Maybe the Biden Classified Docs *Won’t* Become the Next BUT HER EMAILS False Equivalency?
Yesterday CBS News reported that attorneys for President Biden found “roughly ten” classified documents from his time in the Obama administration in a box at DC’s Penn-Biden Center.
The president’s private counsel discovered the documents while clearing out a closet at Biden’s eponymous policy shop, after which they immediately contacted the National Archives. NARA retrieved the documents and notified the Justice Department, which tasked John Lausch, the Trump-appointed US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, with looking into the matter, as confirmed in a statement released by the White House last night.
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Naturally the revelation is being greeted with glee in Trumpland.
“Wow! The Biden Think Tank is funded by CHINA!!!,” the former president vomited into the ether. “Also, a V.P. cannot Declassify documents, which are covered by the Federal Records Act, which is Criminal and MUCH TOUGHER than the Presidential Records Act, which is NOT Criminal. A President, me, can Declassify. How much more information has China been given?”
His son was similarly dyspeptic, regurgitating the family line on command: “When will the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team storm one of Biden’s many vacation homes bought and paid for somehow by a lifetime of being a humble public servant?”
And Trump’s allies are already priming the pump to soak us all with an epic firehose of whataboutism.
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“What’s the difference in what President Trump did versus what we now know President Biden did,” blarped Rep. James Comer, the incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee. “We want to know exactly what documents were taken by both President Trump and now President Biden and want to know if they’re gonna treat President Biden any differently than they treated President Trump.”
But to their credit, after falling hook, line, and sinker for the Hillary Clinton email storyline, most reputable news outlets are refusing to take the bait, noting in their coverage that the Trump and Biden documents cases are not remotely analogous.
“[T]he Biden documents were discovered by the president’s lawyers and voluntarily turned over to authorities,” notes the Washington Post. “By comparison, in Trump’s case, NARA officials pressed for material to be returned, and then Trump’s office was served with a grand jury subpoena demanding their return. After Trump’s lawyers handed over 38 classified documents in response to the subpoena, an FBI search recovered more than 100 additional classified documents that were not turned over to authorities.”
“[W]hile Mr. Trump tried to suggest a parallel, the circumstances of the Biden discovery as described appeared to be significantly different,” the New York Times wrote. “Mr. Biden had neither been notified that he had official records nor been asked to return them, the White House said, and his team promptly revealed the discovery to the archives and returned them within a day.”
Even the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal was forced to acknowledged that “White House officials notified the National Archives when the documents were found on Nov. 2 and the National Archives took possession of the documents the following day,” while “The search [of Mar-a-Lago] came after an extended back-and-forth between federal officials seeking the papers and the former president’s representatives and has been part of a protracted legal battle.”
Lest you worry that the apocalypse is nigh, the New York Post has Jonathan Turley pumping out his customary hackery — that gravy train is never late. But in the main, the mainstream US media has been able to differentiate between a president who voluntarily returned documents within hours of discovering them and cooperated with federal investigators, and one who refused to disgorge a massive cache of government property, defied a subpoena, submitted a false declaration that he’d handed over everything, accused the FBI of planting evidence, and sued to get classified documents back, making the bizarre, unsubstantiated claim that he’d declassified them with the power of his mind.
Let’s see if the truce holds.
Liz Dye (@5DollarFeminist) lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.