The US President has secret documents from previous administrations stored in his garage. Details are made public that put him under pressure. A special investigator should bring light into the darkness.
The affair surrounding the discovery of secret government documents in US President Joe Biden’s private rooms is expanding. The White House yesterday admitted that classified information from Biden’s time as vice president had also been discovered in the garage of Biden’s private home in Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced shortly thereafter that an outside special counsel would be appointed to the case. Garland announced further details that put Biden and the White House in an additional need for explanation.
Documents in the garage and private office space
Biden served as deputy to then-President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017. In the past few days it has become known that classified information from this period has been discovered in various places – including Biden’s private offices in the capital Washington and the Democrat’s house in Wilmington. The first tranche had already been discovered on November 2nd – shortly before the important congressional elections in the USA, which took place only a few days later on November 8th. The White House emphasized that Biden’s lawyers immediately informed the National Archives, which is responsible for storing such documents. However, the public only found out about it when the media reported on the delicate find.
As a reaction to the first discovery when clearing out the private offices in Washington, employees of the US President are said to have searched for further documents and finally found them in his house, explained Biden’s special adviser Richard Sauber. In addition to a find in a garage, Sauber announced on Thursday that another document had been discovered in an adjacent room among stored materials. Biden spoke of his “personal library”. There was no further information on this.
However, Garland disclosed further details about the timing: According to this, Biden’s team had already informed the Department of Justice on December 20 that further classified information had been found in the garage in Wilmington. When asked by reporters, the White House did not comment on why the Biden team did not confirm this garage find in the first public statement a few days ago, but only in response to media reports.
special investigators deployed
Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre consistently avoided other inquiries about the case. She was adamant that Biden’s team’s handling of the case was transparent and exemplary, and that the President took the handling of classified information very seriously. She couldn’t give any details because of the ongoing investigation.
With regard to the appointment of the special counsel, Jean-Pierre emphasized that the White House had not been informed in advance, but only found out about it through Garland’s press conference. The ministry works independently.
Biden’s adviser Sauber responded positively to the appointment of the special counsel and admitted that there had been a “mistake” in handling the documents: “We are confident that a thorough review will reveal that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and that the President and his lawyers acted immediately upon discovering this error.”
Lawyer Robert Hur is to lead the investigation into Biden. The 50-year-old previously worked for the Justice Department. He was later, among other things, a prosecutor in the US state of Maryland and was nominated for this position by Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald Trump. Most recently, Hur worked as an attorney for a law firm in Washington.
Biden is under pressure
For Biden, the revelations are politically extremely sensitive – also and precisely because Trump caused a scandal with a similar case in the summer: after leaving the White House, Trump kept government documents on a grand scale in his private estate Mar-a-Lago in Florida, including a number of top-secret documents. The FBI searched the property in August and confiscated various classified documents. Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the documents at the time. Now he himself is being subjected to severe criticism from Trump and his Republicans.
In Trump’s case, Garland also asserted special circumstances and used an independent special investigator for the politically sensitive investigations – mainly because Trump announced a renewed candidacy for the presidency and criticized the investigations against him as politically motivated.
Biden has also repeatedly stated his general intention to run again in the 2024 presidential election. He has not yet made a final decision public.
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