By Joseph Nichols, Staff Writer
Classified documents have been found in both President Joe Biden’s home and the Penn Biden Center.
The documents were found last year but only became known to the public this past week. While the information contained in these documents remains unknown, Biden protected his own lawyers who turned the documents over to the National Archives when prompted.
Every president and vice president of the United States, while in office or after their term, are able to view classified documents. However, no one, including any president or vice president in or out of office, is legally able to remove classified documents without prior approval and authorization.
The documents date back to Biden’s vice presidency, but the circumstances have drawn comparisons to a similar event concerning former president Donald Trump. During Trump’s presidency, federal agents and officers with a warrant seized classified documents. Trump’s lawyers and advisors informed the Justice Department and the National Archives that all documents had been returned in a series of negotiations that lasted more than a year.
Supporters of Trump have been outspoken about a possible double standard concerning the treatment of how these documents came to be repossessed by federal agents. Likewise, supporters of Biden have cited that the president’s lawyers and advisors’ cooperation resulted in a more eased process. The White House has noted that these documents were found last November in the garage of Biden’s Wilmington home.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has now been tasked with investigating Biden’s possession of these classified documents, as well as continuing his investigation with Trump.
Last Thursday, Garland formed a special council to investigate the process in which these documents became located at the Biden estate.
Garland was appointed to his current role of attorney general in February 2021, winning the favor of the senate 70-30. His time as attorney general has been defined by his handling of the Trump investigation, receiving criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.
As with the investigation for Trump, Garland has appointed a special counsel for the investigation, choosing former Maryland attorney general Robert Hur, to aid him in the investigation. As Hur is a member of the Republican party, many Democrats have found fault with Garland for his appointment. However, former Justice Department official Stephen Saltzburg, argue. “(Merrick Garland)… knows that if he appoints somebody who’s independent to take a look and then write a report, the people who are fair-minded are more likely to believe the investigation turned up the truth.”
While the investigation will be different from Trump’s circumstances, the two cases nonetheless hold many similarities. The narrow proximity of time between the two investigations paired with them being split along party lines, these two investigations are quickly proving to be a dividing moment in the American political environment.
When that information is found, it diminishes the stature of any person who is in possession of it…”said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.