Could a Democrat, understandably concerned that a Biden 2024 reelection bid would be disastrous for the Democratic Party (not to mention the country and the economy), have leaked President Biden’s “filegate” scandal to the media?
It’s plausible, given what we know – or at least what we think we know – about the sources of the information, the timeline and the widespread opposition to Biden running for president again.
To begin with, we apparently don’t know who tipped off the press about filegate.
CBS broke the story on Jan. 9. The initial report cited only “two sources with knowledge of the inquiry.” CBS never identified the anonymous sources. Nor have other news organizations in their subsequent reporting.
The White House revealed the investigation only after reporters started asking questions. As CBS reported, “Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president confirmed” the story that Biden’s personal attorneys identified the classified documents on Nov. 2. Sauber was only confirming what reporters already knew.
Which leads us to the second point. Why did the White House and the Department of Justice (DOJ) wait so long to fess up? The news didn’t break until more than two months after classified files were found at Biden’s Penn Biden Center office. That’s very odd for a president who says he wants to have the most transparent administration in history.
Attorney General Merrick Garland did release a timeline of events on Jan. 12, but it raises a number of questions. The first tranche of classified files was found on Nov. 2, which were handed over to the National Archives the next day. The DOJ learned about the files the following day.
All of this went on the week before the midterm elections. Would the story have changed some votes? We’ll never know, but it’s a pretty good bet the administration feared it would.
Garland asked Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney John Lausch of Illinois to conduct an initial investigation on Nov. 14, the day before Donald Trump announced he would be running for president again.
Three days later, Garland announced he was appointing a special counsel to investigate Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 riot and Trump’s own filegate — but the attorney general said not a word about the Biden investigation.
Then we learn Biden’s lawyers found more classified documents at his Delaware home on Dec. 20 — and apparently a few more files after that.
Garland and the White House spoke up only after reporters had broken the story, which was being widely covered. And even though Garland has now appointed special counsel Robert Hur to investigate, he apparently did that only after the story broke. The White House and Justice Department have simply not been forthcoming.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York hit the nail on the head when he recently wrote in his newsletter, “The biggest problem with the Joe Biden documents story is this: We know only what Joe Biden’s lawyers have told us. And the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the case will make the problem worse.”
A case can be made that the White House never intended or wanted the story out in the public. Had it not been for CBS’s breaking the story, we still might not know.
And it’s easy to see why the White House would want to quash it. Team Biden knew that immediate comparisons would be made with the Trump files. The White House surely believed the public would see Biden’s and the Democrats’ hypocrisy, given how viciously they attacked Trump’s filegate.
But perhaps most importantly, the White House feared that filegate would create real problems for a president who is on the verge of announcing his bid for reelection, which brings us to a possible reason why a Democrat might leak the story.
Polls show that voters, including most Democrats, do not want Biden to run for reelection. Let’s just say they have concerns about his age, 80, and his abilities.
But as I have written previously in The Hill, it is almost impossible to stop him if he chooses to run again. So, how do the Democratic powers that be convince him not to do so?
Leaking Biden’s filegate problems to the press might create enough of a furor among Democrats and the public to convince Biden to stand down. And news reports have pointed out that’s exactly what some people are thinking.
Is it plausible that one or more Democrats might take the step of leaking to the press? Yes, it’s plausible. And until the White House or the Justice Department are more forthcoming with what they knew and when they knew it, it may be the best explanation we have.