By Dorothy Li
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Jan. 17 said the special counsel appointed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) ought to treat President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump equally in their classified documents probes.
“I think the important thing with regard to documents is that both these guys ought to be treated exactly the same way—exactly the same way,” McConnell said on NewsRadio 840 WHAS in Kentucky.
The Senate Republican leader said he thinks the attorney general “probably did the right thing” by appointing separate special counsels in investigating the two classified document cases.
“What’s good for one candidate for president ought to be good for another one,” he added.
On Jan. 12, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur, a former federal prosecutor in Maryland, as special counsel to investigate “whether any person or entity violated the law” with classified documents found at the president’s Delaware home and in a Washington office Biden had used as vice president.
After the appointment, an additional stash of classified documents was found at Biden’s residence in Delaware.
Discourse on Biden’s sensitive material has sparked comparisons—particularly regarding the treatment and legal consequences—with the case of Trump, whose Florida home was raided by the FBI last summer resulting in the discovery of classified documents.
“When is the FBI going to raid the many homes of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” Trump wrote on his social media platform after news broke of the first batch of Biden-linked document stash. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”
Trump, who said he declassified documents before leaving office, is being investigated by the DOJ. Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel in November to oversee Trump’s case.
Despite the special counsel’s probe, Republican lawmakers have vowed to continue their own investigations into the sensitive documents linked to Biden.
The House Judiciary Committee has already opened an investigation into Biden’s possession of classified materials.
“We are conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions with respect to former Vice President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C., private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware, residence,” Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), head of the House panel, and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) wrote in a Jan. 13 letter to Garland.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), head of the House Oversight Committee, on Monday pledged to keep the efforts going after the White House said they don’t have visitor logs for the president’s Delaware residence.
“President Biden promised to have the most transparent administration in history, but he refuses to be transparent when it matters most,” Comer told The Epoch Times on Jan. 16.
“We will continue to press the Biden Administration for answers about who had access to these classified documents and why Biden aides were permitted to rummage through the Wilmington residence after the appointment of a special counsel.”
White House Response
The White House fired back by calling GOPs lawmakers’ probe a “shamelessly hypocritical attempt” to attack the democratic president.
“House Republicans have no credibility,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement to media outlets on Monday. “Their demands should be met with skepticism and they should face questions themselves about why they are politicizing this issue and admitting they actually do not care about the underlying classified material.”
“President Biden is doing the right thing and is cooperating fully with a thorough review,” Sams said.
‘Just Does Not Seem Fair’
Asked about the White House’s comment Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) defended Republicans’ investigation, saying the treatment of Trump and Biden regarding classified documents “just does not seem fair.”
Referring to the classified document linked to Biden, McCarthy said “prior to an election, they kept it secret. At no time did he get raided by the FBI.”
On Nov. 2, days before the midterm elections, classified materials were found at the Biden Penn Center, a think tank office in Washington that Biden used between 2017 to 2019. Following the discovery of the first trove of documents, White House attorneys searched Biden’s residences in Delaware, where additional classified government records from the Obama administration were discovered. But these findings weren’t disclosed to the public until last week.
“They put a special prosecutor only after other people raised the issue,” McCarthy told reporters. “Are the same amount of agents investigating this that are investigating President Trump? Is the same push behind it?”
“It just does not seem fair. This is why the American people get so upset and distrust their government when they see that the law is not applied equally.”
The House GOP leader said they would oversee the special counsels’ probes into both cases.
“Look, the House, we have a constitutional responsibility to oversee the Justice Department, and that also means overseeing special counsels,” he added. “So we will look into both situations.”