The ironic revelation that approximately 10 classified documents from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president have sprung the DOJ and FBI into action. Just not in the way they’ve previously reacted.
The classified materials were reportedly located at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a Washington think tank. It is also reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned John Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to review the documents.
Meanwhile, even as former President Donald Trump continues to be harassed for his possession of similar materials at his Florida home, Democrats sprang to the defense of the current president.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) claimed that GOP outrage over the papers held for more than half a decade is nothing more than “Republican hypocrisy.”
Re. Biden and classified documents: there can't be separate standards for Republicans and Democrats.
The same rules must apply to everyone.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 10, 2023
At a Tuesday press conference flanked by party colleagues, Aguilar declared that his party believes Biden is following “established protocol.” Further, he alleged that Republicans are not aiming for “meaningful” oversight but to merely oppose the president.
On the GOP side, House Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise noted earlier in the day that Biden harshly criticized Trump for his possession of similar documents at Mar-a-Lago.
More importantly, he pointed to the key fact that only the president — not the vice president — has the power to declassify materials.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) told the media that there is a stark contrast between the current situation and the FBI’s raid of Trump’s Florida residence.
He then asked if federal authorities would launch a raid of the White House or the Biden think tank.
The files from Biden’s vice presidency were found by his personal attorneys while they were preparing to leave office space at the Penn Biden Center. They reported that the papers were stored with others that were not classified.
According to CNN, some of the classified materials were top-secret and designated as “sensitive compartmented information.” This means they contained very sensitive information gathered from intelligence sources.
Interestingly, the discovery was made on Nov. 2, mere days before the midterm elections. Its revelation, however, took substantially longer.
The DOJ is currently reviewing the material and will decide if further actions are needed. These include a possible criminal investigation and appointment of a special counsel, though that is highly unlikely in this administration.