Below is my column in the New York Post on one possible explanation for the distribution and division of classified documents in a former office, a garage, and the library of President Joe Biden. If evidence links the President’s work in his book to any of these documents, his “inadvertent defense” will be shattered and deepen the danger of the ongoing criminal investigation. There are many who are hoping that Biden with “Promise me” that he was not reckless enough to work of any of these documents on Ukraine, China, and other issues from this time as Vice President.
Here is the column:
“How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible,” President Biden, struggling to find words to express his revulsion at the very idea of moving classified material to Mar-a-Lago in a “60 Minutes” interview.
“And I thought what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods.”
So how does Biden explain the roughly dozen documents found sitting in a closet at a private office supplied by the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement? For the moment, he is not saying anything at all. It is easy to understand why.
According to reports, the clearly marked classified documents include those at the highly classified “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information” (TS/SCI) level. The documents reportedly include material related to Iran, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
When the documents on such subjects were found at Mar-a-Lago, media experts immediately opined that Donald Trump may have sold material or was endangering national security for a book or vanity.
For two days, Biden has refused to answer questions from reporters as his allies in the media struggle for a spin out of this scandal.
His silence is hardly surprising. Biden has always been better at expressing revulsion than responsibility. Time and again, he has literally rushed before cameras to denounce others, often without basis, for alleged crimes. He has not waited for investigations, let alone trials.
For instance, when mounted agents were falsely accused of whipping migrants in Texas, the president was there. Even though the whipping story was clearly refuted by the available videotape, Biden rode the wave of media outrage, declaring: “It was horrible what — to see, as you saw — to see people treated like they did: horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.”
This week, the president appeared on the southern border and held a photo op with border agents. Yet he has never had the decency to apologize to the agents who were cleared of all whipping allegations. Instead, his administration is still seeking to punish them on other grounds.
Biden may have to take responsibility for this debacle, but he faces a potential criminal charge. While Attorney General Merrick Garland has again refused to appoint a special counsel, any acknowledgment of Biden’s knowledge or interaction with the documents could have serious legal ramifications. These documents may have been relevant to his last book.
The book, “Promise Me, Dad,” released in November 2017, was marketed as his insider view of America’s relations with countries like Iran and Ukraine: “As vice president, Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq.”
If he worked off these documents, it is impossible to deny the violation — or his hypocrisy in his comments on Mar-a-Lago.
He is now the subject of the same inquiries he raised with CBS’s Scott Pelley: “I thought what data was in there that may compromise sources and methods. By that, I mean, names of people helped or et cetera.”
The fact is past cases of the removal or mishandling of classified material have not resulted in major prosecutions. Yet many in the Democratic Party and the media have insisted on criminal charges in the Mar-a-Lago case, including barring Trump from office for even a misdemeanor conviction on unlawful possession.
Biden has previously weathered scandals, often by denying culpable intent. When accused of plagiarism, for instance, Biden insisted “if I had intended to cheat, would I have been so stupid?”
Many are likely to be asking the same question in the weeks ahead.
Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.
27 thoughts on ““Promise Me, Dad:” Biden’s Book Could Become the Focus of the Investigation of his Possession of Classified Material”
Plagiarism, all over again.
To all you truth seeking detectives out there,,,,, do not give “the big guy” anymore money, than he has already grifted, by buying the book! FJB, and the Corvette he rode in on.
Jonathan: Come on. Your column is the most wild speculation and innuendo I’ve seen in years. And you make a clearly false statement. You say AG Garland “has again refused to appoint a special counsel” in the Biden docs case. On 1/12 Garland appointed US Attorney Robert Hur to investigate those docs. How could you make such an egregious false statement unless there is some political purpose?
And it’s wildly irresponsible to speculate on the contents of the material found at Biden’s former offices and at his home. Only a few people have seen the docs–now probably including Hur. And Biden is not required to explain anything at this point. I would imagine WH Counsel has advised the President to say nothing until after Hur has completed his investigation. Pretty prudent advice at this point. But you, Fox and the right-wing media keep peddling the false narrative that the Biden case is comparable to what Trump did in holding on to over 300 top secret docs and refusing to turn them over to NARA and the DOJ. That comparison has already been thoroughly debunked.
So let’s move on to other important news you always choose to ignore. A Florida judge has just ordered Trump to pay nearly $1million to Hilary Clinton and other defendants for filing a bogus lawsuit. Trump alleged in his lawsuit that Clinton and others conspired to sink his 2016 campaign by alleging ties to Russia. Judge Donald Middlebrooks said in his decision: “Here, we are confronted with a lawsuit that never should have been filed, which was completely frivolous, both factually and legally, and which was brought in bad faith for an improper purpose”. But Middlebrooks was not finished. He described Trump as a “prolific and sophisticated litigant” who uses the courts “to seek revenge on his political adversaries”. This case puts another nail in the coffin of your claims Clinton was involved in some criminal conspiracy relating to the 2016 presidential campaign. Will Trump appeal? Probably because Trump despises Clinton. It’s a personal vendetta. But don’t expect a different result.
But it’s not all bad news for Trump. The Trumpster is about to return to Twitter and he has filled a petition to get back on Facebook. He knows that to get his campaign into gear (that so far has sputtered) he needs to get back on Twitter and Facebook. Some speculated that Trump would file a lawsuit against Facebook. But after the bad experience in Judge Midddlebrooks’ courtroom the Trump campaign probably decided that would be a very heavy lift with little prospect of success. On his show Jimmy Kimmel had a funny take on Trump’s desperate attempt to get back on Facebook: “Who needs Facebook when you reach about a dozen people a day on Truth Social!”. Indeed.
Yep, AG Garland refused to take to appropriate action to appoint a special cousel, just like CJ Roberts refused to identify the Dobb’s leaker. Gee, we investigated and investigated, but we just couldn’t say for sure who the leaker was. Hogwash!
Both men are reprehensible. Garland and Roberts are weak, contemptible, shameful, disgraceful, dangerous, and corrupt to the core — which is the sole reason they make it to the positions of power they hold in Washington DC. Qualification numero uno: MUST BE UNPRINCIPLED and CORRUPTIBLE.
Interesting that the infamous Peter Strzok pointed it out: ‘They. Didn’t. Interview. The. Justices.’ !!
Justice Roberts is a disgrace. Resign!
Dear Dennis: thank you. You took the words right out of my mouth. Turley ignores the truly significant legal story of the day: the massive sanction award for frivolous litigation against Trump and his lawyer, and is now making things up just to come up with more red meat for the disciples. Trump managed to get into the White House in 2016, despite cheating and losing the popular vote, but sued Hillary Clinton anyway. As Laurence O’Donnell pointed out: Trump is a sore winner AND a sore loser, too. I haven’t read the lawsuit, but apparently, Trump was upset that Hillary won the popular vote, thus depriving him of bragging rights for the nonexistent “landslide victory” he believed himself to be entitled to. He actually accused HER of cheating! You can’t make this stuff up. Turley jumped the shark a long time ago. It’s sad, really.
You mean you listen to nutjob Laurence O’Donnell who screamed at his staff: “STOP the hammering! Stop the F’n hammering!” …..that guy? Laughable.
Dennis: I note that you, in your opening paragraph, are responding on January 20 to the professor’s blog article written early on January 13, sometime prior to 6:45 a.m. (since there is already a “comment” posted at 6:48 a.m.) -and which constitutes a RE-publication of a column written even prior to that (for the NYPost). Do you think that Garland was responding to the substance of Turley’s earlier post? (I did not read the rest of your comment and move on to something more substantive.)
(I correct my statement to the extent re: a comment posted at 6:48 a.m.,– in that all comments appear to show today’s date, even though the blog article was written on or before January 13? All else in my comment remains.)
With respect to Middlebrook – do you need more evidence of judicial incompetence ?
Of COURSE “Clinton and others conspired to sink his 2016 campaign by alleging ties to Russia.”
What Planet does Middlebrook live on ? And why is he on the bench ?
And why are you so stupid that you are not hiding as far as you can from this idiocy.
You claim to be the party of science – you are the party of alternate reality.
Clinton’s efforts as the SOURCE of the Collusion delusion is not just a fact – but one already established in Court.
Middlebrook was obligated to take judicial notice of Clinton’s role – Trump need not prove it, it is already established.
We can debate the legitimate extent to which courts can insert themselves into the political process.
I am not sure the extent to which Trump’s lawsuit has merit – not because his claims are not true, but because I do not think the courts have the power to make political dirty tricks into torts.
The Biden campaign, and the DNC’s involvement in censoring social media is disgusting. But the check on that is supposed to be those in th media and social media themselves – not the courts.
But the involvement of various 3 letter government agencies and the actual threats to SM by elected officials such as Schiff are violations of the first amendment and are the proper domain of the courts.
“This case puts another nail in the coffin of your claims Clinton was involved in some criminal conspiracy relating to the 2016 presidential campaign.”
Of course she was – she funded and orchestrated the production of the Steele Dossier and the Alpha Bank Hoax, and greenlit its being sold to the FBI.
You can try to argue this is not a crime. But you can not argue that it did not happen.
You also can not argue that it was not, immoral, and dripping with malice.
And yet you are arguing that.
At long last Dennis, have you no shame ?
Are you really going to try to argue that the Steele Dossier and the Alpha Bank Hoax are not immoral political dirty tricks ?
That they were not malicious lies ?
Everything that is evil and/or immoral is not a crime or even a tort.
But the fact that something MIGHT not be a crime or a tort does not make it any less foul.
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It is amazing how quickly those on the left quietly walk back all their claims about Trump.
Now we are debating what Biden can declare personal, or declassify.
Not long ago no one could do that.
Hmm! Now, why does he have files on only these countries when there are so many to choose from? Italy, Poland, South Africa, Japan, or Australia for example. Past time to call Joe and his family what they are to
the United States. Traitors. If S&H Green Stamps still existed, they’d sell the U.S. out for those, especially
if China was at the other end of the deal.
I just want to know why no one has heard from Keith Olbermann lately?
Biden’s bedtime 2017 book, “Promise Me, Dad,” has renewed its copyright and changed the book title to “Winkin,’ Blinkin,’ and Nod.”
I seem to see little enthusiasm in the MSM, and particularly in the Democratic Party of people rushing to defend Mr. Biden. AG Garland continues to be protective, and the erstwhile Press Secretary continues to cover herself in ineptitude and circling back like an infinity loop. And then we hear that Rep. Clyburn of S.C. Is threatening anyone who attempts to primary Mr. Biden. I have seen the suggestion that this might be an opportunity for the Democratic Party to take Joe out of the 2024 election. Connecting the many disparate points of flames, one might want to explore this whole line more. Stranger things have happened.
GEB: you don’t watch mainstream media, and what you are saying is just parrotting what you heard on alt/right media.
IMHO the docs have been planted. After “analyzing” them it will be discovered that they were planted by agents loyal to Trump (Trump has his own hand-selected Praetorian Guard protecting him). This serves two purposes: makes Trump more vulnerable, for his guys will have to resign and/or be prosecuted, and makes “Joe Biden” look like a martyr to “Trump’s radical terrorists.” The Deep State has had only one playbook since 2015: Put Trump in jail. These two-digit IQs are getting desperate. They are quite happy running “Joe Biden” and his body doubles, and the clueless clowns in the White House like Susan Rice, Bliken, Burns, and Jake Sullivan. Since these stolen docs are TS/SCI they cannot be photographed or verified. It’s quite ingenious actually, but typical of the sort of Ops that have been run on Trump since Day One.
Don’t forget that Trump colluded with Putin to have Guam tipped over, too.
Typical left wing explanation. This inept, demented, government has done everything they ever accused Trump of, and per usual, they turn ever around and blame Trump. You really need to face the fact that the Biden Crime Family is universally corrupt, and distracting the facts by throwing in the “all Trump’s fault category, shows nothing original, and emphasizes the disgusting criminal behavior from the Left. And you get the help of the totally Left controlled media.
Joe Biden is the “Ralph Nickleby” of DC.
Lie, cheat and steal. Pedo Joe a loudmouth corrupt THUG.
No possible way Biden got 81 million votes from the basement.
Millions more than Obama, The Chosen One? Just stop it now.
More political theatre. Let’s let Pedo Joe swing in the wind while we see if Justice is equal. Trump has a legal question as to declassifying, Joe has a legal question as to unauthorized possession and mishandling. Merrick Garland gets to decide. I’m sure glad Merrick never made the SCOTUS. That’s one thing China Mitch did right for the country.
When asked about his handling of top-secret documents, Biden would do well to invoke the Constitution and plead the Fifth.
He’s perfectly unfamiliar with that document’s provisions.