Below is my column in Fox.com on the discovery of highly classified documents in a closet in the private office used by President Joe Biden before 2020. There is still much that we do not know about the documents, though many in the media have already dismissed the matter as no way comparable to the controversy at Mar-a-Lago. Legally, the underlying potential offense of unlawfully possessing classified material is the same, though there are obvious differences in the two cases. Yet, what has been lost may be as serious as any crime for Democrats: clarity. Indeed, the potential crime itself was quickly dismissed by press and pundits who previously insisted that the mere possession of such documents endangered national security and warranted prosecution.
Here is the column:
In the movie classic “Three Days of the Condor,” John Houseman played a weathered spymaster who spoke of the good old days after the Great War “before we knew enough to number them.” When a subordinate asked if he missed “that kind of action,” Houseman responds dryly, “Nope. I miss that kind of clarity.”
The Democrats may soon have the same lament. We have too many scandals to number, but what they will miss most after the discovery of highly classified documents in the president’s former private office is the clarity. With the discovery, Democrats have lost the clarity and separation with Trump. There are clear differences in the two scandals, but those differences could be lost in the echo of Biden’s own words on the mishandling of classified material.
Last year, President Biden was asked by CBS’ Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes,” “When you saw the photograph of the top secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, what did you think to yourself looking at that image?”
Biden seem to struggle to find words to express his revulsion: “How that could possibly happen, how one anyone could be that irresponsible. And I thought what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods.”
Washington is in full spin control with pundits who previously said that even a misdemeanor conviction of Trump should bar him from ever running again for federal office.
Again, there are distinctions, but we still do not know the full facts, including whether additional classified material has been previously returned or whether additional material may be located in other offices. Nevertheless, there is no allegation of false statements or obstruction.
What is most striking is how this could have easily been far, far worse if the Bidens had gotten their way on the alternative office that was discussed following their departure from government. Rather than the Penn Center, their effective landlord would have been Chinese associates with close ties to Beijing.
For those of us who have followed the Biden influence peddling scandal, one of the benefits that Joe Biden was supposed to receive from Chinese associates was an office that he would use regularly.
In 2017, Hunter Biden asked that keys be made for his new “office mates,” listing his father, Joe Biden, Jill Biden and his uncle, Jim Biden. He said that they planned to share the space with Gongwen Dong, whom he described as an “emissary” for Chairman Ye Jianming — the chairman of CEFC Chinese Energy Co. Hunter Biden also asked for set of keys of Gongwen Dong. The manager was even asked to change the names on the front door to include Joe and Jill Biden.
The arrangement appears to have fallen to the wayside with other aspects of the Chinese deals. Instead, the Bidens found another source at the University of Pennsylvania to cover their office needs.
What is not known is whether some of this classified material was relevant to Biden’s book and his lectures on diplomacy, raising the possibility that he worked with the documents on computers or discussed them with third parties. In the meantime, they apparently sat in a closet, easy pickings for any intelligence service.
While the media continues to dismiss the influence peddling investigation as, in the words this weekend of NBC’s Chuck Todd, a “personal” attack, it is far more serious as a form of corruption due to an array of dangers from such access. The millions given to Hunter Biden came from a variety of foreign sources, including some coming from figures tied to foreign intelligence. This money not only gained influence but access to the Bidens.
Hunter himself stated that foreign intelligence used hotel rooms to steal his files. A videotape purportedly shows Biden claiming that one of his laptops was stolen by Russians for blackmail purposes.
Putting aside the lack of media interest in Biden’s claim, there is no information on any investigation by the FBI that blackmail material may have been acquired on the Bidens.
The danger of influence peddling is that it is not only the preferred avenue for corruption in Washington, but it often allows dangerous levels of access to targeted leaders.
Even if the public dodged this danger on the Chinese-funded office, it was not due to any lack of effort by the Bidens. The question now is how the public can feel confident that the FBI will show the same vigor in investigating the Bidens as it did Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland knows that many citizens no longer trust the government and his current position will only deepen those misgivings. There is growing unease over the litany of controversies over political bias at the FBI, including calls for a new “Church Committee” to look into reforms.
At the same time, Garland has maintained an incomprehensible position in refusing to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Biden influence peddling controversy and other issues. He has done so despite clear evidence that the President had lied in denying any knowledge of his son’s foreign dealings and repeated references to the President getting a possible cut or benefits (including the Chinese-funded office) from the deals.
Garland’s position now borders on the comical. He announced that he was compelled to appoint a special counsel on the Mar-a-Lago and other possible offenses by Trump after he officially became a candidate for the 2024 presidential election. At the time, some of us noted that Biden is actually the president but Garland was steadfastly refusing to make such an appointment.
Now Biden stands accused of the same underlying offense as Mar-a-Lago. While there have not been false statement or obstruction claims raised, it is unclear what allegations will emerge. More importantly, the offense of unlawfully removing and storing classified information is the same. Yet, Garland again refused to appoint a special counsel and will keep the matter within the DOJ rank-and-file.
Biden can count on every possible consideration and accommodation from the media. The public is used to that. However, Garland will undermine both investigations by continuing to block the appointment of a special counsel into Biden and his family.
The Biden discovery will complicate the narrative for many in Washington, particularly those who previously took the position that knowing possession alone justifies a criminal charge. When added to the Hillary Clinton destruction of tens of thousands of emails and use of unsecure private servers, Garland may be creating the greatest credibility crisis for the Justice Department in decades. It is due his framing of these investigations.
It is all part of the incredible shrinking Merrick Garland. At a time that leadership is demand, Garland is again evading his most difficult obligation to show total independence from his president in seeking both the full facts and full accountability in a scandal. Otherwise, he will fuel the mistrust over the treatment of the two scandals and many more, beyond the president, and future generations will likely ask “how anyone could be that irresponsible.”
407 thoughts on “Biden’s Closet: It is Not the Crime But the Clarity That Concerns the Press and Pundits”
Hmmm is this just one way their money laundering is done? You betcha.
Background Check Form Claims Hunter Biden Paid $50,000 a Month in Rent for Biden Home Where Classified Docs Were Stored
I don’t think Trump or Biden should be prosecuted over this. Because actually when you couple the ‘record’s retention laws with the archives laws…..you put all our history in one place….the “archives” And thereby worse endanger national security. if we actually learn from history. And I remember a NATO war when China “accidentally” bombed an archive. Oh and someone blew up Germany’s archive and oh….our archives was lost in 911 in building seven! I think the more decentralized the archives the better! Even if in a closet or underwear drawer!
Indeed it was all too convienent (sp) for the Pentagon too be blowed up…in the section looking for the missing two trillion….for rumsfield. And building seven archives to fall down too on the same day.? But our media is not curious what happened in Germany archives or Italy archives….just a coincidence? Meanwhile the Asian Pacific center can’t wait for our greatest generation to keel….so they can rewrite history…without any one who was there calling bullpuckey. Meanwhile meta wants to create an alternative reality and musk wants to hack our brians…..(like that s normal human behaviour? Res ipsa loquitor. I rest my case.
Pres. Biden had an office at UPenn. Why? His lawyers were cleaning out his office at UPenn. Why? If the classified documents included Iraq and Ukraine, why? Apparently, he said he was a professor; but apparently, he never taught a class? And supposedly he received a large salary as reported “An investigative report by the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that Biden was paid $371,159 in 2017 and $540,484 in 2018 and 2019”. Is this true? If true, there apparently are many, many ways that tuition could be reduced to make college affordable for students.
I hear ya……what needs investigated is the “key’…..at least trump tried to keep it locked down….Hunter tho was getting keys made.
So it goes to intent on what either intended to do with the documents. But it’s all a red herring….over dinner with xi there….trump bombed @syria…. To send a message…..while Biden’s done nothing but kowtow to xi. Remember the Chinese lady arrested for trying to access mars lago? No such arrests for trying to get into bidens. (Had a key?). But they have us reading the archives act by morning …..instead of FOCUS.
Anyone that thinks the Biden connection to Ukraine and current circumstances is coincidence is an idiot. Likely a privileged idiot. I do not have words. Trump was clean as a whistle compared to the Bidens, Obamas, or Clintons.
One can only hope it’s not contest.
I’m confident whatever nefarious or clandestine connections the Bidens may have to the ‘current circumstances’ in Ukraine .. . it’s all ‘classified’ far above the new GOP congress level.
*the IC has ‘six ways from Sunday’ getting Trump.
Biden is now at about Nixon-level corruption. Nixon’s redeeming action was aiding Israel at its darkest hour during the Yom Kippur war (interestingly his mother had prophesied that one day he would save the Jewish people). Perhaps coincidentally, Biden can do a world of good in the Middle East if he makes up with Saudi Arabia as a stepping stone to the kingdom normalizing relations with Israel. That in turn will cement an Abraham Accords counter-weight to the 900-pound gorilla of the Middle East, Iran.
Biden is WAY WAY beyond Nixon level corruption. He makes Nixon look like a piker, a newbie, a babe in the woods when it comes to corrupt. Just look how he violated all our civil rights by using social media to censor us, how he’s lied and lied and lied some more, how he has utterly flouted our immigration laws, aiding and abetting illegal immigration, how he drained our Strategic Petroleum Reserves to help his party in the election, and on and on and on.
Worse he makes some deal about “North america” like we (usa) dont have sovereignty! …as he lets in South and central america.???? In the name of diversity. Can you imagine our economy if we didn’t have bigotry or racism? How many jobs are created to combat this ghost? Besides no border patrol? I’d say one out of every five jobs….. Is based on the “industry” of falsely claiming other people are bigots….what ever the “cause”…..
Not only do we have an “industry” based on these false accusations of bigotry….we have a democracy problem. Look at Florida where the middle class is being whipped out. What’s the vote really there? Per population? All the “investors” who own all the property….don’t get a vote. nor do the workers who service the property…don’t get a vote. ( migrants). Who voted in florida? They personnel who were once stationed at one of its ten bases? For decades? Ten based for decades is a lot of politicians past….not from geatz or desantis. Florida could fall in a heart beat. And when it does it will have rich people who can’t vote legally….And poor ppl who can’t vote legally. And when yet when the migrants servicing can vote…..it will go venuzwela! Ron is not ready for that inevitable collapse!
Somehow he needs to be able to counter the influx Biden given migrant vote….with the land …home owner vote. So he better get on the same ball! He could start by challenging a federal court that tried to upset Florida constitution on residency!. ..that is I should be able to vote in florida…..because I own there as an american….And lived there six months and never claimed residency elsewhere. More over the fair housing act forbids me from asking residency or origin of a tenant! Ron could salvage florida….but it will take taking on the fair housing act and the chamber of commerce. But he can. Ten bases! Not really a feather in his cap! Past people’s not his!
And a collapse will be happening g….since there is one for ten….to.owner vs servicer. Then what? Venuela? The only way now to stave that off….is to give the middle class back their Florida constitutiona!I voting rights. and prevent foreigners from voting. Whether serve or chicken rich owners. The only way to legally stave off eggshells in florida is to fight with all grit now about the Florida constitution….And pray there is enough who call under that left! I’m afraid Florida already crosses the math magical rubicon. It’s already no matter what it does…can’t overcome the “servicers” Biden is about to let vote. Themselves the proverbial! We were all warned about…..once they figure out they c a n vote the largest to themselves! Bastian.
Biden in response to a question yesterday: “I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn there were any government records that were taken there to that office … They turned over the boxes to the [National] Archives and we’re cooperating fully with the review, which I hope will be finished soon, and there will be more detail at that time.”
And Biden never spoke to Hunter about his business and never met any of his business partners or prospective partners too, remember? All of which has been proven to be utterly false.
– “surprised to learn” that there were government documents in a closet in his office for five years? What must be hiding in his desk! Has he checked the trunk of his car?
“surprised to learn”
No doubt, Biden was also “surprised” at how those plagiarized passages made their way into his law school work and political speeches.
“Surprised”? BS. They were known to exist for months. That is a typical ATS response when Biden does something wrong
The only question is why the release of this information now instead of earlier? There are many possibilities. Here are two of interest.
1) The Republicans have a mole who is providing this type of information. However, one would think if they had the information before the midterms it would have been released then and in a different fashion.
2) Some Democrats want Biden out but didn’t want to affect the election.
Of course there are many more, but it is strange that Biden, who ATS portrays as honest and above board, waited until after the midterms. The documents sat for 6 years, unsecured in a think tank heavily supported by the Chinese. With so many questions about transfers of cash to the Biden syndicate one has to look deeply to make sure American secrets are safe, but we already know they are not.
“the offense of unlawfully removing and storing classified information is the same”
Isn’t it actually notably worse for Biden? After all, as President Trump had the ultimate authority when it came to whether documents are or aren’t classified. But that’s not the case for Biden as VP, as best I understand.
May we begin at the beginning. There is no power provided by the Constitution related to the classification of materials. President George Washington, of the executive branch, generated and archived documents related to negotiations with Great Britain initiating the executive branch function of classification. Classification is a function of the executive branch. No legislation regarding classification by the executive branch is constitutional. The legislative branch has no authority to usurp the power of the executive branch.
Please correct and edify me.
Both the Nassau County Republicans and the NY GOP Chair have called for George Santos to resign. So has Rep. Anthony D’Esposito.
I am calling for Matt Romney, Thom Tillis, and that evil woman from Alaska all to resign….but that isn’t going to happen either.
The Republican Party and the Democrat Party along with the media all had their chance to do a background check on the guy…..and none did.
Now they are stuck with him.
If padding your Resume, lying about your scholastic record, lying about your employment record, and all manner of other things…..Joe Biden would have to step down over the very same things Santos has lied about.
New tonight: Santos received payments as recently as April 2021 from a financial services company accused by the SEC of a “classic Ponzi scheme.” Santos did not divulge income from that company on disclosures required of federal candidates.
It’s only getting worse as more info comes out.
Republican Rep. Mace is also calling on him to resign.
The Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Santos of illegally using campaign funds to pay personal expenses and of concealing the source of more than $700,000 that Santos plowed into his election bid.
Reps. Ritchie Torres and Dan Goldman have filed an ethics complaint against George Santos, urging the House Ethics Committee to investigate Santos for violating the Ethics in Government Act.
It’s only a matter of time.
Another effort to overturn an election?
You think they all overturned elections when they resigned?
But unlike Santos, Biden never really did have another job. He’s been in politics since is brief stint as public defender after nearly being tossed out of Syracuse Law School for plagerism and graduating close to the bottom of his class.