The US president was on the defensive Thursday after the discovery of new confidential documents in his family home, a case which will be investigated by a special prosecutor.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur, a former federal prosecutor, to the post.
The announcement is intended to quell any hint of favoritism, as Merrick Garland had already appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump and on classified documents taken away by the former president, in much larger numbers.
The challenge for Joe Bidenwho plans to run again in 2024, is of course to undermine any parallel between his case and that of his predecessor, already a candidate.
The White House thus insists on the fact that the current Democratic president is actively collaborating with justice, unlike his predecessor, who is himself suspected of having deliberately concealed part of his archives.
“We are trying to do this by the book,” said and repeated his spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, during a particularly lively briefing on Thursday.
A White House adviser invited at the last minute to speak on international issues was thus asked to be brief by a journalist. The spokesperson assured that Joe Biden was working with the greatest “transparency”, but she kicked into touch many times, in the name of the independence of justice.
“A careful investigation will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and that the President and his attorneys acted promptly upon discovering this error,” Presidential Counsel Richard Sauber said in a statement.
The White House said Thursday that a “small number of confidential documents” relating to Joe Biden’s work as Vice President (2009-2017) were found Wednesday evening at his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware, stored in the garage and in an adjacent room.
On Monday, the American executive had already acknowledged that a dozen documents of this type had been discovered in November at the Penn Biden Center, a think tank in Washington where Joe Biden once had an office.
The American president, questioned directly on Thursday, appeared on the defensive. “Classified documents next to your Corvette, but what did you have in mind?” asked a reporter from the popular conservative channel Fox News. “My Corvette is in a closed garage” and not “in the street”, retorted the Democrat before nervously referring to the elements of language contained in his files.
A 1978 law obliges US presidents and vice-presidents to send all their emails, letters and other working documents to the National Archives.
Former President Donald Trump is facing federal indictment over his handling of his records.
Leaving the White House, he had taken whole boxes. Asked to return them, he had returned fifteen boxes in January 2022.
A careful investigation will show that these documents were inadvertently misplaced and that the president and his lawyers acted promptly when they discovered this mistake.
The federal police had seized about thirty others in August in his residence in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
Merrick Garland has since entrusted this investigation to a special prosecutor, Jack Smith, as well as the investigations concerning the role of Donald Trump in the attack on the Capitol, the January 6, 2021.
The fact that he also appoints one to investigate the Joe Biden archives has not calmed the Republican opposition.
“With or without a special prosecutor”, the House of Representatives, which has just come under the control of the conservatives, will investigate “the inappropriate treatment of classified documents by President Biden and the efforts of the “backwater” to hide this information”, Republican James Comer promised in a statement.