Updated on 01/17/2023 11:57 am
- More classified documents were found on Joe Biden.
- The US Attorney General appointed a special attorney.
- These incidents could have an impact on the Democrats’ electoral chances.
“The discovery of the files is embarrassing because last year Biden sharply criticized Trump for privately storing government files,” said Dominik Tolksdorf of the German Council on Foreign Relations. “And one of Biden’s pledges is to act more responsibly than Trump as president.” The central question here is why the discovery of the archives has just become known.
Just a few weeks ago it became known that files from the time of Joe Biden’s vice presidency had already been found in November and December of last year. The documents date from a time when the current US president was President Obama’s deputy from 2009 to 2017. Now, another six pages have emerged, said the US president’s legal adviser, Richard Sauber. Originally, Biden’s lawyers had only found a new location on his property. However, as the lawyers did not have security clearance, legal counsel was consulted. This then came through the other pages.
Nothing is known about the contents so far. Individual documents still had the highest level of confidentiality as reported by dpa. Biden himself said he was surprised that such documents were found on him. The Biden administration has already appointed a special investigator to investigate the incidents. In fact, such documents must be transferred to the National Archives of the United States once a person resigns from public office.
Republicans Want to Handle Incidents in Congress
Tolksdorf points out that if the case had come up before the midterm elections, it would have played into the hands of the Republicans. The expert recalls the “email scandal” surrounding Hillary Clinton before the 2016 elections. The former Secretary of State used private email accounts during her administration. Republicans played that case against them during Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Many Republicans in particular look to what they found in Joe Biden’s files. After all, it helps them deflect attention away from the files found on former President Donald Trump. Controversy over these events has only just begun in Washington. “For Republicans, the appointment of a special attorney is not enough; a congressional investigation is also needed,” says Tolksdorf.
This could cause the case to remain in the public eye for months. In addition, the expert suspects, Republicans would try to expand the investigation to include Biden’s son. Republicans have long wanted to subject Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business dealings to a public investigation.
Until now, secret documents mistakenly stored privately have only been linked to Trump. The FBI searched his Florida home last year. Some Democrats now worry that events surrounding Biden could turn against Democrats and divert attention from the scandals surrounding Donald Trump. But Tolksdorf is more cautious in assessing: “The big difference is that Trump resisted releasing files to the National Archives. According to Biden, it was an oversight and he emphasized that he was working with the authorities in processing the case works together.”
Document findings fuel debate over Biden’s renewed candidacy
It remains to be seen how this development will continue. “As long as Biden makes it credible that the files were inadvertently stored with him, I don’t think the case will be dangerous to his presidency. even as the documents found became known, there were debates in the US and also within Democrats whether Joe Biden would be the right candidate for another candidacy due to his advanced age.
Democratic election campaign strategists, in particular, must now work even harder to ensure that these events do not affect the next election campaign. “Biden’s credibility suffers most of all from the case,” says Tolksdorf. “However, I believe that for the majority of voters – and especially swing voters – in just under two years it will matter above all whether there has been a rise under a democratic administration.”
The Biden administration has enacted several laws to reduce inflation, expand infrastructure, and improve the job market. If those laws take effect and the US is in good economic shape by the fall of 2024, the election chances for Democrats would improve, Tolksdorf says. “So this scandal will no longer play a major role.” But the expert adds a condition: “It must not expand further”.
- Conversation with Dominik Tolksdorf, Research Fellow at the German Society for Foreign Affairs with the US Department/Transatlantic Relations
- tagesschau.de: Secret documents in Biden’s house: “The government was not transparent”