National Archives Caught Red-Handed

Photo by Chris Grafton on Unsplash

The National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) silence regarding the discovery of classified documents in President Joe Biden’s possession has been deafening.

The decision not to make any public statements since documents were found in Biden’s former office in Washington, D.C., on November 2, 2022, is a stark contrast to their actions following the discovery of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Since the November 2 discovery, more batches of classified documents — from Biden’s time as Vice President and his time as a Senator — have been found in his Wilmington, Del. home in multiple disclosures.

But it’s primarily their silence on classified materials relating to Biden’s time as Vice President that is particularly jarring, given it violates the Presidential Records Act, which requires Presidents and Vice Presidents to hand over any classified material in their possession to the National Archive when leaving office.

On its website, the National Archive asserts the organization as the U.S.’s “record keeper,” mandated to collect materials that help Americans claim their rights, hold elected officials accountable, and document the nation’s history.

But in Biden’s case, the National Archives has fallen short of this mandate, which has led many to point out a perceived double standard.

Within four months of former President Donald Trump leaving office, the National Archives requested he hands over any classified documents.

The back-and-forth between the federal agency and the former President eventually led to the latter having his Mar-a-Lago home raided.

Trump’s defenders have also pointed to how the former President had the authority to declassify the documents, whereas Biden, as Vice President, wouldn’t have that authority.