President Joe Biden and top White House officials tried to keep the U.S. from learning about Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, thinking they could get away with it.
According to a report from the New York Times, Biden’s lawyers found the first batch of documents on November 2 at the Penn Biden Center, Biden’s Washington, D.C., think tank.
The NYT said that rather than coming clean, an idea that did “not seem to have been seriously considered,” the group quietly contacted the National Archives, which is responsible for keeping presidential and vice presidential records.
The NARA then referred it to the Department of Justice two days later.
“The decision … to keep the discovery of classified documents secret from the public and even most of the White House staff for 68 days was driven by what turned out to be a futile hope that the incident could be quietly disposed of without broader implications for Mr. Biden or his presidency,” the NYT reported.
After lawyers conducted additional searches, more troves of documents were found on Dec. 20, Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 at Biden’s Delaware home.
The Times said that Biden’s team tried to defend not only the discovery of the documents, but their attempt to cover it up by arguing that finding classified documents after a Vice President or President leaves office is not an unusual event. Additionally, they argued that making the discovery public would only draw unwanted and unnecessary attention.
According to the NYT, Biden’s advisors reportedly knew about the classified documents six days ahead of the midterm elections. However, they decided to “gamble” on keeping the revelations hidden until the new year.
The Biden Administration reportedly hoped that the DOJ would find the incident as “little more than a minor, good-faith mistake.”
Once the discovery was made public, Biden’s team made it seem that they were fully cooperating by handing over the documents as soon as they were found.
However, the NYT reported that that “bet seems to have backfired.”
The NYT said that this event has “cemented the impression that Mr. Biden had not been forthcoming.”
Earlier this week, Biden expressed no remorse after the debacle has folded out after a reported questioned him on it.
“I have no regrets. I’m following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do,” Biden said, adding, “that’s exactly what we’re doing. There’s no there, there.”