Rules for Scandal Time

Times are dangerous. Only a blind man could miss the weaponization of the Justice Department in the disparate treatment being given to Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, on the one hand, and former President Trump on the other. The details are important, but not as important as the weaponization—and what may come afterwards: e.g., what would happen if Vice President Kamala Harris refused to certify the election of Trump as president? Whose side would chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr. (Gen. Mark Milley’s successor) be on? But we digress.  

The charges against Trump, limned to be sure for weeks or months before being actually brought, were finally brought contemporaneously with the revelation of scandalous details of the Biden family’s possible—and likely?—corrupt dealings with certain Ukrainians when Biden was vice president. Merrick “The Magician” Garland holds up the wiggly white rabbit for the audience to look at while surreptitiously removing the wallet from the unsuspecting audience volunteer. (Note: Garland is just an employee who does what he’s told in a theater owned and operated by Joe Biden.)

After the rabbit is held up, the corrupt media pile on, noting that “there are no politics going on here” (please!) because both the Democrat Biden and the Republican Pence are being treated equally: neither one will be prosecuted for unlawfully having classified documents in his possession. Justice is blind after all, and there is no reason Donald Trump, whose case is entirely different, should not be charged. 

Not so fast. There is a world of difference between what Biden did and what Pence did—and only a blind man, or a member of the country’s corrupt media, could miss it. 

The classified documents Pence had in his possession came from the vice presidential office where there were, almost certainly, hundreds of documents of all kinds. Undoubtedly far too many—far too many documents, and far too many documents that had been classified. 

A continuing scandal is the vast over-classification of documents. There may be a valid reason for that over-classification, but the smart money is on the proposition that there is not. The over-classification may simply be the result of laziness: it’s easier to mark a document classified than to take the time and trouble to make a sensible determination. It’s also undoubtedly safer to over-classify than to take the risk of not classifying them and being overruled, either by someone who knows better or (more likely) by someone who wants your job and has finally found a way to get rid of you. 

But where did Biden’s classified documents come from? Some came, we are told, from his office—or perhaps they all came from his office. But the key question is, how did some of them get to his office? What we have been told is that some of the documents came from a “sensitive compartmented information facility” (SCIF). A more important question—and prior in time—is how did the documents get out of the SCIF?  

People inspecting documents in a SCIF aren’t allowed to bring a cell phone into the SCIF, nor are they allowed to take notes, nor, obviously, are they allowed to bring a briefcase into the SCIF. Why not? 

Obviously, because that would make it easier to sneak out documents. 

Raising the question the alert reader (but not a member of the left-wing press) will ask, how did then-Senator Joe Biden get the documents out of the SCIF? He couldn’t have held them in his hand as he walked out; he would have been stopped by a guard. 

So where were they? And how did they get there? Were the documents self-folding and self-secreting in his underwear? Don’t laugh—well, don’t laugh about the underwear part: that’s where Sandy Berger (President Clinton’s top national security aide) secreted documents he stole from the National Archives—which he later cut up with scissors to protect the guilty. Berger subsequently pleaded guilty to knowingly removing classified documents.

Or did Biden just fold the documents up and put them in his breast pocket? Was he that forgetful decades ago? He just “forgot” that the documents were really, really secret, so secret they could be viewed only in a SCIF?

Who knows? But who will ever know if questions aren’t asked? 

One point is obvious, and surely obvious to the media: the Pence and Biden cases are not remotely similar. Yet Biden is riding Pence’s coattails to safety, while Trump is the victim, again, of a double standard. Biden fessed up to robbing the bank, and therefore he will not be prosecuted? Willy Sutton should have been so lucky. 

So we should ask, again: What happens if Trump is convicted, and then wins the 2024 election? What will the military-industrial-educational-congressional complex that President Eisenhower warned us about do then? Democracy is supposed to work . . . for us. And keep us free. 

But will it work in scandal time? 

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About Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver is chairman of the board of the Education and Research Institute and a director of the Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was executive editor and subsequently chairman of the board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review. Email him at Daniel.Oliver@TheCandidAmerican.com.

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