timeline of events surrounding the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s private office and at his home in Wilmington to show that the President is cooperating with the Justice Department’s investigation.
The big picture: The Biden classified documents case was inevitably linked to the Mar-a-Lago case.
- The FBI raided former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida over the summer, recovering hundreds of classified documents. He is now under investigation by special counsel for mishandling government documents.
Opinions: While both Biden and Trump are currently under investigation by special counsels, legal experts said the two cases are different in terms of the number of classified documents found and their willingness to cooperate. The second difference is that Biden bears less legal risk than Trump since he is the sitting President with broad latitude to declassify documents. Also, Biden is likely protected from prosecution because of the Justice Department’s longstanding policy of not filing criminal charges against the sitting President. By contrast, Trump has lost those protections since leaving the White House.