By Jorge Dastis
Washington, Jan 13 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden has found himself closer than ever to a scandal of Trumpian qualities after revelations that classified documents were found in several private offices and property.
What is known of the case so far pales in comparison to the Department of Justice investigation into former president Donald Trump over his alleged hoarding of top secret documents at his Florida residence Mar-a-Lago but this has not stopped some Republicans from trying to draw parallels.
Kevin McCarthy, the new speaker of the House of Representatives, now held by Biden’s Republican Party rivals, on Thursday called for an investigation into the president, who he has accused of weaponizing the DoJ against Trump.
The reality is that neither Trump nor Biden should have been in possession of classified documents, which by law must be handed over to the National Archives.
But mere possession of these files is not a crime if it can be proven that they were not knowingly hidden.
And this is the crux of the difference between the scandals.
In Biden’s case, an initial batch of documents that was discovered in November in an office he used following his time as vice president under Barack Obama and before his White House bid in 2020 was immediately handed over to the National Archives, US media revealed this week.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday during a trip to Mexico, Biden said he was “surprised” to learn of their discovery and that he was unaware of their contents.
Trump was less forthcoming, and the DoJ had to rely on an FBI raid to retrieve some of the top secret material from Mar-a-Lago.
The National Archives had been trying to recover the documents for a year and a half.
That is why Trump is facing a probe for alleged obstruction of justice, which will determine whether the former president knowingly stashed the documents away.
Biden has, however, faced questions over an apparent lack of transparency. Although the documents were unearthed in November, just before the midterm elections, the White House waited for the media to report the findings this week before confirming the incident.
Following the initial discovery, Biden’s team has found more documents from his time as VP at an office and in the garage of his Delaware home.
The revelations prompted US Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the case.
The classified documents scandal is threatening to tarnish the Biden administration, which looks to have guided the nation through the inflation crisis and overseen economic growth. EFE