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Biden Campaign Fears Negative Fallout Over Photo Release From Classified Documents Probe

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is preparing for a wave of negative fallout stemming from the expected release of photos showing careless storage of classified documents as special counsel Robert Hur’s year-long investigation wraps up.

Axios has reported that Biden’s advisors do not anticipate the filing of criminal charges stemming from the investigation. However, they are apprehensive about potentially embarrassing photographs that may be included in Hur’s forthcoming report, expected to be released as early as this week.

The images might reveal how Biden stored classified materials, which were found in late 2022, both in the garage of Biden’s Delaware residence and in a private office he frequented. The classified documents date back to Biden’s tenure as vice president during the Obama administration.

In the run-up to their anticipated rematch in the 2024 election, close advisers to President Biden have expressed concern to Axios that the former President Trump’s campaign might potentially exploit the images.

Trump is currently facing over 40 charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith stemming from the improper storage of classified documents at his private residence in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., after he departs from the White House. The charges include obstruction of justice and the deliberate retention of national defense information.

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Hur, a 2017 Trump nominee who has experience as a U.S. attorney and a clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, is required to write a report on the investigation. According to Biden’s aides, as told to Axios, they anticipate that the report could be made available as early as this week, although the precise release date remains uncertain, Fox News reported.

In a CBS “60 Minutes’ interview last fall, Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed to make public a special counsel’s report related to another matter – the one related to Hunter Biden – “to the extent permissible under the law” and promised to explain the “decisions to prosecute or not prosecute, and their strategic decisions along the way.”

“Usually, the special counsels have testified at the end of their reports, and I expect that that will be the case here,” Garland said.

Anthony Coley, a former senior adviser to Garland, hit the Biden team for slow-walking discovery in the case.

“Against the backdrop of former President Trump’s indictment on charges of willful and deliberate retention of classified documents, the Biden team’s drip, drip, drip of information made the discoveries seem even worse,” he wrote in an op-ed.

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Last month, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who is presiding over his classified documents case in Florida, handed his legal team a victory of sorts after Smith moved to force Trump into sharing files about his defense strategy for the case, particularly on if he wants to blame his attorneys as part of his defense, which many experts said would violate attorney-client privilege.

Katie Phang, a legal analyst for MSNBC, said that in nixing the request, Cannon dealt a significant blow to Smith.

“Judge Cannon enters an ORDER denying, without prejudice, Special Counsel’s Motion to Compel Disclosure Regarding Advice-of-Counsel Defense,” the expert said. “Cannon says that it’s too early in the litigation to consider forcing Donald Trump to have to disclose this information.”

Cannon’s order read, “Assuming the facts and circumstances, in this case, warrant an order compelling disclosure of an advice-of-counsel trial defense, the Court determines that such a request is not amenable to proper consideration at this juncture, before at least partial resolution of pre-trial motions, transmission to Defendants of the Special Counsel’s exhibit and witness lists, and other disclosures as may become necessary.”

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Former US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce Vance, said on X that Cannon will delay the case until after the election and may never allow it to take place.

“In the Mar-a-Lago case, Judge Cannon has just refused to enforce a routine deadline, and it’s entirely clear she has no intention of letting this case go to trial before the election or possibly ever,” she wrote.

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