By Elias Hunt
On the weekend of Jan. 23, it was announced that FBI agents discovered classified documents after searching President Joe Biden’s residence in Wilmington, Delaware.
The event has been drawing comparisons to the seizure of classified documents from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in August 2022. According to the Washington Examiner, the most significant difference is that the documents found in Biden’s residence include those from his tenure as vice president, as well as his time as a senator, which began more than a half-century ago. This would mean that at minimum, Biden has been improperly concealing classified documents for 14 years.
The initial discovery of the documents was made on Nov. 2, 2022 but was not announced publicly for 68 days. In response, the Justice Department has told lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee that it is working to investigate the classified documents from both Biden and Trump’s residences without harming ongoing special counsel investigations into both matters, according to a new letter obtained by the Associated Press.
According to NPR, Biden states that he will work with the Justice Department regarding the documents.
“We found a handful of documents that were filed in the wrong place. We immediately turned them over to the [National] Archives and the Justice Department,” Biden said. “We're fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence has also been implicated in a classified documents controversy. On Jan. 16, FBI officials announced in an official report that they had found a “small number of documents bearing classified markings that were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former Vice President at the end of the last Administration” were collected by FBI officials from his Indiana home, according to NPR.
Republicans have been quick to respond to these events. Trump released this statement on his Truth Social platform: “Mike Pence is an innocent man,” he wrote. “He never did anything knowingly dishonest in his life. Leave him alone!!!”
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) also weighed in, saying: “Former Vice President Pence's transparency stands in stark contrast to Biden White House staff who continue to withhold information from Congress and the American people…”
Comer said he is hoping to pursue bipartisan legislation to address how presidential and vice presidential offices ensure they do not retain classified information after they leave office.
“We have to reform the way that documents are boxed up when they leave the president and vice president’s office and follow them to the private sector,” Comer told The Hill.
While some officials direct blame to the individuals involved, most agree that there must be reform to the way classified material is handled.
“I don’t believe there were ‘sinister motives’ with regards to the handling of classified information by President Biden, President Trump, or Vice President Pence,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had this to say in a post on Twitter. “We have a classified information problem which needs to be fixed.”