The news that there were classified documents found from Joe Biden’s days as Vice President in locations where they weren’t supposed to be sets up a false equivalence between Biden and Trump.
The two cases are not at all the same.
- Donald Trump took boxes and boxes of classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago home because he thought that he “possessed” them.
- The National Archives and Records Administration sought to retrieve the documents when they became aware of them, and Trump’s attorneys certified — falsely — that all the documents had been returned.
- A criminal investigation was opened after it became apparent that Trump and his attorney had not returned all the boxes.
- A search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in August of 2022 turned up more boxes of classified documents. FBI agents seized over 13,000 government documents,among which they found 103 classified government documents, as well as many empty folders with classified markings.
On the other hand:
- A dozen or so classified documents from Biden’s vice presidential days were discovered in November at a think tank in Washington, and a second set of classified papers from that time was found at a storage space at Biden’s Delaware home.
- The discovery of the Biden documents was voluntarily disclosed, and all the documents were turned over voluntarily.
- It is unknown whether Biden took the documents personally, or whether they were taken by someone on Biden’s staff.
And yet, Merrick Garland has now appointed a special counsel to investigate both situations. He kind of had to. He couldn’t afford the appearance of a double standard, even though there is currently no evidence that anything criminal was done in the Biden situation, whereas Trump’s behavior was clearly criminal.
Some people on the left think that the documents were planted, given the suspicious timing of the situation, but I’m not prepared to go that far. We barely know anything about how the Biden documents got there, and we’re going to have to wait to find out.
But many Americans are going to think that it’s all the same: Trump mishandled documents and Biden mishandled documents, so what’s the difference?