A source with knowledge of the matter disclosed on Thursday that the special counsel report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents during his vice-presidential years has been delivered to the US Congress.
The investigation by the special counsel specifically concentrated on documents linked to Biden’s service under Democratic President Barack Obama spanning from 2009 to 2017, as well as his earlier tenure in the US Senate. Classified papers were discovered by members of Biden’s legal team at both his Washington think tank office and his personal residence in Wilmington, Delaware.
Former President Donald Trump, Biden’s primary opponent in the November election, currently faces a 40-count federal indictment. The charges are related to his possession of highly sensitive national security documents at his Florida resort post his departure from office in 2021, along with allegations of obstructing US government efforts to recover them.
Although there are similarities between the two cases, there are also distinct differences worth noting.
According to the White House, Biden’s legal team discovered a limited number of classified documents, and these were promptly surrendered after their identification.
How Trump Handled the Classified Documents?
Trump resisted complying with this until a 2022 FBI search revealed approximately 100 classified documents, resulting in obstruction of justice charges against Trump and two Mar-a-Lago resort employees.
In January 2023, Special Counsel Robert Hur, who held senior positions at the Justice Department during the Trump administration, was appointed to oversee the investigation.
To ensure independence from the Justice Department’s leadership, Attorney General Merrick Garland, nominated by Biden, assigned Hur to lead the investigation.
As part of the probe, Hur’s investigators interviewed Biden in October, with the White House emphasizing Biden’s cooperation with the investigation.
Due to a longstanding Justice Department policy, a sitting president like Biden cannot face federal criminal charges.
The investigation’s findings may present political challenges for Biden, who has aimed to differentiate himself from Trump on matters of personal ethics and national security.
Hur’s report, along with the decision not to pursue criminal charges, is likely to provoke claims of a double standard from Trump and his Republican allies.
Trump faced charges after allegedly withholding boxes of presidential records at his Mar-a-Lago resort, concealing them even after the US government demanded their return. An August 2022 FBI search uncovered over 100 classified documents on the property.
Trump, maintaining his innocence, accused prosecutors of political motivations, with a trial scheduled for May, subject to potential delays.
Biden’s legal team notified the National Archives in November 2022 after discovering a “small number” of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. A subsequent federal investigation uncovered additional documents in Biden’s Delaware home, subsequently turned over to the Justice Department.
Biden faced backlash during that period due to the prolonged delays in publicly disclosing the uncovering of classified documents. Critics questioned the transparency and timeliness of the administration’s communication regarding the findings, contributing to increased scrutiny and dissatisfaction from various quarters.