Speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday morning to boast that the inflation rate had cooled to 6.5 percent in the month of December, President Joe Biden admitted that a second batch of classified material from his vice presidency had been found at one of his Delaware homes.
The president’s attorney said early Thursday that the latest documents “were found in storage space in the president’s Wilmington residence garage,” The New York Times reported.
During Biden’s remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, Fox News White House correspondent reporter Peter Doocy asked him, “Classified materials next to your Corvette? What were you thinking?”
“I’m going to get a chance to speak on all this, God willing, soon,” the president said.
But it was Biden’s next remark that took Doocy’s breath away.
“And by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. OK? So, it’s not like they’re sitting out in the street.”
.@pdoocy: “Classified materials next to your Corvette?
What were you thinking?”
President Biden: “I’m going to get a chance to speak on all of this, god-willing, soon…My Corvette’s in a locked garage, okay? So, it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street…” pic.twitter.com/1gVvJo0dfH
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 12, 2023
Let’s take this in. Biden stored classified documents in the garage of his Wilmington residence.
This is in addition to the news Monday that another batch of top-secret material had been discovered on Nov. 2 inside a closet in an office Biden had used after his days as vice president had ended.
And his Department of Justice raided the Mar-a-Lago residence of former President Donald Trump and has appointed a special counsel to determine if he should be charged criminally for storing classified documents inside a locked storage room there?
Biden obviously had anticipated he would face questions about his classified records because he proceeded to read a prepared statement, which he struggled with at times.
“As I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material seriously,” the president said. “I also said we’re cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department’s review.
“As part of that process, my lawyers reviewed other places where documents might of — from my time as vice president were stored. And they finished the review last night.
“They discovered a small number of documents with classified markings in storage areas and in file cabinets in my home and my — and my — in my personal library. This was done in the case of the Biden Penn — this was done in the case of the Biden Penn Center,” the D.C. office where the first documents were found.
“The Department of Justice was immediately — as was done, the Department of Justice was immediately … notified,” he continued, “and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of the document.
“So you’re going to see — we’re going to see all this unfold. I’m confident …”
Can we expect still more documents to turn up in other “storage areas and file cabinets” in his “home and personal library?” His remark was unclear.
Lest we not forget, as President, Trump can quite literally stand over a box of classified documents and say, “These are no longer classified.” No paper trail, no witnesses. The Vice President has no such power. Unlike Trump, this was 100% illegal and, “Irresponsible,” of Biden. pic.twitter.com/chlenCLA9d
— Carlos Löwenbraü (@CarIosLowenbrau) January 12, 2023
Can you imagine that he thinks that’s this is the protocol for classified documents, his car garage. A service member would already be in Leavenworth
— Takoda James (@james_takoda) January 12, 2023
Over the past few days, pundits on the left have argued that Biden’s violations involving classified documents do not equate to those of his predecessor.
I am not a lawyer, but they may want to consider the following:
• Trump, as president, had the power to declassify documents. Biden’s records date from his vice presidency, when he had only limited authority to declassify documents (see the clarification note at the bottom of this page).
• Trump’s documents were located in a secure storage room. The federal government was aware that he possessed the documents and asked him to put a secure lock on the facility, and he complied.
• So far, Biden’s classified documents have been found in two unsecured locations: a closet in a D.C. office and the garage of a home he rarely visits, preferring his Rehoboth Beach house.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents on Thursday — as well he should.
1. The first documents were discovered one week before the midterms. Why wasn’t this reported at that time?
2. Where is the FBI SWAT team?
CLARIFICATION, Jan. 24, 2023: The original version of this story stated that during his time as vice president, President Joe Biden lacked the authority to declassify documents. In fact, an executive order issued in December 2009 by then-President Barack Obama extended the authority to classify documents to the vice president. The same order gave the vice president the authority to declassify documents if they were classified by the vice president in the first place.
Because the documents involved in the Biden case have not been publicly described, it’s not known whether Biden’s power to declassify their contents would apply.
This post has been edited to reflect that.
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