If the entire news media, plus Biden’s vindictive Justice Department, hadn’t put the country through months of insanity over the petty “confidential documents” drama at Mar-a-Lago, Biden’s own scandal of having illegally retained government material when he was a private citizen would be a pretty boring affair.
But they didn’t. They decided to get cute and make this a criminal matter. Now they get the same treatment.
Wait! they claim in unison. This is different! Biden did the right thing and Trump did the wrong thing!
Admittedly, that’s a totally fair and obvious point when you start with the assumption that over the six years Biden was in wrongful possession of government secrets, the material just sat there, untouched and unread (and make the concurrent assumption that the same wasn’t true of the Trump documents). They simply gathered dust, month by month, sound asleep in office drawers and garage boxes, forgotten by Biden, time, and the federal bureaucracy. Then, when one fateful day Biden’s lawyers happened upon the documents, they immediately dialed the National Archives for a swift transfer to the proper authorities.
That’s the entire premise of longtime Washington, D.C., journalist Garrett Graff’s essay this week in The New York Times: Biden says he did nothing wrong, and anyway, he immediately handed over all the materials that he possessed (but definitely never looked at) for six years!
“Mr. Biden’s scandal so far feels more like an administrative error; there’s no evidence he even knew the documents were misplaced or in his possession, and when discovered they were promptly and properly returned to authorities,” wrote Graff. “The government didn’t know they were missing (which itself is a bit of a mystery, since classified documents are usually tightly controlled, which is how the National Archives knew Mr. Trump had missing documents in the first place), and Mr. Biden didn’t try to hold onto them in the face of a legal process ordering otherwise.”
See?! Biden had no problems turning over the documents he’d been sitting on, doing absolutely nothing with, for six years! Besides, the government didn’t even know they were missing! No harm, no foul!
That version of events doesn’t do what Graff, Washington’s least interesting writer, thinks it does. He thinks it portrays Biden as an innocent hoarder who didn’t realize the things in his possession were not his to have. What it does is prove what right-wingers have been saying all along: that Donald Trump (along with what he represents) is the subject of a political persecution, that the rules don’t apply to everyone, and that the media are every bit a part of the corruption.
Missing classified documents are only a problem when a president that the bureaucracy doesn’t like has them. If they like you, hold onto them — for six years, even! Meanwhile, Trump was in possession of what he purportedly believes is his property and it took far less time for the FBI to decide to raid his private residence to get it back.
As for the presumption of innocence — that’s reserved for people whom Graff and Washington like. Biden says he never used the government secrets while he was a private citizen. He didn’t even know he had them.
What’s that you say? Biden’s son Hunter regularly rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars doing business with foreign governments? Totally unrelated! Besides, like Biden said, he didn’t know he had the classified documents!
When you start with the assumption that Biden is innocent because he says he’s innocent, and because he turned over classified material after six years without hesitation, it’s very easy to see the difference between one person illegally retaining classified government material, and another person doing the exact same thing.