US President Joe Biden is trying to limit the damage after secret documents were found in his former cabinet. He was “surprised” that the documents had even been brought to the office, said Biden, who at the same time promised “full cooperation” with the investigation.
Biden continued to explain that he did not know what was in the documents. The snappy and politically explosive find puts the president in a difficult position to explain. It was announced on Monday that Biden had kept secret documents from his time as US Vice President Barack Obama in his private offices at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. Biden used the space after leaving the position of vice president in 2017 until about 2020, the White House said.
Documents with the highest level of confidentiality
The files reportedly contain at least 10 top-secret documents, some of which are classified first-class. According to CNN, this includes papers from the US secret service about other countries, such as Ukraine, Iran or Great Britain. The White House also announced that the documents had already been found on November 2 when evacuating Biden’s offices.
Bad timing for Biden
The politically explosive news reached Biden on his first trip abroad in the new year. The US president traveled to Mexico for political talks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Monday and Tuesday morning (local time), he was initially quiet there when asked about the find. It wasn’t until a joint press conference with López Obrador and Trudeau on Tuesday night (local time) that he finally made himself known.
Biden confirmed that while cleaning up the office, his lawyers discovered a box containing the documents in a “locked box” and immediately turned them over to the National Archives. Biden did not say why the incident only became known now. He is “fully cooperating” with the investigation and hopes it will be over soon. People know he takes classified information very seriously, Biden said. His lawyers had also responded completely correctly by immediately informing the National Archives.
Trump scandal due to similar story
The finding is politically extremely sensitive for Biden, because his predecessor Donald Trump caused a scandal with a similar case in the summer. When he left the White House, Trump extensively took government documents to his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, including a number of top secret documents. The Federal Police FBI searched the Florida property in August and seized several classified documents. Attorney General Merrick Garland, appointed by Biden, has appointed a special investigator to find out if Trump may have committed a criminal offense. In the United States, government records are generally required to be archived and preserved for posterity.
Many Republicans are already calling for the same to apply to Biden. Several MPs seized on the revelation to sharply criticize Biden. “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t be allowed to throw stones,” Republican lawmaker Don Bacon said, referring to Biden’s criticism of Trump in a September interview. Biden had described his predecessor’s behavior as “irresponsible”.
Similar, but different
Unlike Biden, however, Trump’s case was preceded by a dispute with the National Archives, which holds presidential documents. It spent months trying to get papers from Trump’s term in office. Trump’s lawyers have finally handed over documents. However, officials suspected that Trump or his team continued to withhold documents, which is not allowed. At the time, the search warrant listed three criminal offenses as possible grounds for possible seizures: collecting, transmitting, or losing defense information, removing or destroying official records, and destroying or altering records to interfere with investigations.
I am Wallace Jones, an experienced journalist. I specialize in writing for the world section of Today Times Live. With over a decade of experience, I have developed an eye for detail when it comes to reporting on local and global stories. My passion lies in uncovering the truth through my investigative skills and creating thought-provoking content that resonates with readers worldwide.