Given the manner in which the Biden administration has gone after former President Donald Trump for retaining allegedly classified documents after leaving the White House, it was rather ironically revealed that President Joe Biden apparently did something quite similar following his stint as vice president that ended in 2017.
After it was revealed Monday that Biden has kept classified documents inappropriately stored in a Washington D.C. office space, many Republicans are demanding that he be held to the same standard as his predecessor, including FBI raids, a criminal investigation, and even the empaneling of a grand jury, the Conservative Brief reported.
Trump, of course, was subjected to grand jury subpoenas and an unprecedented FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence last August to recover presidential records that weren’t turned over to the National Archives, including some purportedly marked as classified, and now faces another special counsel investigation and potential criminal charges.
Where are the grand jury and FBI raid?
It was initially reported on Monday by CBS News that personal attorneys for President Biden had discovered a cache of official government records that included classified documents in early November in a locked closet of a D.C. office at the Penn Biden Center that Biden had used before he was elected as president.
Per Biden attorney Richard Sauber, the documents were found on November 2 amid boxes of files that were being packed up to be moved to another location, and they were immediately turned over to the National Archives — as they should have been by law back when Biden first left office in 2017.
In response to that initial report, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to Twitter and simply wrote, “Convene a grand jury.”
Likewise, former President Trump shared the same CBS News report on his Truth Social account and said, “When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House? These documents were definitely not declassified.”
U.S. attorney and FBI to investigate
While it is unknown if a grand jury has been empaneled and FBI raids are being prepared in this matter yet or not, CBS News did report in an update to its article that Attorney General Merrick Garland had assigned U.S. Attorney John Lausch of the Northern District of Illinois, with assistance from the FBI, to conduct a preliminary investigation of the matter.
Lausch, one of just two remaining holdovers in the Justice Department from the Trump administration, will reportedly seek to figure out how and why the classified documents ended up at the Penn Biden Center and not the National Archives, as well as whether any further investigation, potentially under another appointed special counsel, is determined to be necessary.
Despite an immediate insistence from President Biden’s defenders that this was an isolated and minor incident that in no way compared to what Trump had done, additional reports on the issue seem to indicate otherwise and suggest that a grand jury, FBI raids, and special counsel probe may indeed be necessary.
More classified documents have been found
NBC News reported Wednesday that at least one additional batch of classified documents had been found in a separate but undisclosed location as part of a quiet but “exhaustive” search by Biden aides to try and find out if any other Obama-era government records, including those marked as classified, had been inappropriately retained and stored in other places that Biden has used over the years.
It remains unclear at this point, however, where those additional classified documents were found, how many there are, what level of classification they held, if any other batches have been found but not yet revealed, and if the search for additional documents is ongoing or has already concluded.
To be sure, Biden’s defenders will continue to try to downplay these revelations and spin them as no big deal and vastly different from what Trump is accused of having done.
That said, it is just as certain that congressional Republicans will do their best to try and ensure that Biden is held to the exact same standard that was applied to Trump for the same thing — failure to turn over official government and presidential records, particularly those marked as classified, to the National Archives upon exit from the White House.