Really? They don’t seem terribly keen on acknowledging the obvious in public. Even after the new revelations that Joe Biden did everything but hold a garage sale while illegally keeping highly classified documents next to his Corvette, Democrats and their media allies kept flogging the narrative that Donald Trump’s mishandling and purloining of documents constituted a far graver crisis.
Privately, though, reality began to dawn on them after Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel yesterday. Politico also sticks to the storyNonetheless, reports about disillusionment are spreading rapidly through the ranks of Democrats, even if they remain quiet:
Both cases are quite different. But some Democrats privately concede that their coexistence gives the president’s critics a chance to denounce him as negligent, hypocritical or careless right at a time when things were moving Biden’s way.
“I think it takes the whole Trump scandal off the table,” One Democratic Party operative spoke freely about the delicate situation surrounding the president, granting anonymity.
“Most polls show that voters don’t give a fuck about this stuff,” They added. “But the media momentum is real.”
Representative Democrats have rallied around the president with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffreys telling reporters that he had. “full faith and credit in President Biden” on the matter of documents. Jeffries said that Biden was speaking for Jeffries. “is doing everything to take appropriate steps and how to move forward in a responsible fashion.”
But Capitol Hill Democrats have called for briefings and more information surrounding the former vice president’s document storage. Some are starting to worry privately that the ordeal could distract from their collective priorities. It could also help to validate GOP investigations they dismiss to be politically motivated headaches.
Both cases are not the same. That Much “markedly different,” Biden does not benefit from all the differences. Both cases consist of the same underlying crime — violations of the Espionage Act by unauthorized possession and unsecure storage of classified material. We stressed that. ad nauseam The Hillary Clinton case would have seen regular government employees and contractors doing what these three politicians did get prosecuted and ruined.
Trump did more harm than good by fighting for control of the material. This put him at risk of being charged with obstruction. After months of struggle for the material and an honest accounting, the FBI raid was the result. It was all at one place, though, which had some Secret Service security, but still not sufficient for classified material storage. Biden’s retained documents were stored completely out in the open at the Penn Center, and then in the least secure part of his house in Wilmington — his garage. Furthermore, Biden had these documents for six years after he left office as VP, and it’s not even clear that he had a need to access the materials in the first place connected to his position. Presidents have plenary access to classified material, but that’s not necessarily the case for VPs.
And let’s not forget that Trump disputes the classification status of the materials he retained — rightly or wrongly. The President also has the plenary authority of declassifying material, but that must include more than just his name. Think them into declassified status. Joe Biden has admitted to the crime. as Andrew McCarthy explained late last night:
Amazing was the reaction to Richard Sauber’s appointment as special counsel, which is the lawyer Biden brought to the White House to assist with investigations. He claimed that the president was positive that the special-counsel investigation would discover that the documents in question had been authenticated. “inadvertently misplaced.”
That’s not a defense to a charge of mishandling classified information. This is equivalent to admitting guilt. Federal law requires that prosecutors prove the defendant was grossly negligent to be convicted. The accused does not need to prove that he tried to harm the United States. It suffices that he was trusted to provide classified information and that he knowingly violated standards for protecting that information.
It appears that Biden does not dispute that the documents were classified and that the locations where they were kept were not authorized. He also failed to keep track. It is not necessary to conduct an investigation if all elements of the offense have been established.
It is not surprising that sufficiency in evidence is just one of two questions that prosecutors must ask before charging someone for a crime. The second question is whether or not an indictment of the accused is in the public’s interest, even though the person may be technically guilty.
It appears, then, that Biden’s approach will be to avoid discussing the slam-dunk evidence and spin the equities of prosecutorial discretion to his advantage. He’ll say that the number of documents was comparatively small, that he self-reported the violation as soon as it was discovered, that he immediately turned the documents over to the national archives, and that he cooperated fully with the investigation.
This is the Hillary Clinton precedent. “intent” These statutes had never been the fulcrum for a prosecution decision. Biden likely hoped that Garland would do for Clinton what Loretta Lynch did for Clinton, creating an obligation for intent without a statutory basis and declining to pursue the case. Robert Hur was instead given the case by Garland after James Lausch, the US attorney, acknowledged that all elements of a criminal investigation were present.
Let’s not forget the “media momentum”? To be disappointed by the manner in which many media outlets circling the wagons yesterday, gloomy Democrats would need to be quite spoiled in media sense. Every single report insisted on emphasizing that Biden’s alleged crimes didn’t compare to Trump’s, and highlighted the political angles rather than the legal stupidity and potential corruption aspects of Biden’s actions in holding these classified documents illegally for six years. There were a few exceptions — CNN’s coverage yesterday was more detached — but even today, most of the coverage of Biden’s scandal is of the Republicans pounce!® Variety, this piece from Politico included.