This week’s revelation that multiple classified documents were found to be in President Joe Biden‘s personal possession on multiple occasions is “suspicious” to a veteran lawmaker and ranking member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson expressed skepticism after U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday appointed a special counsel to investigate the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s former personal office in Washington as well as his home in Delaware.
Biden reportedly had access to the documents when he was vice president but said this week that he was “surprised” they were found both in early November and last month. Garland said Biden’s attorneys told the Department of Justice only this week about the latest batch of classified documents being found in Biden’s home garage.
Johnson said he was “open” to an investigation but questioned “the timing” of the documents’ discoveries being made public and suggested without proof that there could be a more nefarious plot at play.
Referring to “alleged classified documents showing up allegedly in the possession of Joseph Biden,” Johnson said he was in favor of an investigation. But, he cautioned, he urged “everything to be investigated,” implying that the probe should extend beyond the president.
“I’m suspicious of the timing of it,” Johnson is shown on a video telling a reporter on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before taking his suspicions a step further.
“I’m also aware of the fact that things can be planted on people,” he added before continuing. Things can be planted in places and then discovered conveniently. That may be what occurred here. I’m not ruling that out.”
To suggest that Biden could be the victim of political sabotage isn’t such a far-fetched theory, considering Republicans were willing to incite violence under false pretenses at the U.S. Capitol in 2021 in an effort to prevent the certification of his legitimate presidency.
In fact, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds last week vowed that House Republicans are already taking steps to impeach Biden.
However, there is no immediate proof that Biden was set up.
Johnson elaborated on his opinion in an official statement he released later on Thursday.
“It is refreshing to see the Department of Justice restored from its politicization during the Trump years, and I applaud Attorney General Garland for acting swiftly in appointing a special counsel to investigate the Biden document discoveries,” Johnson said before saying all the facts haven’t come out about the documents found in Biden’s office and home.
“There remains much we don’t know about the Biden document discoveries, and it’s too early to reach any conclusions,” Johnson added. “I am confident, however, that the process has begun to ensure that we get to the truth, and that justice will be done.”
The special counsel who Garland named — Robert Hur — was nominated by former President Donald Trump, who notably was also found in possession of classified documents after leaving the White House.
The key difference between both situations is that Biden appears to be cooperating with officials while Trump resisted calls to return classified documents to the National Archives, prompting an FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to retrieve them. Another difference is the number of classified documents, as officials have said Biden had “a small number” of them compared to the estimated hundreds of documents recovered from Trump months after he was asked to return them.
In his statement, Johnson drew a sharp contrast between both situations.
“Based on what we know, there is a big difference between the Trump and Biden document cases,” Johnson said. “At first, Trump lied about their very existence, while his lawyers asserted that there were no more documents. When Trump finally admitted that he knowingly took and possessed the classified documents, he refused numerous requests to return them. He even failed to comply with a subpoena. Classified documents were actually seized from Trump’s own desk. Moreover, there is no documentation supporting any claim that any of the Trump documents were declassified. The Trump document case is an open and shut case and should proceed without delay to a final and just resolution.”
Indeed, the timing of the latest discovery and publicity of the documents have come just as it is anticipated that Biden will formally announce his plans to run for reelection next year. In addition, the reports about the classified documents came as it was reported that Biden was enjoying the highest approval rating in more than a year.
Conservatives have responded in part to Johnson’s assertions and tried to discredit him by pointing to his comments from 2010 before a House Armed Services Committee about the possibility that Guam might “become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”
However, based on the modern history of the Republican Party, completely ruling out the prospects of a disingenuous partisan attack on Biden ahead of a presidential election would be foolhardy, at best. Pointing to Johnson’s comments from more than a decade ago suggest an effort to deflect from the Congressman’s credible assertions that more may be at play than meets the eye.
This is America.