New Evidence May Destroy Biden’s Defense in his Classified Documents Case

Below is my column in The Hill on new evidence released by the House Oversight Committee challenging the account of President Joe Biden and the White House on the discovery of classified material in various locations. If the earlier search included these classified documents, the new timeline will shatter the long-standing claims of the President.

Here is the column:

This month, the sudden appearance of Special Counsel Robert Hur caused as much of a stir as Bigfoot suddenly appearing on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Unlike his counterpart, Special Counsel Jack Smith, who has been aggressively prosecuting former president Donald Trump, Hur has virtually disappeared since his appointment to investigate President Joe Biden. Hur surfaced to interview Biden over his possession of classified documents, including some that go back to his time as a U.S. senator.

I have referred to Hur as a “neutron prosecutor” — a special counsel with no possible charge, under Justice Department policy barring the indictment of a sitting president. If that was not enough of a problem, Hur may have growing evidence that accounts offered by the White House over the discovery of the documents are false.

The new evidence could prove transformative, not only for the criminal but the impeachment investigation of the president.

This week, the House Oversight Committee released a new timeline on the discovery of classified documents in various locations associated with Biden. From the outset, many of us flagged problems with the account that had been given by Biden, who insisted that he had no knowledge or involvement in the removal or use of the documents.

The most glaring problem is that, after they were removed at the end of his term as vice president, the documents were repeatedly moved and divided up. Some were found in the Penn Center office used by Biden in Washington, D.C. Others were found in his garage and reportedly in his library.

Biden made clear from the beginning that he expected the investigation to be perfunctory and brief. He publicly declared that he has “no regrets” over his own conduct and told the public that the documents investigation would soon peter out when it determined that “there is no ‘there’ there.”

However, it appears that a critical claim by the White House in the scandal may not only be false, but was knowingly false at the time it was made. The White House and Biden’s counsel have long maintained that, as soon as documents were discovered in the D.C. office, they notified the national archives. Many asked why they did not call the FBI, but the White House has at least maintained that, unlike Trump, they took immediate action to notify authorities.

It now appears that this was not true. One of the closest aides to Biden and a close friend to Hunter Biden is Annie Tomasini. She referred to Hunter as her “brother” and signed off messages with “LY” or “love you.”

Tomasini was once a senior aide to Joe Biden and, according to the Oversight Committee, inspected the classified material on March 18, 2021, two months after Biden took office — nearly 20 months before they were said to be found by the Biden team.

The committee now alleges that the White House “omitted months of communications, planning, and coordinating among multiple White House officials, [Kathy] Chung, Penn Biden Center employees, and President Biden’s personal attorneys to retrieve the boxes containing classified materials. The timeline also omitted multiple visits from at least five White House employees, including Dana Remus, Anthony Bernal, Ashley Williams, Annie Tomasini, and an unknown staffer.”

If true, the evidence demolishes the timeline long maintained by the Biden team. That could have an immediate impact on both the criminal and impeachment investigations.

The timeline has been a critical distinction drawn by the White House in distinguishing this matter from the Trump indictment, in which Smith charged the former president with 37 counts, including retaining classified information, obstructing justice and making false statements, and other charges.

Biden insisted that he was entirely “surprised” by the discovery of the documents in Nov. 2022. He echoed the narrative of both his lawyers and the media at large: “And they did what they should have done,” he said. “They immediately called the Archives — immediately called the Archives, turned them over to the Archives, and I was briefed about this discovery.”

In reality, Biden’s counsel and associates conducted repeated searches and declared repeatedly that no further classified documents were found. That was repeatedly found to be untrue.

Moreover, the concern is that Biden’s lawyers, in the course of these private searches, may have consolidated material and contaminated the scene by the time FBI agents conducted their searches. This includes changing how documents were originally stored and whether classified markings were visible to anyone working around the Biden home or garage.

Now it appears that the discovery may have had actually occurred months earlier. The timeline would now more closely mirror Trump’s timeline in the knowing retention of classified material, the failure to turn over all of the classified material despite assurances from counsel, and alleged false accounts about the document’s discovery.

It is not clear what Hur can do if he finds either from witnesses or forensic testing (including perhaps fingerprints on the documents) that President Biden lied.

I have long disagreed with the policy that the Justice Department has long held, that prosecutors should not indict a sitting president. Were he to seek an indictment, Hur would have to ask for reconsideration of the policy based on a decades-old memo issued by the Office of Legal Counsel under President Bill Clinton, who at the time faced calls for an indictment for perjury.

The DOJ policy will also put pressure on the House in its ongoing impeachment inquiry. In my recent testimony at the first Biden impeachment inquiry hearing, I mapped out four possible articles of impeachment. They included obstruction and abuse of power.

If this new timeline is accurate, the question is whether Biden knew that the account being put forward by his staff and counsel was false. It also raises the question of whether the president knowingly possessed classified documents and lied about their removal, use, and discovery. Finally, if Biden repeated his public denials to Hur, there could be added allegations of false statements to federal investigators, another commonly-charged federal crime.

We still have to see if there is evidence to support such crimes, but what is clear is that the past narrative may no longer suffice.

In his press conference announcing the criminal charges against Trump, Smith declared, “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone….Nothing more, nothing less.”

The question for Hur is whether they can also apply to a sitting president. Likewise, if these allegations are true and Biden knowingly committed these crimes, the question for Congress could be whether he should remain as president.

Jonathan Turley is the J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at the George Washington University Law School.

149 thoughts on “New Evidence May Destroy Biden’s Defense in his Classified Documents Case”

  1. Today Blinken announced that the U.S. and Israel “have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza — and them alone.” The plan could also include creating areas to keep civilians safe, he said.

    During the discussions about the agreement, Blinken and the U.S. delegation set up next to the Israel prime minister’s Cabinet meeting. Every so often Netanyahu would go over, and the two sides would exchange papers, the senior State Department official said.

  2. It would be so interesting to watch if liar’s pants really did catch fire.

    Many decades ago, my dad bought a small piece of land from a bootlegger and known “shady”businessman. A short time thereafter, before the deal was done, he approached my dad to see if he could get out of the deal by offering a similar piece of land. My dad thanked him but told him he needed that location. The bootlegger said, “I gave my word, the deal is good.”

    Just a man’s word or a handshake was all that was needed. Give your word, keep your word. Truth and integrity are in short supply. Dependability and steadfastness are extinct in politics. It is sad that those who manage to rise to the top in politics appear to be the opposite and often come with poor memory.

    1. Indeed my neighbors last words to me b4 remdisvir killed him was…my word s my bond. …as they screwed him out of a 50000 acre. They screwed them over just like cap one always does. Putting the tax receipt in the top drawer. But we know the true owner is russle. CAP one and their front the fbi will figure out. Hell the mayor doesn’t even live here and their rda for hotels is a scheme. The fdic can track it all down. And who the letting bonds men? But we know it’s been corrupt since 77. Big picture inward. They are crazy to think they get away with it. But the new judge …Bobby brights yv. Go Blu dawgs. 4 the ppl by the ppl! 4y.

  3. I’m one endictment away from being re-elected. There’s no publicity like free publicity. Donald Trump is front and center, always in the news.

  4. As long as the Deep State is indicted along with a president, i would agree with that. To just indict a sitting president and not all the apparatchiks that enable him or her, i don’t see a strong case there.

  5. Wait? He can’t form a lie . . Bc he can’t think straight. Doesn’t the constitution say but nothing can prevent criminal charges? One would think the courts would toll the sol while the perp has immunity. Then again there is so much injustice bc no one has standing. Unless selected. Indeed Paxton and 26 states had original standing over election shennigans….and the supreme court punted it. No standing. Yet now some peons NON PROFIT think they can get Trump off the ballot….and they have standing? Who what where how and why? AND HOE DO THEY KEEP IRS NON PROFIT AS POLITCAL?. We the people 4 the people are sick of the Forshams. We c u. We see the names of your bills….”anti car” … anti onflation…..blah blah always the opposite. And the case names Gunn. Always fork tongue. With foot notes. We c u. And we are done with all that. Our hats bc our soles.

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