Ever since President Biden's classified documents scandal exploded into public view last week, we've heard repeated assertions -- from the president directly, from his staff and spokespeople, from his attorneys, and in written statements -- about how very seriously he takes the matter of handling classified material. They say these words to this effect constantly, to the point that it's practically become a verbal tic for Karine Jean-Pierre. But the words mean precious little, in light of the actions they are attempting to paper over. At first, it was just one trove of documents with classification markings, discovered by lawyers at an office Biden used in Washington, DC. This development was not shared with the public for months, not until well after the national election was over. When it was finally revealed, we were told that the presence of the material in that closet was due to 'inadvertent' mishandling (not a strong legal defense), that the president takes such things very seriously (copy, paste), and that it wasn't nearly as bad as the similar-but-totally-different misdeeds of Biden's predecessor.
The talking points soon needed adjusting, after a second and third batch of classified documents were found at Biden's private residence in Wilmington, Delaware -- including some secret materials sitting in his garage. The president still takes the responsibilities surrounding handling the nation's secrets very seriously, we were assured, though this supposed commitment and seriousness of purpose was colorfully and memorably undermined by Biden himself on Friday:
His off-script Corvette meandering introduced the risible 'locked garage' standard, which implied that the papers were secure enough because they were not "out on the street." Very, very seriously. Also on Friday, the president's chief spokesperson informed the country that the president's lawyers' allegedly exhaustive search for any additional classified material unlawfully in Biden's possession had been "completed." Then came Saturday's news:
[Another] batch of classified documents was found at President Biden's residence in Wilmington, Delaware, the president's attorneys announced Saturday. Special counsel to the president Richard Sauber disclosed in a statement that five additional pages of documents with classified markings were found at Biden's home Thursday evening, making a total of six classified documents retrieved from there. Sauber explained that when Biden's personal attorneys identified one classified document at Biden's home on Wednesday, they "immediately" stopped searching for additional documents because they lacked the security clearances necessary to view those materials...On Wednesday, Biden's attorneys found one more classified document at his Wilmington residence, and Sauber discovered the five latest documents on Thursday. That same day, Garland tapped Robert K. Hur, a former U.S. attorney, to serve as special counsel to investigate Biden's handling of classified materials.
What an embarrassment. I've already given my thoughts on the likely legal ramifications of all of this, of which I'm only more convinced, now that a fourth Biden trove has come to light. But the politics of this continue to deteriorate for Team Biden, much of it caused by their own foolishness and incompetence. Think of it: They've known this problem was coming for months. Rather than getting their arms around it and presenting the mess comprehensively with a tidy bow on top, taking their lumps for a few news cycles, then moving on, they've instead blundered into a drip, drip, drip of their own making. It's not as if Congressional Republicans are the ones slowly bleeding this information out to extend the story. It's Biden's own operation that has bungled the rollout of the original bungle, a point I made on Fox News Sunday:
Biden Docs: DOJ appoints special counsel to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents @guypbenson reacts on @FoxNewsSunday #FoxNews #FoxNews #FoxNewsSunday #BidenDocs #Classified pic.twitter.com/bGXt0t3H3n— The Guy Benson Show (@GuyBensonShow) January 16, 2023
These are also entirely valid questions to be asking:
Do they have security clearances? You can just dispatch lawyers to go look for state secrets? Shouldn’t law enforcement handle this? https://t.co/lDCS6SiKzG— Joe Gabriel Simonson (@SaysSimonson) January 14, 2023
Kind of think that the moment the DOJ assigns a special counsel is the point when the FBI steps in I don't know...conducts a raid of some sort on his home and tells his lawyers to sit it out.— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) January 14, 2023
Why are we tolerating all of this deference to Biden's attorneys, who seem to be calling all the shots? Why are they qualified to be hunting for classified materials, evidently taken unlawfully by their client, for which some of them may lack the requisite clearances to even view? We know that some of the material in question was marked 'top secret.' Biden's lawyers allegedly found the first documents while clearing out an old office (incidentally, who tasks their attorneys with this sort of thing?), then undertook separate searches, then 'completed' said searches -- before finding out that the subsequent searches weren't quite so complete after all. How is any of this acceptable? Biden's lawyers are, by definition, are looking out for their client's best interests. They will be inclined to present anything and everything in the most favorable conceivable light for the person they represent. These considerations, shall we say, may not completely overlap with the full truth or the public interest. This was all true of Trump, too, by the way. And after an extended battle over documents, the FBI finally showed up. Now that there are special counsels attached to both parallel cases, will someone other than the president's personal representatives step into the role of seeking and gathering relevant, sensitive materials?
I'll leave you with this assessment, which as Brit Hume notes, is particularly notable given Weissmann's pedigree and following among hyper-online 'Resistance' lefties:
The WH keeps digging a hole deeper: they have failed to answer so many questions, which is very strange if this is all an innocent mistake.— Andrew Weissmann 🌻 (@AWeissmann_) January 14, 2023
-Total number of government docs found and precisely where; and what levels of classification?
-Why wasn't this all revealed in Nov/Dec?