The start of the new year did not disappoint in providing new storylines in the never-ending spectacle that is American politics. On January 9, 2023, a story broke that the United States Justice Department and the National Archives were investigating a “small number of documents” found at a former office used by President Joe Biden. The president’s attorneys found documents at the Penn Biden Center, an Ivy-League think tank in Washington DC that has been accused of corruption. On November 2, 2022, before the midterm elections, lawyers cleaning out the office opened a locked closet and discovered classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president in the Obama administration.
Upon hearing of the discovery of potentially “top secret” files, President Biden claimed, “I don’t know what’s in the documents, my lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes, they’ve turned over the boxes to the [National] Archives, and we’re cooperating fully, cooperating fully with the review, which I hope will be finished soon, and there’ll be more detail at that time.” Additional documents were subsequently discovered at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home on December 20th and January 12th, 14th, and 21st. Biden, initially relaxed, has appeared increasingly frazzled in recent weeks as new revelations keep the story in the headlines. Asked again recently by a reporter about the discovered documents, Biden demurred, taking sudden interest in the plight of America’s working poor. “What quite frankly bugs me is that we have a serious problem here we’re talking about,” Biden said. “We’re talking about what’s going on, and the American people don’t quite understand why you don’t ask me questions about that.”
Nevertheless, people have taken an interest, as the sitting president joins former President Trump in being under investigation by the FBI, who raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last August. The Justice Department claimed that Trump and his associates had removed classified documents from the White House. Members of the Republican Party have juxtaposed the disparate treatment Trump and Biden have received by federal authorities and the mainstream liberal media for committing similar indiscretions.
Biden’s has provoked Republicans, who have threatened to throw a wrench into the president’s future plans. Many in the GOP are frustrated that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have yet to see the documents relating to either scandal, the most vociferous among them being Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who told reporters: “The administration is stonewalling Congress on the classified documents present at President Trump’s residence and President Biden’s residence and office, which is totally unacceptable.” He continued, “The members of the Intelligence Committee — for that matter, the members of Congress have an absolute right to this information so we can make an informed judgment about the risk, if any, these documents have posed to our national security by being improperly handled, until the administration stops stonewalling Congress, there will be pain as a consequence for them.” This “pain” Cotton refers to would mean rejecting Biden’s nominees and forestalling federal funding to particular programs.
The current fiasco in Washington over classified documents is just the latest sideshow in our farce of a government. While we will likely never learn the contents, the news has fueled the usual partisan bickering on social media even while our government seems intent on starting a Third World War in agreeing to send thirty-one tanks to Ukraine. The mainstream media will always have new breaking news to divert the conversation away from urgent, glaring contradictions, like how imperialism traps working people at home and abroad in poverty to hoard superprofits. This latest story will soon be replaced with another glaring headline that seeks to divide the working class divided and to spin our struggle when we can no longer be ignored.