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Tipsheet

Retiring Democratic Senator: Biden's Handling of Classified Docs Is 'Certainly Embarrassing'

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

As Matt has been pointing out, even Democrats are less than thrilled with how President Joe Biden has handled classified documents, especially when it comes to the lack of transparency. There's been serious hypocrisy regarding how Biden criticized former and potentially future President Donald Trump's handling of documents. Even when it comes to those who would still defend the president and his administration, like retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), there are admissions these folks must make as well. During Sunday's edition of "Meet the Press," Sen. Stabenow was forced to acknowledge that the current president's conduct has been "certainly embarrassing." 

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While the senator did make such an admission, it wasn't before she tried to go with the Biden administration's narrative – an insincere and unbelievable one – that the matter is being handled correctly.

"And so President Biden bringing things forward, they found a small number of documents. They want to make sure there aren't more. They take it very, very seriously. And they're talking to all of the right people," Stabenow said, attempting to dismiss the matter.

Given the timeline of how the documents were discovered on November 2 – just days before the midterm elections where Democrats performed better than expected – and that news did not break until last week, it's hard to believe the Biden administration is indeed "tak[ing] it very, very seriously." Further, news broke over the weekend that there were even more documents discovered, despite White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying on Thursday that the search was "complete."

"They're not going to defy subpoenas or require FBI raids to be able to get the documents. The president isn't saying that somehow magically when he thinks about classified documents that he can declassify them. I mean, it's totally different right now," Stabenow said in contrast to the situation with Trump. "Both serious in terms of having classified documents. But the president is doing the right thing."

In response, host Chuck Todd brought up Biden's own words, asking, "Are those words he has to eat?" given that he threw his predecessor under the bus. In an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" last September, Biden called Trump's handling of documents "irresponsible."

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It was then that Stabenow had to concede "it's certainly embarrassing," though she still went on to bend over backward to defend the Biden administration, adding, "I mean, it's embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents, certainly not on purpose."

Stabenow went on to offer that "they don't think it's the right thing and they have been moving to correct it, working with the Department of Justice, working with everyone involved with the archives. And so from my perspective, you know, it's one of those moments that obviously they wish hadn't happened."

The retiring senator also mentioned what she's really concerned about, which isn't how Biden, who was the vice president, not the president, handled classified documents. She spoke about how "this is the kind of thing that the Republicans love," when it comes to their investigations, and how they want to "create chaos," a place where she went on to claim is "where the Republicans feel comfortable, unfortunately."

Stabenow went on to sing what she saw as the praises of the Biden administration, as if that exonerates the president's irresponsible handling of classified documents and his hypocrisy. "Let's not talk about the fact that we have a manufacturing renaissance going on in this country. More jobs created, lower unemployment rate, higher wages. And what they're proposing to do that would interfere with that would really put us on the edge economically. They don't want to talk with us about how to move the country forward," she pivoted.

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Sen. Stabenow made headlines earlier this month when she became the first Democrat to announce she will be retiring ahead of 2024, which is looking to be a particularly difficult map for her party.

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