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The Real Reason Joe Biden’s Classified Documents Scandal Stinks

Joe Biden. Image Credit: Gage Skidmore.
U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he makes a statement about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas shortly after Biden returned to Washington from his trip to South Korea and Japan, at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Real Reason Joe Biden’s Classified Documents Scandal Is a Serious Problem for America: Even more classified documents were discovered recently at President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. This news came shortly after the announcement that classified materials had been found earlier at Biden’s former private office at a supposed Washington think tank, the Penn Biden Center.

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You can see the media narrative morph in real time, from holding classified documents being the worst crime ever to it just being a problem with the “system.”

The classified documents in the president’s former office at Penn Biden Center actually were discovered by his lawyers before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, but the Justice Department didn’t announce anything until weeks later. Convenient. Just standard operating procedure, I’m sure.

We learned in mid-January that Biden’s lawyers found more classified documents at his Wilmington residence.

Don’t forget, and I’m sure you don’t, that Joe Biden and the media made out that Donald Trump’s holding of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate was a massive scandal. The FBI’s banana republic-style raiddirected by the Justice Department—on the former president’s home in Florida was treated as the moment that proved how horrible Trump truly is.

Many super-serious people in the media and our esteemed legal profession were calling for Trump to be indicted and said he should go to jail.

Welp, now it turns out that Biden was sitting on what appears to be reams of classified documents going back not only to his eight years as vice president, but his 36 years as a senator. 

The tone has shifted. The media is now in a mad dash to add “context” to the Joe Biden documents to create a distinction between the no good, guilty Trump and good ol’ Joe, who clearly just made honest mistakes.

The National Archives and Records Administration was vehement in demanding that Trump return documents marked classified. The agency has been radio silent on the Biden documents.

As much as Biden’s friends in the media and our vaunted “nonpartisan” agencies try to diminish the Joe Biden scandal and make what Trump may have done seem to be worse, it appears that what Biden did actually might have been quite a bit worse.

As Amber Athey writes at The Spectator, there are arguments to be made about the extent to which a vice president may declassify documents, but “there is no world in which a U.S. senator would be able to declassify them.” 

A specific process exists whereby a senator is shown classified documents but they aren’t allowed to take them, she writes.

“How was Biden able to do so? Did he steal them?” Athey asks.

The National Archives finally said something Thursday. Not about Biden. Instead, the government agency requested that all living former presidents and vice presidents check for classified documents in their possession. It didn’t ask former senators, funnily enough.

So, this story has moved on from Trump’s being portrayed as a crooked threat to democracy and now is: “Hmm, looks like former presidents have classified documents laying around everywhere. No biggie.”

In fairness, some Democrats have been harsh in their criticism of the Biden administration. Maybe they’re upset because Joe Biden blew up their cherished narrative about Trump.

Now that the media is in backtrack mode, what should we make of this whole chain of events?

For one, serious questions remain to be answered about Biden’s past conduct and what he did with access to classified information. 

Hunter Biden, the president’s son, has been accused of enriching himself and other family members by using his father’s name and connections, especially in overseas ventures. 

Despite attempts by the media and Big Tech to bury this story, it’s going to be hard to avoid in the future. The Hunter Biden accusations look even more serious if it turns out he had access to classified information. Is the whole Biden family involved, not just one drug-addled, layabout son?

The House of Representatives, now in Republican control, certainly will be looking into this.

Biden’s pitch to the American people in the 2020 presidential election was a return to normalcy. The media portrayed him as a steady, serious hand at the tiller. It characterized Trump as a man out of control. 

But now it looks like Biden not only has been sloppy, but also very well may be corrupt.

I’d say that’s not even the most troubling aspect of this story.

More: Should Joe Biden Quit? 

More: How to Save Joe Biden? 

More: Nikki Haley for President? Nope.

The bigger issue here actually goes beyond the Biden and Trump documents. What’s disturbing is how government agencies so easily can use technicalities in the law to selectively go after those they don’t like.

As political scientist Charles Murray noted on Twitter, mass overclassification of government documents means presidents generally could be in violation of the law. 

Lavrentiy Beria, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s notorious head of the secret police, once said, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.” It feels like that’s where we are headed. 

Can we trust our now supremely powerful federal agencies to act faithfully and objectively within the law? Can we trust them not to target ordinary people, politicians, and even presidents who cross them and go soft on ones that do their bidding?

This issue has grown alongside the massive expansion of the administrative state. That massive bureaucracy may now act as if it is the law unto itself. Who is sovereign in America today? Is it “We the people,” or is it bureaucrats untethered from accountability? 

We have good reason not to have much faith in our new guardians of “democracy.” Even good men, given such power, may become corrupted.

This is why the explosive expansion of the IRS under Biden has raised massive alarm bells.

Maybe the Founding Fathers had a point with the whole limited government thing.

The document discoveries are certainly an embarrassing fiasco for Biden. The president, criticizing Trump, wondered on “60 Minutes” how anyone could “be that irresponsible” with classified documents. He turns out to be just that irresponsible and then some. 

This moment at least will show some people that any idea that Biden is some kind of elder statesmanlike presence in the White House is no more than an illusionary farce.

But we must acknowledge the elephant in the room: Selective use of information, controlled by an increasingly ideological technocratic elite, is a danger to the republic and free institutions. 

That’s the big story here.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a community event at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention hosted by the AFL-CIO at the Prairie Meadows Hotel in Altoona, Iowa.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Joe Biden

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden walking with supporters at a pre-Wing Ding march from Molly McGowan Park in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Jarrett Stepman is a columnist for The Daily Signal. He is also the author of the book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” Send an email to Jarrett

Written By

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the book "The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America's Past."