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FACT SHEET: There’s No Comparison Between President Biden and Donald Trump On Classified Documents

Feb 9, 2024

Yesterday, Robert Hur, a Trump-appointed prosecutor with a history of playing politics released a report desperately looking for a crime to charge President Biden with but turned  up nothing. Comparing Biden’s cooperation to Trump’s obstruction is like comparing apples and arsenic. As Hur himself even acknowledged, President Biden cooperated fully with the Department of Justice and went above and beyond to provide investigators with access to his records – all while Donald Trump repeatedly obstructed efforts to retrieve sensitive documents to the point the Department of Justice had to obtain and execute a search warrant. Hur looked back over President Biden’s 40 years of public service and when he couldn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, chose to play politics once again, doing Trump’s bidding by releasing a report riddled with negative, extraneous opinions. MAGA Republicans have quickly fallen in line to do Trump’s bidding as well, hypocritically demanding full access to the classified materials turned over by President Biden after refusing to investigate the context of Trump’s felony indictments. 

The contrast between President Biden’s handling of classified documents and Donald Trump could not be clearer. This political stunt is just another part of the MAGA agenda, seeking to hurt President Biden and distract from Trump’s two impeachments, 91 criminal indictments, and the insurrection he started.

The Trump-Appointed Prosecutor Drew Stark Contrast Between President Biden And Donald Trump’s Handling Of Classified Documents. The Trump-appointed prosecutor pointed out “several material distinctions,” including that Trump’s case “present[s] serious aggravating facts.” As the report notes, “Most notably, after being given multiple chances to return classified documents and avoid prosecution, Mr. Trump allegedly did the opposite…According to the indictment, he not only refused to return the documents for many months, but he also obstructed justice by enlisting others to destroy evidence and then to lie about it. […] In contrast, Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes, sat for a voluntary interview and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”

The Facts: While President Biden Cooperated With Investigators, Trump Obstructed Justice At Every Step of the Way. When President Biden’s personal lawyers found a handful of documents, they immediately contacted the National Archives and have been cooperating with both the Archives and the Department of Justice to rectify the situation, even voluntarily providing access to the DOJ to search every inch of President Biden’s private residence. Whereas with Mar-a-Lago, the Department of Justice was forced to execute a search warrant after former President Trump and his lawyers refused to turn over numerous documents after months of requests. According to NPR, Trump staffers “likely concealed and removed” documents as part of an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into the discovery of the government records.” Even Trump’s lawyer refused to state that all of the documents had been returned, according to The Washington Post.  While Biden’s lawyers handed over a handful of classified documents, according to CNN, “Federal investigators have recovered at least 325 classified documents from Trump as part of their inquiry.” 

Donald Trump

  • What Happened
      • Intentional theft of hundreds of classified documents.

  • The Response
      • Obstruction: Repeatedly obstructed requests from the National Archives and a Department of Justice subpoena for classified documents, forcing DOJ to obtain and execute a search warrant after which officials found at least 325 classified documents.  
  • Investigation Findings
      • Indictment: On June 8, 2023, Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury on 37 felony counts, including 31 counts of retaining and failing to deliver national defense documents under the Espionage Act, 5 counts related to conspiracy to obstruct justice, and 1 count of making false statements.
      • Superseding indictment: On July 27, 2023, Trump was handed down three additional counts of violating the Espionage Act under a superseding indictment, bringing his total number of felony counts to 40.
      • Arraignment: Donald Trump was arraigned twice, first for the original indictment on 37 felony counts, and again in August 2023 for the additional three felony counts. 
  • Next Steps
      • Scheduling conference: On March 1, 2024, the judge presiding over Trump’s case will hold a scheduling conference to confirm the timing of trial proceedings.
      • Criminal trial: On May 20, 2024, the criminal trial against Trump is scheduled to begin. 

President Biden

  • What Happened
      • Exhaustive searches found as few as 25-30 misplaced classified documents.
  • The Response
      • Full cooperation: A textbook approach to reporting and turning over misplaced classified materials immediately when found in total compliance with the law.
      • Voluntary searches: The Trump-appointed prosecutor’s final report noted that President Biden “sat for a voluntary interview and in other ways cooperated with the investigation.”
      • Voluntary interview: The Trump-appointed prosecutor’s final report noted that “In contrast [to Donald Trump], Mr. Biden turned in classified documents to the National Archives and the Department of Justice, [and] consented to the search of multiple locations including his homes…”
  • Investigation Findings & Next Steps
      • No charges warranted: The Trump-appointed prosecutor’s final report concluded, “We conclude that no criminal charges are warranted in this matter. We would reach the same conclusion even if Department of Justice policy did not foreclose criminal charges against a sitting president.”

The MAGA Republicans Attacking President Biden Are Hypocrites Who Have No Credibility. When former President Trump stole and hid classified documents and obstructed efforts by the National Archives and the DOJ to get them back:

  • The House Judiciary Committee said it was a “joke.”
  • James Comer claimed documents found at Mar-A-Lago “didn’t amount to a hill of beans” and that stolen classified documents were not a “not a priority” for the Oversight Committee.
  • House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik called the probe an “endless illegal witch hunt.”
  • MAGA Republicans like Clay Higgins turned to violent uprising rhetoric, tweeting: “This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.”

These hypocrites have sung a different tune when asked about President Biden: 

  • Comer pledged to hold hearings in January 2023.
  • House-kingmaker Marjorie Taylor Green called for impeachment, telling Fox News: “I think we need to investigate the Bidens nonstop. I’ve been very vocal on impeaching Joe Biden and hopefully we can get that done this Congress.”
  • After the final report’s release, Comer demanded that the special counsel involved provide “unfettered access” to a list of countries mentioned in the classified documents turned over by President Biden in an effort to boost his failing impeachment probe.
  • Stefanik tweeted, “Joe Biden is unfit to be President of the United States.”