Classified Files from Biden's VP Term Found at Private Office

The White House confirmed Monday that classified documents from when Biden was vice president were discovered by his attorneys in an office at his Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement think tank in Washington.

Classified Files from Biden's VP Term Found at Private Office
Image credit: AP [via The Wall Street Journal]

Facts

  • The White House confirmed Monday that classified documents from when Biden was vice president were discovered by his attorneys in an office at his Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement think tank in Washington.
  • The Penn Biden Center, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania, was founded in 2018 during Biden's time as an honorary professor from 2017 to 2019, for which he was compensated $1M by the school.
  • The attorneys uncovered the documents while preparing to vacate the office on Nov. 2. White House special counsel Richard Saubel said the files are now "appropriately in the possession of the [National] Archives," as required under the Presidential Records Act.
  • The classified materials included some top-secret files designated "sensitive compartmented information," which is used for highly-sensitive information obtained from intelligence sources. John Lausch Jr., a US Attorney from Chicago, is now investigating the matter.
  • This comes as the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) is investigating former Pres. Trump's unauthorized retention of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. News of the discovery of Biden's documents sparked criticism by the GOP.
  • This also comes after Biden in September called Trump "totally irresponsible" for bringing classified material to his private residence. However, Biden's attorneys suggested that, in contrast, they turned over the materials and notified authorities as soon as they were discovered.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, New York Post, One America, CNN, and Guardian.

Narratives

  • Democratic narrative, as provided by Newsweek. There’s a big difference between the Trump and Biden cases. Trump violated the law by possessing classified papers and attempting to cover up his actions. The former president is facing a serious investigation because he knowingly held sensitive information and actively worked to keep it from the archives. Biden did neither of those things, thus GOP claims of Biden's hypocrisy are unfounded.
  • Republican narrative, as provided by Townhall. The only important difference between the two cases is that Biden was vice president when he took the documents to his private office, and vice presidents don't have the same declassification powers as presidents. It will be interesting to see whether the DOJ sends teams to raid Biden's residences as they did with Trump, or if there continues to be a double standard.