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Is the Media Trying to Save Joe Biden?

Joe Biden
Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a phone bank at his presidential campaign office in Des Moines, Iowa.

I wrote a few days ago about how Democrats were splitting hairs in an effort to draw a distinction between the presence of classified documents at Joe Biden’s think tank and the presence of documents at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. One of the lines analysts went with to let you know that Trump was bad, and Joe Biden was good: Biden’s documents were not at his private residence, whereas Trump’s documents were and that was the ultimate sin and thus Trump was far worse than Biden.

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Josh Gerstein, for example, writing for POLITICO argued that Biden’s classified document transgressions weren’t as bad as Trump’s because Biden had “fewer documents at stake” and that Trump had a lot of documents at his personal residence and that it’s “hard to argue you don’t know what’s lying around your house if there’s a lot of it” and that it’s not unusual for “small numbers of emails or documents that are classified to get mixed in with unclassified records.”

Well, Attorney General Merrick Garland has announced that he will be appointing a special counsel to investigate how exactly classified documents from the Biden vice presidency ended up in storage at Biden’s Delaware residence and D.C. private office.

So, to be clear, Biden had classified documents at his private residence.

The Media Response

Still, commentators are splitting hairs. Gerstein was back after Garland’s announcement speaking on behalf of liberal America with a revised defense of Biden – arguing that the Biden and Trump situations are still clearly, at the moment, not comparable.

“The FBI searched Trump’s residence after months of demanding the return of classified records and meeting resistance, obfuscation and receiving evidence that Trump’s team may have been obstructing their efforts. The volume of documents recovered from Trump’s residence – as well as the extraordinary sensitivity of the records, which included signals intelligence and human-source derived info – have laid bare the acute urgency behind DOJ’s actions.

“The Biden matter is still littered with unknowns – we don’t know the degree of sensitivity of the records or how and when they were transported. We don’t know whether they might have been accessed by anyone without appropriate clearances or whether Biden himself had any awareness the records were in his possession.”

I’m sure there are differences between the Trump and Biden fact patterns. But don’t kid yourself, guys, the situations are most definitely comparable.

Joe Biden and Those Documents: The Political response

Things had been trending in the right direction for Biden. The midterms went well. Polling numbers were rehabilitating. Inflation is ticking downwards. Biden had a little momentum. But Biden may have just created the biggest political problem of his presidency – right as he was gearing up to announce a decision regarding his political future.

The next few months are likely to revolve around legal probes of Biden’s conduct. The probing will be accompanied with speculation and press coverage – none of which is likely to be flattering.

Biden’s misstep also gives the brand-new House majority some material to work with. And the Trump documents scandal? The one Democrats were hoping was about to lead to a DOJ indictment, something Democrats could use to degrade Trump’s political viability? Democrats are going to have to back off the gas on that one. Giving Trump a hard time over the mishandling of sensitive documents can no longer be done without impliedly criticizing Joe Biden.

Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.