By Kean Huy Alado
The FBI began investigating President Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware on Jan. 23 following the discovery of classified government files in his home and private office. The agency found files dating back to his time representing Delaware from 1973 to 2009 and his time as vice president during the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017.
"We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” President Biden told reporters on Jan. 19, when he was pressed on his possession of the classified documents.
Biden appears to insist that the most recent retention of classified documents was a mistake and is, “cooperating fully and completely” with the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve the issues quickly.
The first offense occurred last year in November, where officers from the DOJ identified a smaller quantity of documents in Biden’s think tank private office in Washington D.C. The next month, they would locate some more classified documents in President Biden’s garage in his Wilmington abode. This led Attorney General Merrick Garland to procure a special counsel in charge of investigating the current 46th president’s possession of classified documents.
The possession of classified documents is also a violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA), administered by Congress, which requires presidents and vice presidents to return government documents to the National Archives after they leave office. For Biden, the repeated offenses humiliated him and proved to be ironic, especially after taking a definitive stance against former President Trump for a similar offense, questioning how, “that could possibly happen” and how “anyone could be that irresponsible.”
The former president, Donald J. Trump, is currently under criminal investigation by another special counsel for the retention of over 300 hundred classified documents last August which were taken from the White House when he left office. The documents were found in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, which placed him under potential consideration for an obstruction of justice charge.
Additionally, Mike Pence, the vice president under Trump’s time in office, was also found with roughly 12 classified documents in his Indiana home. These documents contained briefing information on Pence’s foreign travels and major classification similarities from both Trump’s DOJ investigation and the recent investigation into President Biden.
This poses many questions about the authenticity of the leading politicians in the U.S. Despite this, Biden posed a more cooperative stance to the DOJ investigations maintaining that he “volunteered to open every single aperture” to turn over the classified documents.
Dr. Leah Blumenfeld, professor of political science, pointed out that these scandals, “sparked certainly a lot of debate and discussion and finger pointing,” demonstrating that the inappropriate retention of classified information calls forward dubiety and hypocrisy.
The withholding of classified documentation reduces the operating capacities of the government and creates imbalances of power for certain individuals over the good of the general population. These documents could be influential in resolving issues around the U.S. and would constitute a rightful charge of obstruction of justice toward the offender.
“It's almost arrogant that they think that they can get away with that,” said sophomore photography major Jan Tajnic. “You choose [authority] for your own power trip.”