Months of investigation of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s residence in Mar-a-Lago has the matter still unresolved and tangled in court, where legal motions are made weekly in what has become a criminal probe by the Justice Department.
Now there’s a new twist: Classified documents from the Obama White House were found in a private office of President Joe Biden’s Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, where Biden kept office hours as part of his honorary professorship with the University of Pennsylvania between 2017 and 2019.
According to mainstream media reports, Biden’s attorneys have acknowledged the existence of the classified documents and said they came across them while they were closing out his office in at the foundation. They reported the files to the National Archives in November. The news of the files was first reported by CBS on Monday, but has been picked up by other news organizations, although none has described the contents of the files, nor provided much detail.
The Department of Justice is investigating Trump for his handling of classified information, although Trump claimed that presidents can declassify documents at will.
No such declassification authority is granted to vice presidents, however, unless they are acting in the performance of executive duties, which will put the Justice Department lawyers in an awkward spot with the sitting president, who had no such executive authorities under President Obama. It’s unclear how Biden came to possess the documents or how he may have removed them from federal property.
Mainstream media has ignored that difference and instead has focused on how the number of classified documents in Biden’s closet were relatively small compared to the amount that were stored at Mar-a-Lago.