A second set of documents was found at Joe Biden’s residence: Earlier this week, the possibility that Donald Trump could face criminal charges related to the Mar-a-Lago documents scandal was complicated by a new development: President Joe Biden appears to have a classified documents problem of his own.
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About ten classified documents were found in the Washington offices of the Penn Biden Center, a think tank the president established after he left the vice presidency. Now, it appears Joe Biden had more classified documents, at a different location.
To make matters worse: a special council will now look into the matter.
Joe Biden and Those Classified Documents
According to the New York Times, more documents were found this week at Biden’s personal residence in Delaware.
The president’s counsel said that the Justice Department had immediately been notified and had come to pick up the documents.
The statement added that another house owned by the president, in Rehoboth Beach, Del., had also been searched but that nothing had been found there.
“Following the discovery of government documents at the Penn Biden Center in November 2022, and coordinating closely with the Department of Justice, the President’s lawyers have searched the President’s Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, residences – the other locations where files from his Vice-Presidential office might have been shipped in the course of the 2017 transition. The lawyers completed that review last night,” Richard Sauber, the counsel, said.
“A small number of additional Obama-Biden Administration records with classified markings. All but one of these documents were found in storage space in the President’s Wilmington residence garage,” Sauber added.
The president himself addressed the situation in a public appearance on Thursday.
“But as I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously. I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review. As part of that process, my lawyers reviewed other places where documents in my — from my time as vice president were stored and they finished the review last night,” Biden said this week. “They discovered a small number of documents with classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home and my personal library.”
Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump: The Same Issue?
How is this different from the separate investigation into Trump’s handling of documents? The New York Times analyzed that question earlier this week.
“There are key gaps in the public record about both, but the available information suggests there were significant differences in how the documents came to light, their volume and — most important — how Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden responded,” the Times said. “Mr. Trump and his aides resisted the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve them all, while Mr. Biden’s lawyers reported the problem and the White House says it has fully cooperated. These apparent differences have consequential legal implications.”
In addition, the Trump situation includes hundreds of documents, as opposed to the much smaller amount in Biden’s case, while all indications are that Biden has been much more cooperative with authorities than Trump has.
“In the case of Mr. Trump, the National Archives in the spring of 2021 realized that historically prominent files were missing and asked Mr. Trump to return them. The agency eventually retrieved 15 boxes and found that they included documents with classification markings. The Justice Department retrieved additional records after issuing a subpoena, but it developed evidence that Mr. Trump still had more,” the Times said. Biden’s documents were not produced in response to a request, but rather they were found and turned over to the National Archives.
“By contrast, Mr. Trump and his aides for months delayed responding to the National Archives’ repeated requests, then failed to fully comply with the subpoena while falsely saying they had.”
A Key Difference in Both Cases
Joe Biden has also not claimed that he had unilaterally de-classified all of the documents, while Trump and his allies have. There is also no indication that Biden has destroyed any classified documents, while Trump has been accused of just that.
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.