No U.S. President has ever been prosecuted for obstruction related to the Presidential Records Act, which wouldn’t be a criminal violation, anyway, or the Espionage Act, which was not intended to be used against a President. Now that the ‘Justice’ Department has overreached like crazy in the matter of Trump’s marked-as-classified documents at Mar-A-Lago --- probably in their zeal to find anything usable against Trump by the January 6 Kangaroo Kommittee --- we have to determine the appropriate reaction to President Biden doing what is arguably much worse, considering Biden didn’t even have the authority to declassify documents.
“They’ve made a mess of things,” said Mark Levin Sunday night. “They’re a disgrace.”
Kentucky Rep. James Comer, who now heads the House Oversight Committee, told Levin last Sunday that they’d be looking into the standards of the National Archives and how they were differently applied. Comer is convinced that the raid on Mar-A-Lago was “triggered by the January 6 Committee, just doing a fishing expedition to see if they could find anything...they could use against Donald Trump.” Every request they’ve made to the National Archives, he said, has been answered with the recommendation that they talk with Attorney General Merrick Garland. But he'll demand answers, he said, adding that they have evidence that other Presidents, “in both parties,” took documents, “and nothing like that had ever happened.”
The first leak about classified documents at Penn Biden Center (which actually had been found several days before the midterm elections) happened last Monday evening, the day after that interview. Levin is convinced the timing of the leak had to do with the interview, because Comer had said his committee would be looking at the National Archives and how they’ve treated past Presidents and VPs, and also the relationship between the DOJ and the J6 Committee. Levin believes this leak was an attempt to get ahead of what would inevitably come out.
So, the National Archives is maintaining the classified records from Obama’s presidency? How could that be, when Biden had some of them at his office at the Penn Biden Center, in his garage next to his Corvette, in his home library, and who knows where else? NARA did NOT have this under control at all.
On November 2, Biden’s attorneys found the first batch of classified documents at Biden’s office. We still don’t know why the search was started in the first place.
On November 4 (a few days before the election), NARA contacted a DOJ prosecutor to inform him.
On November 9 (right after the election), the FBI “began an assessment.” On November 14, Garland assigned U.S. Attorney John Lausch to perform an initial investigation. This was all secret. Four days later, Garland appointed special counsel Jack Smith...not to investigate Biden, but to investigate TRUMP.
On December 20, Biden’s personal attorney informed Lausch that additional classified documents had been found in Biden’s garage. The FBI took possession.
On January 5, Lausch briefed Garland on the investigation and recommended a special counsel.
The Biden classified documents story was kept secret for yet another week. The leak to CBS NEWS about the first batch of documents --- again, probably by the Biden administration, to get in front of the story --- was on January 9.
On January 12, Biden’s attorneys called Lausch and said they’d found an additional document. By then, documents had been found in three different locations.
Our thought has been that whatever led up to the Biden attorneys doing these searches, they were the ones doing it because they had attorney-client privilege with the President. By the third "discovery," though, and after the way the Trump matter had been handled, you’d think these same attorneys would’ve at least received subpoenas to search all of Biden’s homes and offices. All the information the DOJ is receiving has been straight from Biden’s own lawyers, and they seem fine with that. In contrast, the ‘Justice’ Department had no patience with Trump’s lawyers during negotiations over the papers at Mar-A-Lago.
Levin sees the same inconsistency --- hard to believe anyone wouldn’t --- and believes it was out of their eagerness to charge Trump with obstruction. Congress needed this because they hadn’t proved anything against Trump involving January 6. But with Biden, “it seems they’re not in a hurry,” he said. They “don’t see the urgency.” This is after Biden had had the documents who-knows-where for six years. And you know he had to be aware of the laws concerning classified documents after half a century in government.
James Trusty, former DOJ prosecutor and Trump’s current attorney on the document matter, said on the show, “In the history of this country, these ‘overdue library book’ disputes, for lack of a better way to phrase it...those were not the stuff of criminal enforcement.” In fact, the Presidential Records Act specifically excludes that; Trusty said that’s why they trotted out the Espionage Act. An unresolved dispute over these records would normally result in a civil suit, not criminal charges.
He noted, as many have, that the warrant to search Mar-A-Lago was so broad that it really was a general warrant, a kind of “blank check” that violates the Fourth Amendment.
The attorney general, he said, “needs to do what’s right and stop this stain on the Department of Justice and the FBI.” If only. It would be wildly out of character for Garland to do that, and, besides, there’s already a stain on the DOJ and FBI that wouldn’t come out if they used Bon Ami.
RELATED: Now that we know Biden’s Delaware home had classified documents within easy reach, the House Oversight Committee is trying to get the visitor logs from there for the past two years. Good luck with that; do the Bidens even keep a log of visitors?
On Joe Biden’s 2017 tax return, he listed a mere $19,800 in “rents received.” In 2018, that figure was zero. More details here...
There’s a must-read story in THE INTERCEPT about an incident from Biden’s past, dating from the Carter administration and having to do with the confirmation process for Carter’s nominee for CIA director. Ted Sorensen had been a speechwriter for JFK and a Kennedy lawyer during Chappaquiddick, but really had no foreign policy experience. Republicans opposed him and apparently Biden was privately unenthusiastic as well. But Biden made Sorensen believe he supported him. Then, at the confirmation hearing, Biden blindsided him, tearing into him for once admitting in an affidavit that he and others --- get ready --- took classified documents home to read. Biden even suggested that Sorensen could be indicted under espionage statutes.
Sorensen agreed to have his nomination withdrawn, later saying Biden should be awarded the “prize for political hypocrisy in a town noted for political hypocrisy.” The irony is rich when reading this story today. We wondered what Sorensen might say about this, but he died in 2010. Too bad he can't be here now to see that what goes around comes around, sometimes.