Classified documents case: how Biden is trying to undermine the parallel with Trump

Classified documents case how Biden is trying to undermine the

The case is embarrassing, so much does it resemble that of former President Donald Trump. And now the unease has turned into a crisis even if Joe Biden pleads the “error”. After the confirmation by the White House, Thursday morning, of the discovery at the residence of the president of a second batch of classified documents, the Minister of Justice had no choice but to announce the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the case. He named Robert Hur, a former federal prosecutor, appointed by Donald Trump at the time. The announcement aims to quell suspicions of patronage. For the minister, this decision illustrates “the independence and responsibility of his services”, guided “only by the facts and the law”, especially on “sensitive issues”.

Indeed, the appointment of a special prosecutor seemed inevitable, the same fate having been reserved for Donald Trump in November, after the raid by federal agents on his property in Mar-a-Lago, to recover the classified documents that the former president refused to file in the National Archives.

A president on the defensive

“A careful investigation will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and that the president and his attorneys acted promptly upon discovering this error,” presidential attorney Richard Sauber said in a statement.

The White House said Thursday that a “small number of confidential documents” relating to Joe Biden’s work as Vice President (2009-2017) were found Wednesday evening at his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware ( east), stored in the garage and in an adjacent room. On Monday, the American executive had already acknowledged that a dozen documents of this type had been discovered in November at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington where Joe Biden once had an office.

The American president, questioned directly on Thursday, appeared on the defensive. “Classified documents next to your Corvette, but what did you have in mind?” asked him, provocatively, a journalist from the popular conservative channel FoxNews. “My Corvette is in a locked garage” and not “on the street” retorted the Democrat about his favorite car.

Cooperation with justice, unlike Trump?

The challenge for Joe Biden, who plans to run again in 2024, is of course to undermine any parallel between his case and that of his predecessor, already a candidate. Leaving the White House in January 2021, the former Republican president had taken entire boxes of documents. After being asked to return them, he had returned fifteen boxes in January 2022. Today, the White House insists that the current Democratic president is actively collaborating with the justice system, unlike his predecessor who is suspected of deliberately hiding part of his archives. “We are trying to do this by the book,” said and repeated his spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, during a particularly lively briefing on Thursday.

“The differences between the Biden case and the Trump case seem glaring”, in particular with regard to “the return of classified documents to the competent authorities”, writes the washington post. “Mr. Trump’s teams dragged their feet on possible obstruction; Biden’s entourage appears to have cooperated quickly, willingly and fully.”

For his part, the New York Timesis less convinced and points to the communication from the White House and the President’s lawyer, Richard Sauber, “who did not answer fundamental questions about the content of the documents” and the people “who could have had access to them “. The daily also deplores that “Joe Biden’s team did not communicate on the classified documents in its possession until after the press revelations”.