Dems say Biden’s classified documents are very different from Trump investigation

Republicans are already calling for oversight and even impeachment as Attorney General Garland appoints special counsel to probe the handling of classified docs in President Biden's possession.

Amid the White House’s recent admission that a second batch of classified documents was found at President Joe Biden’s private residence, things are heating up on Capitol Hill as Democrats and Republicans clash over pending investigations of Biden and former President Donald Trump.

U.S. President Joe Biden returns to the White House on January 11, 2023 in Washington, DC. President Biden accompanied First Lady Jill Biden to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where she underwent skin cancer treatment. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Days after it was reported that 10 classified documents were found in a locked closet at Biden’s former office in Washington just a week before the 2022 midterm elections, on Thursday, White House special counsel Richard Sauber released a statement confirming the discovery of additional documents in a storage garage at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, who were already gearing up to launch a series of probes into the Biden-Harris administration and President Biden’s family, have vowed to investigate Biden’s possession of classified documents. A few GOP members have already called for the impeachment of Biden and members of his cabinet.

“Impeach Biden – that’s what we need to do,” U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., told C-SPAN on Tuesday. 

Al Sharpton, civil rights leader and president of the National Action Network, countered the Republican congresswoman, telling theGrio, ”If you believe what Joe Biden did, willingly given them up [and] notifying [the National Archives and Records Administration] is impeachable, then why didn’t you think what Donald Trump did was impeachable?”

Former mayor of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, told theGrio that he thinks President Biden “faces a big political problem in the House,” but said, “I don’t think he’s going to get convicted in the Senate” in the event that he was ever impeached. He added, “But the fact that they are even talking about impeachment, I think is truly distracting.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) talks to a reporter on her way to a closed-door GOP caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol January 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. House Republicans passed their first bill of the 118th Congress on Monday night, voting along party lines to cut $71 billion from the Internal Revenue Service, which Senate Democrats said they would not take up. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The recent finding of classified documents in Biden’s possession from his time as vice president in the Obama administration has become political red meat for Republicans, who had already planned to investigate Biden and his administration over a litany of issues, including the financial dealings of his son, Hunter Biden.

Conservative critics quickly compared the discovery of Biden’s classified documents to the August 2022 FBI seizure of hundreds of classified files stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Largo home in Florida. For more than a year, Trump resisted several attempts by the federal government to retrieve all of the documents. Biden’s lawyers said they immediately contacted the National Archives and the Department of Justice (DOJ) when the documents were found on Nov. 2, 2022, and have been cooperating with both agencies. 

The Trump investigation is an ongoing criminal investigation led by the DOJ. And on Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to probe the handling of classified documents by Biden.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (R) is joined by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch at a news conference at the Justice Department to announce the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate the discovery of classified documents held by President Joe Biden at an office and his home on January 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. Garland announced that former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur was appointed as Special Counsel for the investigation. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“I think the situation that the president now faces is twofold,” Schmoke told theGrio. Schmoke said it’s more of a “political problem” than it is a legal issue at this point. Ultimately, the focus on classified documents will be a distraction from the legislative work needed to get done for the American people, said Schmoke.

Defenders of Biden have pointed to the role of “intent” in both cases of potential mishandling of classified documents. 

“Donald Trump intended, by all the evidence we’ve seen, not to turn those documents over and not to let them go,” said Sharpton. “And even, according to all the reports we have, when they were told they were given all the documents, he still held some … we [also] saw them hiding them in another building on his property. So there was intent there.”

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who recently led the special House committee investigating Trump and his allies in connection to the Jan. 6 insurrection, said that if the newly-elected Republican House Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, decides to establish a select committee to investigate Biden, it is “within his authority.”

But responding to Rep. Greene’s call for impeachment and claims that Trump declassified the hundreds of documents stored at Mar-a-Lago, Thompson said, “Marjorie Taylor Greene is notorious for not being accurate on a lot of positions she takes. And I’m certain that this won’t be her last inaccurate, unfounded position.”

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., listens as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, July 12, 2022. The House Jan. 6 committee will share 20 of its interview transcripts with the Justice Department as federal prosecutors have been increasingly focused on efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Echoing Sharpton’s argument about intent when comparing the Biden and Trump investigations, Congressman Thompson said, “you have to look at intent” and “what actually transpired.” He added, “I think a rush to judgment at this point is premature. So we’ll just see what the facts present and we go with that.” 

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., said, “there’s no indication” President Biden was aware that he was in possession of classified documents. “This is in stark contrast to the situation with President Trump. Not only does it appear that he knew the documents were there and bragged about it, [but] when asked to return them, he refused.”

On Thursday, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who described the matter as a “mistake,” said that the White House was confident that the DOJ’s investigation, led by former U.S. attorney Robert Hur, will conclude that the classified documents found at both President Biden’s Delaware home and Washington office were “inadvertently” transported.

Republicans appear united in their quest to investigate Biden and avert his administration’s agenda for the next two years with their new majority in the House; however, the party displayed cracks in its foundation last week in its chaotic and contentious quest to select a speaker of the House.

Republican media mogul and conservative columnist Armstrong Williams told theGrio it is a different day in Washington, and that Republicans need move on from their devotion to Trump.

“You need to have someone that has integrity, that puts America first, that is not narcissistic,” said Williams. “You need someone who has the compassion to work for the American people and not working for their ego.”

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