For months, cable news and Twitter‘s most insufferable liberal commentators informed us that President Donald Trump‘s handling of classified documents in the Office of the Former President at Mar-A-Lago constituted a grave threat to America’s national security. Five months later, they have a pretty different take on President Joe Biden‘s theft of classified documents—a much greater national security threat than Trump’s lawful possession of personal copies of his presidential records. Biden compromised our national security through his carelessness and brazen law-breaking.
On November 2, 2022, six days before the midterm elections, Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Biden Justice Department learned that Biden’s personal lawyers found documents with classified markings inside his personal files in his abandoned office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington. This means then-Vice President Biden stole these classified documents before he left the Obama White House on January 20, 2017, and moved them at least once to his new Penn Biden office after its opening in February 2018.
Garland should have immediately appointed a special counsel, on November 2, to investigate Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. Instead, 16 days later, on November 18, Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump for the non-crime of lawfully taking personal copies of his presidential records when he left the White House. For two months, then, Garland led a political cover-up—yes, a cover-up—of Biden’s criminal theft of classified records. Instead of sending in the FBI to investigate, as he did with Trump in a high-profile, unprecedented, unnecessary, and unlawful home raid last August, Garland shockingly allowed Biden’s personal, unvetted attorneys to taint the Biden crime scene for months on end.
It simply isn’t credible for Biden to claim his criminal theft of classified records was merely an accident, with four sets of stolen classified records, strewn about in three separate personal locations, moved multiple times. One of the locations is the garage in Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware personal home: the same garage, that is, which in recent memory has been teeming with a full television production crew. Even worse, it’s the same garage and home office (where even more classified documents were discovered) that international influence-peddler and now-First Son Hunter Biden lived in during his crack addiction, and reported he rented from his father for $49,910 per month—the exact same amount the Biden family received from a Chinese energy firm—in a background check screening in 2018.
Biden tried to reassure the public last week by saying the stolen classified documents were in a locked garage next to his Corvette. That’s hardly comforting. Biden revealed his criminal intent, admitting he knew he had possession of classified documents. His flippant attitude toward the situation should make clear that the Biden Justice Department and Congress must conduct robust national security investigations.
As a matter of clarity, let’s contrast Biden’s theft of classified documents with Trump’s lawful handling of presidential records. As the commander-in-chief under our Constitution, the president of the United States has the absolute power to declassify records as he sees fit. In addition, under the Presidential Records Act, a departing president can take a personal copy of any of his presidential records—classified or not. The vice president is afforded neither of these privileges.
That’s not all. Trump stored his personal records at a federally funded office with federally funded staff with the appropriate security clearances and access to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (usually referred to as a “SCIF”) to handle such sensitive material. The Office of the Former President also receives lifetime protection by the Secret Service. Congress has statutorily granted former presidents the ability to take their classified presidential records when they leave office. On the other hand, then-Vice President Biden stole President Obama’s classified presidential records and put them in his personal files in an abandoned office, his home office, and a garage with none of these precautions whatsoever. That violates the Espionage Act and other federal statutes dealing with theft of government property.
While access to these records is tightly controlled at Mar-a-Lago, access to the classified records Biden stole was largely unfettered. Former vice presidents generally only receive Secret Service protection for up to six months after they leave office. Biden thus did not receive Secret Service protection for two and a half years, between July 21, 2017 and March 17, 2020, when his protection resumed during his presidential campaign.
We have almost no way of knowing who had access to these records, without FBI questioning of Joe, Jill, Hunter, and James Biden. We already know Hunter sold access to his father, and James was very much a part of the Biden family foreign influence-peddling schemes with sundry Chinese and Ukrainian oligarchs. Did Biden let his Chinese business partner, Gongwen Dong, for whom Hunter had a key made to a Biden personal office, look over classified records? It is nearly impossible to know.
This alarming situation deserves a robust investigation of who was able to access the documents, when they were able to access them, and how someone who isn’t legally allowed to possess this material did so recklessly for years on end without setting off any alarm bells within the intelligence community. Anything less would show a lack of seriousness toward the issue at hand and reveal that those in power are more interested in punishing regime enemies than protecting our national security.
This is a big test for Special Counsel Robert Hur, a longtime Deep State lawyer who Garland scrambled to appoint to handle this matter when his two-month cover-up of Biden’s crimes became public. If Hur continues to allow Biden’s personal attorneys to taint Biden’s national security crime scenes and doesn’t immediately send in the FBI to conduct a real investigation, including searching Biden’s homes and offices and at least interviewing Joe, Jill, Hunter, and James, that tells us all we need to know.
Mike Davis is the founder and president of the Article III Project, which defends constitutionalist judges. As the former chief counsel for nominations to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), he served as the staff leader for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.