Less than two months prior to the midterm elections, Joe Biden was asked about a photograph of more than 100 classified documents discovered by the FBI in a dramatic, pre-dawn raid at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
He wondered “how that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible.”
Good question, Mr. President. Eight weeks later, Biden was informed of the boxes of documents illegally stored at an office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. He covered up that information for nearly two months until the White House announcement this week.
And with the discovery of more classified files found at a second location, Republicans are turning up the heat on Attorney General Merrick Garland to name a special counsel to investigate. Garland has named a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney to conduct a “preliminary review” of the case against Biden, but this is overt stage managing. What’s needed is a full-blown investigation — just like Trump is getting — and the naming of a special counsel.
“The double standard here is astounding,” Missouri Senator Josh Hawley wrote in a letter to Garland requesting a special counsel. “The underlying behavior at issue—a President’s retention of old classified documents dating back to a past presidency—is materially the same in both cases.”
Indeed, the law is clear. All official documents from a president or vice-president’s term in office must be given to the National Archives. If Garland is not going to make an exception for Trump, there’s absolutely no reason he should make one for Biden.
During a Fox News appearance on Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued that the same standards being applied by the DOJ to former President Donald Trump’s handling of some 300 classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago club and residence after his presidency should be applied to Biden.
“So, what I think, I think if you believe a special counsel is necessary to assure the public about the handling of classified documents by Donald Trump, you should apply a special counsel to the mishandling of classified documents by President Biden when he was vice president,” said Graham.
“If there’s not a special counsel appointed to find out how this happened with President Biden, regarding classified information, there is going to be a lot of anger. It will hurt the country,” he continued.
Hawley’s fellow Missouri Senator Eric Schmitt had a thought.
Wonder if Merrick Garland will authorize a predawn raid? https://t.co/pCCsTpoVo9
— Eric Schmitt (@Eric_Schmitt) January 11, 2023
Republicans are absolutely right to light a fire under Garland. This attorney general has shown a worrying partisanship, like when he sicced the FBI on parents who objected to the curriculum their kids are being taught. Unless Garland feels the burn, he won’t lift a finger to investigate Biden. That’s why a special counsel is necessary.
Democrats trying to make the point that there were 33 boxes of stuff taken from Mar-a-Largo and just a few documents turned over by Biden are obfuscating the point. There’s nothing in the law that says it matters how many classified documents were not turned over to the Archives.
But Republicans have an uphill climb to get this crew in the Biden administration to do their duty with as much zeal as they’re showing in going after Trump.