New York Times reporters Michael D. Shear, Peter Baker and Katie Rogers detailed Friday how the White House thought they would manage to cover up the ongoing scandal of President Joe Biden’s classified documents.
Biden’s lawyers discovered the first trove of classified documents, which date to his time as vice president, on Nov. 2 at the Penn Biden Center, Biden’s Washington, D.C., think tank. The administration reported the matter to the National Archives and Records Administration the same day, and NARA referred it to the Department of Justice two days later, according to a timeline compiled by the Times.
Lawyers subsequently found more documents during additional searches conducted on Dec. 20, Jan. 10 and Jan. 11 at his Delaware residence.
The discovery of the documents did not become public knowledge until Jan. 9. On Jan. 12, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate the case.
“The decision … to keep the discovery of classified documents secret from the public and even most of the White House staff for 68 days was driven by what turned out to be a futile hope that the incident could be quietly disposed of without broader implications for Mr. Biden or his presidency,” the Times reported.
The Times also alleged that Biden’s advisers knew of the classified documents six days before the midterm elections and “gambled” on keeping the revelations hidden, hoping that the Justice Department would view the incident as “little more than a minor, good-faith mistake.”
The Biden team instead hoped to “demonstrate that the president and his team were cooperating fully” by handing over the documents as soon as they were found, people familiar with the internal deliberations told the Times on condition of anonymity. (RELATED: Scarborough Says GOP Isn’t Wrong To Want To Know Contents Of Docs In Biden’s Garage)
“The bet seems to have backfired,” the Times reported, noting that the administration remains hopeful that they can convince “the special counsel that nothing nefarious took place.”
According to the Times, the scandal “has eroded” Biden’s “capacity to claim the high road against [former President Donald] Trump,” who is under investigation for his own handling of classified documents.
The three reporters went onto note that the lack of transparency from the White House and from Biden himself have “cemented the impression that Mr. Biden had not been forthcoming.”
The article continued on to explain how the Justice Department appointed a special counsel and how the White House has grappled with lack of answers.