AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman
The Biden administration has primarily been a victim of bad decisions and arrogance, but on occasion forces beyond its control. Over the last week, irony can be added to the list of nemeses.
News has broken that classified documents were “discovered” at Biden’s personal office which he had taken with him after leaving the White House in 2017. This discovery, which was apparently reported to the Justice Department on November 2, a week before Election Day, but which the DOJ chose not to disclose at the time for reasons which must roil Republicans, was followed this week by an admission from Biden aides that they had “discovered” a second batch of documents they had failed to turn over. This would be a minor, but real scandal in the past. After the raid on Mar-a-Lago this summer, it has compelled the appointment of a special counsel, and will almost certainly lead to wider congressional investigations.
Had thousands of classified documents been discovered at Al Gore’s personal office in 2002, it would hardly have made the news. Late night comics would have jumped at such a discovery in Dick Cheney’s residence in 2010, but it would have provoked humor, amusement, and perhaps confusion, but not serious outrage. Bill Clinton’s handling of classified material only made the news because of the bizarre way his former National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, tried to smuggle documents out of the National Archives by shoving them down his pants.
American government is serious business, or at least it used to be, and the outgoing administration remains in office right up until January 20th. Understandably, this has left limited time for the cataloguing of documents, and both parties accepted that full compliance was impossible, and errors were bound to occur.
Or at least, this was the understanding until Donald Trump. Just as Donald Trump’s election led to an escalation in the seriousness with which every single event was taken on the part of the media and political class, so too has this lack of perspective extended beyond his term in office. Former Trump administration officials have found themselves hounded, while patronage boards suddenly became targets of the Biden administration when they had been used in that manner for years.
Nothing, however, approached the level of escalation represented by the raid on Mar-a-Lago this summer, and the subsequent hysteria it generated. As I wrote at the time, the focus on whether classified documents should have been kept was beside the point. Just as Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, and now Joe Biden failed to catalogue the status and location of every single document during their tumultuous transitions, Occam’s razor suggested the odds that Donald Trump might have had some documents that technically should have been at the Archives were fairly high. No FBI investigation was required to reach that conclusion.
The question was not whether such documents existed, but what should be done about them. This was a question not of national security, but of the national norms liberals have claimed to care so much about. Was this a matter to be taken in proportion, with an understanding of the precedents, and therefore treated as a sideshow between lawyers? Or was it to be treated as some sort of unprecedented breach of the public trust which required the use of force on the direct orders of the Attorney General?
George Bush did not use force against Bill Clinton after Sandy Berger was arrested. It now seems clear that Donald Trump did not use force against Joe Biden in 2017, despite evidence of classified documents at his personal office. Joe Biden, however, apparently decided to use force here. In the process, he made his own prior behavior relevant.
One of the major Democratic allegations against Donald Trump was that he sought to “politicize” the federal government. This charge was made despite Donald Trump refraining from firing Robert Mueller, and continuing to employ figures such as Christopher Krebs, who it has now been revealed worked with Twitter and other social media sites to censor information about Hunter Biden.
The basis for this allegation against Trump was the removal of James Comey, the FBI Director who had without a doubt made political decisions during the 2016 election which both favored and harmed Hillary Clinton, first by announcing an investigation into her emails and then by prematurely trying to clear her of any wrongdoing.
The major defense of the Mar-a-Lago raid was that it was professional and followed legal, rather than political guidelines – in other words, not the sort of thing Comey would have done in late 2016.
This raises serious questions about the transparency of the DOJ’s investigation of the Penn Biden Center. Sources have now revealed to NBC that the initial discovery of the classified documents occurred on November 2, 2022. The midterm elections were held on November 8. It is easy to imagine that the revelation that Biden had lied in 2018 when he told MSNBC “I don’t have access to classified information anymore” might have had an impact on the elections given the standard that had been applied to Trump. After all, Democrats were giving press conferences calling Trump a threat to national security.
This scandal could not come at a worse time for Democrats. Less than a week ago, they were mocking Republicans for being unable to organize the House. This week, every single Democrat voted against the creation of a special committee to investigate the weaponization of the DOJ, suggesting it was an unjustified witch hunt and a threat to the rule of law. The revelations about the timing of the DOJ’s discoveries combined with the double standard in how the two presidents were treated now has even partisan left-wing outlets like Vox on the defensive. They know it smells bad. But it is a crisis of Democrats’ own creation, a product of the double standard they have in fact applied.
It may be that the laid-back approach to the mishandling of classified documents that prevailed before this year was a healthier one. It may well be that the low-key way the Biden files were handled is appropriate. It may be that in not disclosing the details of an ongoing investigation, the FBI and DOJ were in fact following proper procedure for high-profile cases with political implications. But if so, they were not applying the same standards to Donald Trump. It is this double-standard that the newly organized Republican House majority should seek to investigate.
Daniel Berman is a frequent commentator and lecturer on foreign policy and political affairs, both nationally and internationally. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He also writes as Daniel Roman.
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Why doesn’t the US Government have a written policy on how classified documents are handled.. And if so, no one is above the law & should not take them home. Just think, in WWII if someone would take classified documents & send to Japan or Germany. That is why documents are classified & they should be treated that way & not like the dog’s homework. Big question: What did Trump & Biden plan on doing with these classified docs & why didn’t some dept. in Govt. discover they were missing & why??
How much longer will this be tolerated before the people stand up and say ENOUGH!!It’s coming … and it’s scary stuff.
You know what they say when things look too simple and too easy something’s wrong this seems too simple and too easy and I’m thinking something’s wrong what I don’t know what’s that made right about all this I don’t trust the Democrats
This famous statement from the early 1900’s seems just as true today!”I never met a horse theif that wasn’t a Democrate, not all Democrates are horse theifs”. I guess that leads us to another quandary. How do you tell the difference?
I have a question. What were in the documents, bills, exec. orders that were passed into law when the Democrats had control of the Senate and House? Isn’t it interesting that all of our attention were “guided” towards the border, inflation, the inability to move product from the CA port to the rest of the country, and always Trump and Mar-a-largo, and even Putin/Ukraine war? What is it going to take to try to discover and undo the damage that’s been done while we were looking away from the real goal? It’s time to wake up and start paying attention to what the people we sent to Washington are really doing. It’s time to stop saying, “I’m a Republican or a Democrat so that’s the way I’m going to vote no matter who (or what) runs. Of course if you don’t care about America, the world your children or grandchildren will live in, or the freedom to think for yourselves. Buy another game and enjoy it while you can.
So we tie up the house on Joe Biden documents. Can’t do anything to Joe that you don’t do to Donald. Waste millions on investigation, time that should be used on Hunter and Biden family wrongdoing. Democrats have a win because they are closer to next presidential election. Talk about being led around like a pig on a rope, come on Republicans, smartin up.
Just goes to show that the lawlessness that democrats posit to President Trump, was more than personified by VP Biden years before. No doubt about it, Biden is a criminal, worse than Trump. Trump has the authority to de-classify the documents he had, Biden did not have any such authority. He stole the papers. He deserves the arrest and imprisonment he wants to put on Trump
Unfortunately, America is in a sad ???? dangerous situation caused by the Dumbocrat dictatorship. Style of government that these misfits have created in our beloved [email protected]
I did not type that question mark! It is truly a sad dangerous situation that is intentionally created to destroy ???? DEMOC4ACY!
Clarification ; a plan to destroy DEMOCRACY!
Name one thing DICTATOR Beijing biden hasn’t done committing TREASON including his Illegal and Unconstitutional Executive Orders with signing Illegal and Unconstitutional Bills passed Unconstitutionally in Congress and Senate controlled by democrats.
The list is too long.
Add his latest of HIDING SENSITIVE HIGHLY CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
WITHOUT NATIONAL SECURITY CLEARANCE and ZERO AUTHORITY WHICH COMMUNIST CHINA HAS PROBABLY ALREADY SEEN THEM.
That is TREASON WITH THREAT TO
SINCE WHEN DOES THE UNITED STATES TOLERATE THIS?
Haven’t heard a word about finger printing! Off the garage doors, on the boxes, on the papers. Maybe Hunters on some. Wonder how many times Hunter showed off the stingray in the garage to his friends￼? Car fingerprints?
I think Biden took all he could when his VP was over. It is my opinion that he knew he would be running for president and wanted to more or less”study up” on a lot of stuff that went on because Obama never shared with him. When he figured he would be the candidate for president he just tossed stuff around. Probably when a housekeeper eventually got tired of dusting around them somebody at the house probably said “store them in the garage”.
Very easy to see. . The Dems have found a way to graciously tell Biden they can’t win with him in 2024 because of the document scandal. They can nurse this along until the beginning of the campaign next year. Then the other candidates will be free to come out with the DNC picking the future President that will perform in lockstep to the moneyed supporters.
My evaluation as well. I think the democrats are setting up biden so that he will not be able to run in 2024. Same way they are trying to set up President Trump, who DID have authority to declassify those documents.
Talk about getting caught with a finger in the till.?.’;?. Really 1111111111! ! ! Are they really thatm important or is it na recipe for aunt Emmas pound cake.
“It is this double-standard that the newly organized Republican House majority should seek to investigate.” Why? Nothing will ever come of it! The Democrats have raised cheating in elections to an art form. And now the Democrats have introduced this diversion.
The Republicans could not care less about this diversion from items that really matter to We the People. So they very happily participate in the diversion!
We the People care about freedom, employment, inflation, personal security, border security, national security, national debt and the rampant reckless spending by the government. But nothing will be done about these items since the Democrats have raised cheating in elections to an art form resulting in Democrat (and RiNO) control of the Senate and the White House.
The Democrats are also continuing to pay people not to work. This artificial reduction of available work force, along with the awful inflation figures, is resulting in many small businesses going out of business. This in turn leads to more people on welfare, that is people being paid not to work, who will, hopefully, vote for Democrats. And the vicious cycle continues.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist but I didn’t know until recently that trump was not permitted to have a SCIF at Mar-A-Largo. That is beyond inconsiderate.
I’d love to see the major Trump haters get a new one. Especially Pencil Neck.
Hey Joe, who’s irresponsible now????? They’re all hypocrites.
Agree. Hey Joe, where you goin’ with those documents of yours. As a Vet any of us caught taking classified documents would face severe consequences to include reduction in rank, fines and jail time and more than likely a dishonorable discharge. I understand the President has authority to classify & declassify anything. Biden was not the President at the time the documents were taken, now was he. Trump was. JB takes no responsibility. He is guilty as sin and should be kicked out of office immediately. If he took monies from our enemies who’s to say he didn’t give out our classified information to them. Unfortunately, for the Legal American citizens, nothing will come of it.
Isn’t it curious that the “found” documents allegedly deal with those countries which supplied Hunter and Joe’s “income?” Ukraine, Russia, and China.
Also, Jim Biden’s income, you can’t forget the brother Jim, who urged Joe to invest in those countries.
Need to practice “What is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Treat President Trump like a criminal, treat Biden and family like criminals. So tired of democrats being selective in following the law.
Also FBI, DOJ and others.
Ole Joe is the thief and a liar.
I would like to know and many Americans with me, who took these papers from the White House in 2017 and who put them in these different places? Penn Biden think tank wasn’t open till 2018.
And….this is the most important one, who was the one that ordered his attorney to go look for them and when found were handed over to the Archives?
Why was the justice dept not notified immediately?
The lies continue.
I see a trend here. When Brandon goofs up Trump gets the blame.
These documents tell of all the things that are happening today. They are the tip of the iceberg.
Nothing is going to happen to Joe Biden, or his family. The swamp is in control, and refuses to work for “ WE THE PEOPLE” . The House of Representatives is all talk, no action. By chance, if a Conservative President is elected in 24, some things might change. It’s sickening what’s happening to this country, and how an administration can destroy a great country in a matter of 2 years . I feel sorry for my children, and Grandchildren. Let’s go Brandon .
You’ve said it all
we had a good 1 but he did not talk so fancy,,
everything started looking up,
rinos and DEMOS..nail him!!
bho’s 3rd term!!!