We've had a couple of days to digest that damning classified documents investigation report and the Biden administration's disaster of a response to it. This morning I did some browsing around to try to determine where the dust is settling in terms of the White House, the Democrats, the GOP, the media, and even foreign countries. Karen already picked apart what the Biden team's response has been thus far and what will likely happen going forward. That will mostly be nothing aside from optics and cosmetic attempts (in some cases literally) at getting people to forget about it and go about their business. That would appear to be a vain hope, particularly when some of the fire the Biden team is taking is coming from their side of the wall. One of the more amusing assessments I noticed came from former Clinton adviser Paul Begala, who jokingly claimed that the release of the report had caused him to wet the bed. (NY Post)
Paul Begala, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, joked Friday that he “wet the bed” over the findings in Special Counsel Robert Hur’s scathing report on President Biden’s handling of classified documents.
“Look, I’m a Biden supporter. And I slept like a baby last night. I woke up every two hours and wet the bed,” the Democratic strategist quipped during an appearance on CNN.
Hur’s bombshell report asserts that Biden, 81, “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” but should not face criminal charges, in part because a jury may view the president as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”
Having surveyed the landscape, I believe there are a couple of conclusions we can reach at this point. First of all, the report was nothing short of a disaster in some ways. As others have already noted, the Special Counsel has effectively codified as fact the reality that Joe Biden is not qualified to hold his current job and he very likely represents a significant national security risk to America and the rest of the world as well. But it may not have the impact that many seem to be anticipating. And such a lack of jarring results may be what we probably should have expected.
In more normal times (whenever those were), that report should have been the end of the Biden presidency. The 25th Amendment would have been invoked and - God Help Us All - Kamala Harris would be preparing to be sworn in as the 47th POTUS. But that's not what we're seeing and I don't believe you'll be seeing anything similar for some time to come. There are several reasons for this.
First of all, no matter what the report said (and it said plenty), there was no way that Biden's own Justice Department was going to recommend prosecution no matter how much of an obvious double standard was on display. If there was any surprise in that report, it's that they didn't simply ignore the Trump situation entirely and roll out the "no reasonable prosecutor" line yet again as they've done for all Democrats. The fact that they felt compelled to offer Biden an excuse that involved his age and failing memory was more than I expected and the most would should have anticipated.
As for Team Biden's response, Joe Biden was never going to admit to any wrongdoing or acknowledge any physical or mental infirmity. He was also never going to resign. None of those things are in his character and neither his handlers nor his wife would let him quit. They want to hang on to power too badly and they both hate and are terrified by Trump.
As for the national Democrats, what are their options? At least until the convention, they can't jump up, wave their arms, and embrace the report. If they call for Joe to step aside, they will be admitting that they made a mistake nominating him to begin with and their judgment can't be trusted. Such admissions are not allowed inside the swamp. It's true that many of them are in full-blown panic mode over his approval numbers and polling data, but they are still crossing their fingers and hoping that those figures could improve over the summer. (And that's still a possibility.) The only thing that will spur them to action is a collective belief that the ship has truly sailed and a Trump victory over Biden is inevitable. If that moment arrives, they will act, most likely at the convention. It would be a humiliating non-admission, but they are playing for keeps and they'll try whatever tools they can find in the chest to drag victory kicking and screaming from the jaws of defeat.