A former top aide to Bill Clinton told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents was a “very, very big deal” — and Biden is going to get “creamed.”
David Gergen, a veteran political operative, told Cooper that Biden was in serious political trouble because of his serious of missteps.
“How big a mess is this for the Biden administration?” Cooper asked.
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“It’s very, very big,” Gergen said. “Not legally, but politically. It’s a very, very big deal.”
“This is a president that was marching upward for the first time in his presidency,” he said about Biden’s recent woes. “He got his numbers up. People are feeling better about the economy.”
“There are all sorts of reasons to believe that he can now present himself — the fears that people like me have about how old he is and can he govern well?” Gergen said. “Those fears would be dissipated if he were able to stay on that track.”
“The Biden people, they may be making a big mistake,” he said. “I may be wrong about this. They’ve done a wonderful job being cooperative with the government, and they’ve done it by the books.”
“I don’t think sitting there hunkering down now, just acting like it’s not out there is good,” Gergen concluded. “They’re going to get creamed doing that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick confirmed last week that the FBI had executed “a planned, consensual search” of Biden residence in Wilmington.
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The president and first lady Jill Biden were not at the home when it was searched Biden has said he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.”
“We found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place,” Biden admitted. “We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.”
It remained to be seen whether additional searches by federal officials of other locations might be conducted. Biden’s personal attorneys previously conducted a search of the Rehoboth Beach residence and said they did not find any official documents or classified records.
The Biden investigation has seriously complicated the Justice Department’s probe into former President Donald Trump’s retention of classified documents and official records after he left office.
Trump has repeatedly insisted that he had the right to keep those documents because he’d declassified them as president.
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Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed former Maryland U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing surrounding the Biden documents. Hur is set to take over from the Trump-appointed Illinois U.S. Attorney John Lausch in overseeing the probe.
Generally, classified documents are to be declassified after a maximum of 25 years. But some records are of such value they remain classified for far longer, though specific exceptions must be granted.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article