Furor over handling of classified documents creates unexpected political peril for Biden

By | January 13, 2023

The Washington Post reports:

For Democrats traumatized by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 struggle to justify the handling of her own records — with some blaming the media for giving the story outsize influence — Thursday’s furor provided an uncomfortable hint of what might lie ahead, while threatening to muddy Democrats’ criticism of Trump for taking larger numbers of sensitive documents to his home in Mar-a-Lago.

“I don’t think Biden has legal worries here, I don’t think he has political worries,” said Brian Fallon, a former Clinton adviser who worked at the Department of Justice. “The main benefit [for Republicans] is Trump is breathing a sigh of relief because it makes it hard for Merrick Garland to authorize a prosecution of Donald Trump, even if it is merited.”

Biden last fall was shown a photo of top secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Biden voiced disbelief during an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” about how something like that could happen — how anyone, in his words, “could be that irresponsible.”

It was two months after that, on Nov. 2, that his lawyers discovered a small batch of classified documents in one of Biden’s offices in Washington, a discovery that Biden said earlier this week “surprised” him. On Thursday, Biden and his lawyers disclosed that the second batch of classified documents was discovered in the president’s home in Wilmington.

The revelations, dribbling out throughout the week, began to reveal a picture whose legal significance is still murky but whose political ramifications seem clearer. For one thing, the matter could get at some of the self-proclaimed strengths — experience, competence and familiarity with the workings of national security — of a president who has often stressed how seriously he takes the country’s intelligence and diplomatic traditions. [Continue reading…]

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