Democrats are guilty of hypocrisy by rushing to defend President Joe Biden and his handling of classified information, and Republicans should avoid falling into the same trap, said lawyer Jenna Ellis in an interview, which aired Jan. 11 on Newsmakers by NTD and The Epoch Times.
Ellis is a Constitutional Law attorney, and former senior adviser and counsel to President Donald Trump.
“Instead of presuming guilt, we need to presume hypocrisy, because that’s what we have proof of,” Ellis stated. “That’s exactly what the Democrats are guilty of. And we as Conservatives and as Republicans shouldn’t be guilty of the same thing.”
According to Ellis, there are clear legal questions surrounding the discovery of alleged U.S. intelligence materials related to Ukraine, Iran, and the UK found in Biden’s private office from when he was vice president. And Republicans would do well to focus on the legal questions instead of assuming Biden’s guilt.
Specifically, Ellis said that while there are many claiming the classified documents were from when Biden was vice president and didn’t have the authority to declassify them, Article Two, Section One of the U.S. Constitution allows the president to delegate some of his authority to other members of the executive branch.
Consequently, it’s possible that then-President Barack Obama took such actions while he was in office, and as a result, Biden isn’t guilty of mishandling classified documents.
“Here the legal question is not just solely that the president can declassify, but whether or not the vice president—in this instance it would have been Joe Biden—was exercising proper authority and process in declassification,” Ellis said.
“So, for the Republicans that are quick to suggest that only a president has the authority to declassify, that’s not genuinely the legal situation. There are a lot of other executive agents that do have declassification authority.”
Those qualifications, she said, are “why [Republicans] have to answer the legal questions before we answer the political questions.” If they instead assume Biden is guilty, which is also a violation of the rule of law, they themselves would be guilty of hypocrisy.
Avoiding Hypocrisy by Focusing on Disparity
According to Ellis, the media and politicians often rush to presume guilt or innocence instead of focusing on the legality of what happened—especially when it concerns Trump. Ellis termed such actions as “political optics and political theater.”
“When the media and politicians are looking at an instance, they typically will play political optics and political theater and answer the political questions instead of the legal and Constitutional questions,” Ellis said.
“The Democrats were rushing to judgment with President Trump, and now they’re trying to defend Joe Biden, where the exact inverse is happening, of course, with Republicans with regard to President Trump and Joe Biden.”
Pivoting specifically to the treatment of Trump, Ellis said, “if you look at MSNBC or CNN, you’re going to see distinguishments between Trump and Biden. And then if you look at the more Conservative-leaning outlets, you’re going to see, ‘well, if Biden is guilty, then you know, they were calling for this investigation. Where are the raids? Where are all of these things?’”
Ellis said that instead of assuming and focusing solely on Biden’s guilt, pointing out the unequal treatment is a legitimate question and one Republicans would do well to investigate.
“That’s the question. Why the disparate treatment here? Why the minimizing by Democrats, and also the DOJ and the FBI here? If they thought that it was proper and appropriate to go and raid a former sitting president’s residence? Why aren’t we seeing the same treatment of Joe Biden? I think that’s a legitimate question,” she said.
Ellis said that if Republicans focus on unequal treatment while simultaneously answering the legal questions without assuming guilt, they’ll be able to reveal clear bias in the DOJ to the American public. Especially if the DOJ avoids using the same tactics against Biden that it used against Trump.
“I think that will show evidence of a conflict of interest and an ethical appearance of bias on behalf of the DOJ, and specifically Attorney General Merrick Garland,” Ellis said.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see what Merrick Garland does here because he is between a rock and a hard place.”
The Unfolding Classified Document Debacle
On Jan. 10, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) released a statement via Twitter that his committee is launching a probe into Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.
“The Committee is concerned that President Biden has compromised sources and methods with his own mishandling of classified documents. Under the Biden Administration, the Department of Justice and NARA have made compliance with the Presidential Records Act a top priority,” the statement reads.
Additionally, the statement points out that though the public, and Congress, are just now being made aware of the improper handling of classified material, NARA was aware of it before the Nov. 8 midterm elections.
“For months, NARA failed to disclose to Committee Republicans or the American public that President Biden—after serving as Vice President—stored highly classified documents in a closet at his personal office. NARA learned about these documents days before the 2022 midterm elections and did not alert the public that President Biden was potentially violating the law.
“Meanwhile, NARA instigated a public and unprecedented FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago—former President Trump’s home—to retrieve presidential records. NARA’s inconsistent treatment of recovering classified records held by former President Trump and President Biden raises questions about political bias at the agency,” Comer wrote.
Since the discovery of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center, Richard Sauber, one of the President’s lawyers, admitted in a statement released by the White House that Biden also allegedly stored classified documents at his residence in Wilmington.
On Jan. 10 in Mexico City, Biden said he was surprised to learn about the documents discovered at the Penn Biden Center.
On Jan. 11, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Biden and his team are “cooperating fully with the [Justice Department’s] review.”