Commentary by Philip Wegmann originally published by RealClearPolitics and RealClearWire
Shortly after the White House announced that a second set of classified documents from the Obama administration was discovered in the Delaware home of the president – and immediately before Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a second special prosecutor into misplaced classified presidential papers – Joe Biden tried to reassure the country by telling reporters that the sensitive documents were behind locked doors.
“Yes, as well as my Corvette,” Biden told Peter Doocy of Fox News, referring to his beloved 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
At the Department of Justice, Garland announced he had assigned U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. to conduct an initial investigation to advise him on whether a special counsel was warranted.
“I selected him to conduct the initial investigation because I was confident his experience would ensure that it would be done professionally and expeditiously,” he said.
“Based on Mr. Lausch’s initial investigation, I concluded that, under the special counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” the attorney general concluded.
The White House has not revealed who, other than Biden himself, had access to the documents found in Delaware or the classified intelligence discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.
But his son Hunter Biden, who is under federal criminal investigation for tax fraud and whom House Republicans plan to subpoena in regard to his foreign business dealings, did have access to the garage. At least, according to earlier statements made by Biden.
As vice president in 2016, Biden and his Corvette appeared in the season premiere of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage.” Showing off the classic that was a wedding present from his father, Biden told Leno that his sons had restored the vehicle to showroom condition.
“My two sons, Beau, who passed away, and my son Hunter decided as a Christmas gift to have the engine rebuilt for me,” he explained.
Although the administration has promised transparency, the White House has not answered questions about how the classified intelligence made its way into the Biden family home in Delaware or the president’s private office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
“It is, again, an ongoing process. We’re going to respect the process,” Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Wednesday. “As the president said, his team handled it the right way and we’re just not going to get ahead of the process from here.”
Biden does keep his Corvette at his home in Wilmington. He told Leno in a second appearance on the show in 2022 that because the Secret Service doesn’t allow incumbent presidents to drive their own cars, “every once in a while, I take the Corvette out of the garage and just run up and down the driveway.”
Because of the president’s own words, the Corvette and the classified documents are linked for now. On Thursday at the White House, Biden said again that he takes sensitive intelligence “very seriously.”
“As I said earlier this week, and by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage, so it’s not like they’re sitting out on the street,” he continued, referring to the documents.
“People know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously,” the president added. “I also said we’re cooperating, fully cooperated with the Justice Department’s review.”
Controversy will continue as Republicans cry foul and accuse the DOJ of a “double standard,” pointing to how former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was raided by armed FBI agents in search of classified documents. According to the White House, Biden, unlike Trump, voluntarily turned over the documents to the National Archives shortly after they were discovered.
Philip Wegmann for RealClearPolitics and RealClearWire
This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.