Former President Jimmy Carter found once-secret documents in his home that illustrate the persistence of the records control problems now plaguing President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, according to a new report.
Carter found the classified materials at his home in Plains, Georgia, and returned them to the National Archives, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The revelation comes as former Vice President Mike Pence also admitted to uncovering secret records at his home, adding that like Biden, he willingly turned them over after a search he requested.
Carter, a Democrat, left office in 1981, but it’s unclear when the classified documents were discovered and delivered to his home.
President Jimmy Carter is seen on his last day in office, a hectic period marked by negotiations to resolve Iran’s hostage crisis
Sometime after leaving office, Carter reportedly found the classified materials at his home in Plains, Georgia (above) and returned them to the National Archives
A spokesman for the Carter Center did not immediately respond to a request for comment from after hours on Wednesday.
Carter himself signed the Presidential Records Act into law in 1978 – however, it did not apply to his administration’s records and only came into effect years later when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.
Before Reagan, the president’s records were generally considered the president’s private property.
Nonetheless, Carter invited federal archivists to assist his White House in organizing his records in preparation for eventual preservation in his Georgia Presidential Library.
The reported discovery of classified documents would have occurred at the Carter family home at 209 Woodland Drive — which was built in 1960 by Carter and his wife Rosalynn and is the only home the couple has ever owned.
January 19, 1981 was the last full day of Carter’s only term in the White House and was marked by hectic activity as his administration completed eleven hours of negotiations to resolve the Iran hostage crisis.
The fact that Carter, who is now 98, apparently accidentally took classified documents home to Georgia decades ago, only serves to illustrate the long-standing problems surrounding the control and handling of such records at the highest level to illustrate
The reported discovery of classified documents would have taken place at the Carter family home at 209 Woodland Drive, the only home Carter and his wife Rosalynn (right) ever owned
The 52 Americans were freed by Reagan’s administration in the first few hours the next day, but Carter stayed up all night as reports of the final negotiations rolled in.
“As Carter waited all night in the Oval Office Monday for news, officials in the White House family quarters packed up the last of the Carters’ belongings,” according to a Washington Post report at the time.
“In the parking lot outside, workers were busy loading file cabinets onto moving trucks late into the night. Around the west wing, staff and secretaries were clearing out their drawers (one found an “urgent” memo she lost three years ago) and taking down pictures,” she added.
The fact that Carter, now 98, apparently inadvertently took classified documents home to Georgia decades ago, only serves to illustrate the long-standing problems surrounding the control and handling of such records at the highest levels .
The question took on new meaning in August when an FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home found more than 100 classified documents that had been refused return to the National Archives.
About a dozen classified documents were found at Mike Pence’s Indiana home
Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump (right) are both under investigation by special counsel for their handling of classified information
Then, earlier this month, it emerged that Biden discovered and turned over classified documents found at his think tank at the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 2 ahead of the midterm elections.
A handful of other classified documents, also related to Biden’s tenure as vice president in the Obama administration, were found this month in subsequent searches at Biden’s Delaware home.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed special counsel to investigate both Trump and Biden over classified information.
Then, on Tuesday, Pence’s attorney revealed that documents with secret markings were discovered at his Indiana home last week.
George W. Bush’s office said he turned over all classified documents upon leaving the White House, and Barack Obama’s spokesman declined to comment on whether any searches for such material were underway.
Some legal experts have now concluded that Biden’s clumsy handling of the classified material could complicate the charge against Trump — though the cases appear to vary widely.
Biden and his team alerted the Justice Department to the existence of the files and turned them over while Trump spent months arguing about the circumstances of his own papers.
Pictured are some of the secret documents found in Mar-a-Lago after the August 8 raid
“Politically, it effectively stopped former President Donald J. Trump from hoarding classified papers,” wrote Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times.
David Axelrod, a former senior Obama adviser, told Baker that while Trump’s and Biden’s actions were dramatically different, “in the court of public opinion” they could be considered the same.
Trump is using the moment to downplay his own behavior and insisting he is being treated unfairly, telling supporters at a rally last week that he was “stalked” by a “Trump-disturbed” special prosecutor – while Biden “knows.” is made”. glove treatment.’
The latest poll shows American voters believe both Biden and Trump are to blame — though most admit Trump’s actions were more outrageous.
Among those polled by ABC News and Ipsos, 77 percent said Trump acted improperly when handling classified documents, and 64 percent said Biden did so.