Over the past few weeks, revelations that classified government documents were found at President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and in a private office of his in Washington D.C., have raised questions about Biden’s handling of classified documents that many have compared to the infamous FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last August. There are differences between each case, but politically it is a blow to Biden and serves as a gift to Republicans, who will use the ongoing investigations to paint Biden as incompetent and reckless with classified materials.
The chief differences between Biden and Trump center around their cooperation with their respective investigations, and in their willingness to return documents. Trump notoriously did not cooperate with the National Archives’ and Justice Department’s requests to return documents that he kept during his presidency, hundreds of which were classified, with some involving sensitive national security information. Biden and his lawyers did turn over classified materials when they were found and cooperated with an FBI investigation into his Wilmington home on Jan. 20, though questions have been raised as to how documents that span from back to his time as Vice President and as a Senator made their way into his possession. The first batch of classified documents was first found back in early November, also raising questions on why the public didn’t learn about it until January of this year.
All in all, roughly 20 documents were turned over to the National Archives, and the FBI found an additional six on Jan. 20. U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate “possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents” on Jan. 12. Both Biden and Trump’s investigations are now being investigated by a special counsel. The Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee opened an investigation the next day.
If nothing else, Biden will likely lose a crucial attack against Trump of his mishandling of classified material — a thorn in Trump’s side that has contributed to his lackluster 2024 campaign. It’s unclear just how much this will blur the lines, or even influence the investigation against Trump, as the duration of each investigation is currently unclear. Biden has not formally announced whether he is running for reelection in 2024 or not, and recent revelations about these documents has the potential to push back such an announcement.
Meanwhile, a deadline to once again increase the debt ceiling is looming, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stating that Congress would need to act to increase the debt ceiling by June. Democrats and Republicans are virtually guaranteed to have a contentious debate over the process, as Republicans will advocate for spending cuts that the Biden White House will declare a non-starter. It should be noted that Republicans voted to increase the debt ceiling three times under Trump’s presidency.