Merrick Garland kept FBI out of Biden document search

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Biden documents story is a doozy.

Not because it happened. As I said yesterday, I think both the Trump and Biden classified document stories are nothingburgers. Maybe they shouldn’t be, but if either man wanted to compromise national security, they could do it without the aid of stolen documents. Both are egotistical careless men who, due to their positions, can get away with stuff like this.

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So it goes.

But the Biden documents story does huge political damage to the BS charges they were trying to get Trump on, and as such it is a huge embarrassment to Team Democrat. The hypocrisy is glaringly obvious and impossible to ignore, however much MSNBC and the Democrats want you to.

And the hypocrisy gets worse by the minute. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, while the FBI sent dozens of armed agents to raid Mar a Lago, apparently AG Garland decided to send not a one to help search for documents at any of the locations Biden was stashing his.

And yes, it was a decision. They considered it, but somehow decided that sending actual law enforcement agents to oversee the search would “compromise” the investigation.

Uh, what? How, exactly? Normally you would think the opposite, right? Best to have a law enforcement guy there for chain of custody. If a crime is being investigated, you don’t usually ask the guy being investigated (or his lawyers) to pull a “scouts’ honor” maneuver.

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WASHINGTON—The Justice Department considered having FBI agents monitor a search by President Biden’s lawyers for classified documents at his homes but decided against it, both to avoid complicating later stages of the investigation and because Mr. Biden’s attorneys had quickly turned over a first batch and were cooperating, according to people familiar with the matter.

After Mr. Biden’s lawyers discovered documents marked as classified dating from his term as vice president at an office he used at a Washington-based think tank on Nov. 2, the Justice Department opened an inquiry into why and how they got there. Mr. Biden’s legal team prepared to search his other properties for any similar documents, and discussed with the Justice Department the prospect of having FBI agents present while Mr. Biden’s lawyers conducted the additional searches.

Instead, the two sides agreed that Mr. Biden’s personal attorneys would inspect the homes, notify the Justice Department as soon as they identified any other potentially classified records, and arrange for law-enforcement authorities to take them. 

Those deliberations, which haven’t previously been reported, shed new light on how the Biden team’s efforts to cooperate with investigators have thus far helped it avoid more aggressive actions by law enforcement.

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Wow, that last paragraph is a doozy. That is quite a leap. A normal person would just look at that and assume that the Biden team got such cushy treatment because Biden is Garland’s boss. But no, it was because Garland was just impressed at how transparent the Biden team was so, ah shucks, why not trust them?

Mr. Trump’s supporters have accused the Justice Department of a double standard in treatment; Mr. Biden’s supporters have pointed to the president’s legal team’s cooperation and swift moves to inform the Justice Department of the documents’ discovery as a key difference. Mr. Biden has said he doesn’t know what the documents are or how they wound up at his office at the Penn Biden Center or his Delaware home. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was director of the Washington think tank from 2017 to 2019, told reporters on Tuesday that he was unaware that government documents had been stored there.

Now of course Democrats in this orbit do have a long track record of taking good care of classified documents. Hillary Clinton, for instance, had Blinken’s job during the Obama Administration and was famously careful with classified records, and famously cooperative with investigators. So with a track record like this from Obama Administration alums it is easy to see why the FBI would have no interest in ensuring that everything was on the up and up, and that nobody was vetting the documents to ensure that nothing untoward happened to anything embarrassing.

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The discussions and the Justice Department’s willingness to let the Biden lawyers do the searches unsupervised also suggest federal investigators are girding for a monthslong inquiry that could stretch well into Mr. Biden’s third year in office.

One reason not to involve the FBI at an early stage: That way the Justice Department would preserve the ability to take a tougher line, including executing a future search warrant, if negotiations ever turned hostile, current and former law-enforcement officials said.

How can you read that without laughing out loud? We won’t involve the FBI now so we can…involve them later if we want to? Yeah, no. Not even remotely plausible. Doesn’t even make a lick of sense. “We are protecting the integrity of the case by allowing the investigated to run it” is something you rarely hear from FBI agents, I think. This was about not pissing off the boss, period.

Look, I have no real idea what is going on behind the scenes here, but the spin being put out here is beyond laughable.

Somebody wants to embarrass Biden, so this leaks after being withheld for months or longer. Others want to protect Biden, so they soft pedal it all. I am getting whiplash, trying to make sense of it all, and I almost feel bad for the folks at MSNBC who were luxuriating in their Trump bashing. They just lost their shiny new toy over this. The documents scandal for Trump is done, however much they pretend it isn’t.

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All this maneuvering makes me long for the days of the Borgias, when political assassinations were done with daggers and poison, not leaks and scandals. It was cleaner and quicker. Now we get 3rd rate partisans leaking stuff and sending (or not) FBI agents to do performative raids over petty stuff.

It is exhausting. Maybe we should just bring back dueling?

Gavin Newsom and Joe Biden. Pistols at dawn.

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David Strom 8:00 AM | July 25, 2024
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