Three wrongs do not make a right. Former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden and now former Vice President Mike Pence have some explaining to do.
Why did Biden, when he was vice president, take classified documents and put them in an office and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware? It’s obvious he stored those papers or someone close to him did. If they’d been “planted” there by detractors, Biden by now would have expressed astonishment that they were there on his property. Will more documents be found squirreled away somewhere? And what are the documents about? Twenty pages have been found so far, as of late-January. Will there be more stashed records discovered?
Questions still linger about why the knowledge about records in Biden’s possession was not revealed right after they were first discovered several months ago. We are told Biden aides first found the documents when they were cleaning out an office he used after he was vice president. The aides returned the papers to the National Archives, as they did the ones later found at his home.
When he left the White House, Donald Trump had his movers haul away many boxes of sensitive papers (some of them top-secret). He tucked them away here and there at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. When it was learned he had them in his possession, he refused to give them up, which led to a search of his home by FBI agents who found many boxes of documents. Later, still more boxes, more papers were found. Trump ridiculously claimed he himself had “de-classified” the sensitive documents by his very own thought process. But thinking doesn’t make it so.
Both men allegedly broke the law, and both should be held accountable. It makes one wonder how many other presidents or officials in the inner sanctums of power helped themselves to top-secret printed information crucial to national security.
Congressional Republicans had better think twice before they gleefully chortle and express finger-pointing outrage about Biden being caught with documents. They should be careful what they wish for – revenge against Biden, that upstart who won the presidency. They have dismissed or minimized Trump’s hoarding of papers that legally belong in one place and one place only – the National Archives/National Records Administration. Many Republicans blasted the FBI for raiding Trump’s estate to find and confiscate the stolen papers. Some Republican Congress members proclaimed it was just part of a never-ending “witch hunt” to shame and discredit Trump and an effort to keep him from running again for the presidency.
But now, of course, the hypocrites are singing a different tune, castigating Biden as a law-breaking thief, ignoring completely their enabling behavior about Trump’s thefts. However, Biden seems to have also “earned” the title of hypocrite because it was he, Biden, who soundly condemned Trump for his stash of documents when they were first discovered.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The investigations by special counsels in both cases should continue swiftly, and let the chips fall where they may for both Biden and for Trump.
In the meantime, the U.S. Congress should work to reinforce the laws about sensitive and/or top-secret documents, how they are stored, how they are handled and who gets access to them.
It is hard to fathom how so many papers were scattered here and there in so many rooms in the White House. Where were the custodians of the documents? They apparently did not keep a record, a check list, and then make certain that every document was accounted for and promptly returned to the proper archives under lock and key. Whoever they are, those information custodians, too, should be held accountable, along with those who recklessly handled the papers and/or took them from the premises.
Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time (if it hasn’t happened already) that enemies of the United States will use that kind of top-secret information for their own benefit, to the detriment of this nation.