OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Senate Democrats say they are alarmed by the fact that President Joe Biden was in possession of at least dozens of classified documents potentially in violation of the law, and they support a full investigation into the matter.
Unlike former President Donald Trump, who — as head of the Executive Branch — had the authority to declassify documents virtually at will, Biden, as a U.S. senator and even as Barack Obama’s vice president, never did, so the fact that he had them at all is troubling to a growing number of Dems, Fox News reported.
“The reports about President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents are extremely irresponsible and disturbing. These allegations should be investigated fully,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), told the network on Friday.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, agreed.
“This news raises serious questions and the appointment of an unbiased special prosecutor to investigate the matter is the right step,” Kaine said.
Fox News added:
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel, former U.S. attorney Robert Hur, to investigate the now-president’s mishandling of documents from his time as vice president.
Manchin and Kaine joined a noticeably small list of Democrats who have spoken out about the Biden document scandal, while most, especially those up for re-election in 2024, have been reluctant to address the situation.
Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., who announced earlier this month that she would be seeking Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s, D-Calif., Senate seat even though Feinstein has yet to announce her retirement, told Fox after a Tuesday town hall event that lawmakers “definitely” wanted “to get answers from the White House” concerning the documents.
“Classified documents belong in classified settings, and I think you heard me say oversight is not a partisan thing. Good oversight means you’re willing to hold any rule breaker to account,” she said. “We should be asking for answers in a respectful way, and we should be expecting to get honest ones.”
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who has already announced she won’t be seeking reelection next year, admitted that the discovery of a growing number of classified documents in Biden’s possession doesn’t look good after she criticized Trump for his situation.
“Well, it’s certainly embarrassing. Right?” Stabenow said during an interview on NBC last week. “I mean, it’s embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents, certainly not on purpose. They don’t think it’s the right thing, and they’ve been moving to correct it, working with the Department of Justice, working with everyone involved, with the [National] Archives, and so from my perspective, you know, it’s one of those moments that obviously they wish hadn’t happened.”
Fox News reported that the outlet contacted more than a dozen other Dems — many of whom had opinions about Trump’s documents — but they didn’t respond.
Meanwhile, the FBI conducted a raid on one of Biden’s residences in Delaware on Friday, finding more documents.
“DOJ took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President. DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years,” the president’s personal attorney said.
The search was conducted over a 12-hour period on Friday with the approval of the president’s attorneys, unlike the raid on former President Donald Trump’s home, CNN reported, adding:
Those six items are in addition to materials previously found at Biden’s Wilmington residence and in his private office.
The federal search of Biden’s home, while voluntary, marks an escalation of special counsel Robert Hur’s probe into the president’s handling of classified documents and will inevitably draw comparisons to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump – even if the FBI’s search of Trump’s residence was conducted under different circumstances.
Members of the president’s private legal team and White House counsel were president during what they called a “thorough search,” where they were granted “full access” to the Biden home.