Side-by-side view of confidential Trump and Biden documents

the revelation Potentially classified materials It was found in the office of a think tank once used by President Joe Biden. seizures last year Hundreds of documents marked as classified from Mar-a-Lago, the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump.

Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between the two situations side by side.

How many confidential documents are we talking about?

Biden: On Nov. 2, 2022, in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a Washington think tank, Biden’s personal lawyer, according to Presidential Special Counsel Richard Sauber ,

Biden had an office at the Penn Center after stepping down as vice president in 2017 and right before he launched the 2020 presidential election. It was affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and continued to operate independently of the Biden administration.

TRUMP: Nearly 300 classified documents have been recovered from Mr. Trump since he stepped down in January 2021, including some classified as classified.

In January 2022, the National Archives and Records Administration will 15 boxes collected It told Justice Department officials that the documents contained a “massive amount” of classified material. In August, FBI agents About 33 boxes/containers Of the 11,000 documents from Mar-a-Lago, about 100 marked with classifications found in vaults and offices.

How quickly were confidential documents submitted?

Biden: Sauber said his personal attorney immediately notified the White House attorney’s office, which notified NARA, who filed the documents the next day.

“Since that discovery, the president’s personal attorneys have worked with the archives and the Department of Justice to ensure that the records of the Obama-Biden administration are properly preserved in the archives,” Sauber said.

Trump: Trump’s representatives told NARA in December 2021 that the president’s records were found in Mar-a-Lago nearly a year after Trump stepped down as president. His 15 boxes of records containing classified material were transferred from Mar-Lago to his NARA in January.

A few months later, agents from the Department of Justice and the FBI visited Mar-a-Lago to learn more about the classified materials that had been brought to Florida. Federal officials have also served a subpoena for several documents believed to be on the property.

In August 2022, FBI agents conducting a search recovered 33 boxes from Mar-a-Lago. The inquiry came after Trump’s attorneys provided sworn certificates that all government records had been returned.

Could any president be indicted in connection with the discovery of the documents?

Biden: Despite the discovery of classified material in Biden’s office, there is no indication that Biden himself was aware of its existence before the records were turned over.

The administration also said the records were turned over the day they were discovered, with no intent to cover them up. This is important because you are looking for intent.

But even if the Justice Department determines that the evidence is prosecutable, the Justice Department’s Office of General Counsel has concluded that the president cannot be indicted while in office. It cited that guidance in deciding not to reach a conclusion on whether Trump should be indicted as part of a 2016 investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Merrick Garland told U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Rausch, one of the few U.S. attorneys extradition from the Trump administration, that the Archives referred the matter to the agency, according to people familiar with the matter. Afterwards, I asked them to look into the matter. But I have no authority to discuss it publicly.

TRUMP: The former president could be exposed for allegedly sabotaging the long-running battle to retrieve the documents themselves. And because he’s no longer in office, he won’t be protected from indictments that might apply to a sitting president.

Garland takes office in November jack smith A veteran war crimes prosecutor with a background in public corruption investigations, he has been involved in an investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents and another investigation, including the Jan. 6, 2021 riots and efforts to cancel the 2020 election. Lead the important aspects.

What did the president have to say about the discovery of the documents?

Biden: Responding to questions from journalists at the North American Summit in Mexico on Tuesday, Biden said he was “surprised to find out” that the documents had been found at his think tank. He takes classified documents “very seriously.”

He said his team acted appropriately by submitting the documents quickly.

“They did what they had to do,” Biden said. “They called the archives right away.”

In September, when it comes to the situation with Trump, Biden told CBS’s “60 Minutes” The discovery of top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago raised concerns that sensitive data was at risk, calling it “irresponsible.”

TRUMP: Trump has sometimes claimed that he declassified documents he had, but he has not provided any proof of that.He said fox news interview The president announced in September that the material could be declassified “even by thinking about it.”

The former president called the search for Maralago “neither necessary nor appropriate” and an “unannounced raid” that represented “dark times for our country”.

Regarding Biden, Trump considered on his social media sites on Monday, asking, “When is the FBI going to raid many of Joe Biden’s homes, maybe even the White House?”

What are the political implications of the document’s discovery?

Biden: Biden’s disclosure of documents is unlikely to affect the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute Trump in his own case, but Republicans and former presidents have already criticized the investigation for being political. skepticism among those who are

It could also affect the new Republican-controlled Congress, which has promised to launch a broad investigation into the Biden administration.

Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, said Monday that the American public deserves to know sooner about the disclosure of classified Biden documents. The Ohio Republican is one of the House Republicans pushing for the creation of a “Subcommittee on Federal Weaponization” within the Judiciary Committee.

Congressman Mike Turner, The Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee has urged U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a “damage assessment” of documents found at the Penn Center.

TRUMP: Soon after, Trump and his supporters saw the Mar-a-Lago hunt as a partisan attack from Democrats who had long wanted him removed.

At the start of the 2024 election campaign in November, in the same clubs agents searched months earlier, Trump referred to an investigation into him, accusing capricious prosecutors and “deteriorating, corrupting, and corrupting Washington.” cast himself as the ‘victim’.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at


Associated Press writers Eric Tucker and Zeke Miller of Washington contributed to this report.