USA 2024 Elections Thread
grarpamp at gmail.com
Mon Jan 16 20:55:48 PST 2023
Biden subsequently employed his uncleared private attorneys to
handle document stashes he knew contained classified material,
Biden goes straight to jail...
All The President's Men: Biden's Use Of Lawyers Raises Additional
Concerns Over Handling Classified Material
Below is my column in the New York Post on the curious use of lawyers
by President Joe Biden in the classified document controversy. There
was a clear decision made to rely on his own counsel rather than the
FBI or security officers after the discovery of highly classified
documents in a closet in a private office. The decision clearly brings
greater control and protection for the President, but it can itself be
viewed as additional evidence of gross mishandling of classified
material. In the movie “All The President’s Men,” Woodward chastises
his colleague Bernstein that “I don’t mind what you did; I mind how
you did it.” President Biden may face the same objection in his
decision to use counsel to search for classified material.
Here is the column:
The discovery of a fourth set of classified documents, at the Biden
residence in Delaware, has further undermined the White House’s
virtual mantra that the president “takes classified documents very
Putting aside the repeated movement of highly classified documents
over six years, one curious element has emerged in this scandal: the
use of private counsel.
Not only did President Joe Biden enlist lawyers to clear out his
private Washington office; he then used them — rather than security
officers or the FBI — to search for additional classified documents.
The initial use of lawyers is notable. While it seems a fairly pricey
moving crew, Biden could argue a trove of documents might require a
judgment on where they should be sent and whether they belong to
Biden, the Penn Biden Center or the government.
But why was a legal team sent in six years after Biden took the
documents on leaving as vice president? Were the lawyers specifically
selected because they had clearances, an acknowledgment there might be
classified material unlawfully housed in the office?
After the fourth batch of documents was discovered this week (the
third found in Delaware), Richard Sauber, referred to as the “special
counsel to the president,” stressed that he has a clearance. Sauber
admits the lawyers who found the first batch at the residence didn’t
have clearances but says he found the later documents.
It remains unclear which lawyers were involved in which discoveries,
whether they had clearances and (if so) at what level.
In fact, it seems to suggest Biden continued to use uncleared lawyers
after his team found highly classified documents Nov. 2 in the Penn
Biden office closet in Washington.
That itself could be viewed as gross mishandling of classified information.
It’s strange Biden did not use security officers or the FBI to conduct
further searches. The president has a host of people who regularly
handle classified material. So why use the lawyers?
The answer appears the same as in the case of Hillary Clinton’s
emails: control. Using private counsel allows Biden to raise
attorney-client privilege. Trump also used counsel, but eventually the
FBI raided his home to search and remove not just classified material
but documents found in boxes with that material.
While that attorney-client privilege can be overcome under a
“crime/fraud exception,” it adds a level of initial protection. It
also allowed Biden to control the discovery and initial record of the
discovery of classified information.
The key to any investigation will be the chain of custody extending
back to the documents’ removal in 2017 when Biden left office. How
these documents appeared in their discovered locations is known only
to his lawyers. It’s a link in the chain of custody that Biden
With Mar-a-Lago, the FBI was criticized for staging documents to be
shown in the storage room. The photos were then leaked to an eager
media. There will be no staged photos of documents alongside Time
magazine covers for Biden.
Nor were documents he housed with classified documents removed.
Indeed, it’s not clear if the FBI will know what documents were stored
in the same boxes.
What was potentially lost is significant. Classified documents are
generally supposed to be in folders with a thick, colored border and
large printed classification warnings. Were some of those folders
observable before they were moved? If so, anyone could tell a pile
contained classified material, including the president and passersby.
Likewise, the initial discovery could show the context of surrounding
material. The FBI at Mar-a-Lago carefully photographed that context
and its search. Here, we’re relying on counsel to have kept such a
record when most lawyers would be reluctant to do so given the risk to
The key is that unlike FBI agents, these lawyers are not acting on
behalf of the public interest but for the president’s personal
If there are criminal charges, the key witnesses will be lawyers
representing the president as an individual. They are more likely to
minimize incriminating or embarrassing elements.
And they are themselves under scrutiny. Since they may not have had
sufficient clearances to do this work, it is in their interest to
downplay any expectations or warnings of additional classified
material scattered around Biden’s home or office.
Concern over the use of lawyers has only grown with time. Biden not
only continued to have his lawyers search after the first discovery,
but did so for months through subsequent discoveries.
After finding highly classified material in Biden’s garage Dec. 20,
private counsel — not the FBI — found another document in an adjacent
room Jan 11. Sauber found more classified documents the next day.
Those last two findings followed White House assurances that the
“thorough” search was “completed.” It obviously wasn’t thorough
They raised another question. It would seem unlikely a document with a
proper classified cover could be missed. The folder has thick red or
yellow borders running around the edges and large black
classifications like “TOP SECRET” emblazoned across the top. If that
was missed, the earlier searches were clearly negligent.
Alternatively, and more concerning, the internal documents might have
been removed from the folders and stored without cover. That would
indicate someone removed and reviewed them — an act showing knowledge
of the classified status. If they were removed at Biden’s residence,
he would be the chief suspect in such use.
It would utterly destroy the “inadvertence” defense.
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