As you’ve likely heard by now, former President Trump has been under investigation for having removed several classified documents from the White House as he was leaving in 2020 and may be facing serious legal consequences because of them.
He was asked to return them by the National Archives and, when he failed to return all of them, the FBI searched his home at Mar-a-Lago to try to find the rest. He has spent the last several months bitterly complaining that the documents are his (they aren’t) and must be returned immediately (they won’t be.) He’s said that he declassified them (but left no record of his having told anyone about it, which is an important step.) He also filed a suit to try to stop the investigation, but the suit was dismissed by the District Court.
Apparently, President Biden had also retained some documents from his time as Vice President. A few classified documents were found in an office in the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania that Biden used while serving as an honorary professor from 2017 to 2019 and appear to be from his Vice Presidential days. In this case, however, things have been handled a bit differently. According to CNN
“The White House is cooperating with the National Archives and the Department of Justice regarding the discovery of what appear to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings,” Richard Sauber, special counsel to President Biden, said in a statement. “The documents were discovered when the President’s attorneys were packing files housed in a locked closet to prepare to vacate office space at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. The President periodically used this space from mid-2017 until the start of the 2020 campaign. On the day of this discovery, November 2, 2022, the White House Counsel’s Office notified the National Archives. The Archives took possession of the materials the following morning.”
Despite the clear differences in how the situations have been handled by Trump and Biden, expect Trump to claim that the harsher treatment he has faced is due to the bias against him and not because he has been reluctant to hand over the documents and uncooperative in the investigation.
But it’s not just Trump who’s likely to try and make a mountain out of this molehill. Even before he was (finally) elected speaker, Kevin McCarthy had already been clear that he intends to investigate anything he possibly can that might make a Democrat look bad, and other Republican members of the House of Representatives are already planning to impeach President Biden over… something. They will almost certainly either try to use this as a point of investigation or they may use threats of investigating this as a way to try and get Biden to call off the DOJ’s investigation into Trump’s classified document theft.