Signs the White House is starting to change its document strategy
The White House is struggling to catch up Confidential document dispute and undermine the Republican effort to take down President Joe Biden and take Former President Donald Trump out of the hook in his own secret recording movie.
Biden aides spent the weekend trying to maintain order wrong communication strategy that exacerbated the impact of the discovery of the vice president’s documents at his Delaware home and former office.
House Republicans request information from White House on Biden document
But now, under a special counsel investigation, they face the possibility of new searches that risk political flare-ups as they uncover more documents as the new majority ramps up. of the Republican Party attacked the storm. Meanwhile, Biden is growing increasingly frustrated about his plight, according to new CNN’s report.
The stakes could not be higher for the president as he struggles to grasp the situation. In short, the document cover has ace a series of favorable events, including a moderate drop in inflation, that he hopes to use as a launchpad for re-election that he is expected to announce soon. The White House’s clumsy public relations strategy for about 20 documents has squandered any hope of drawing a clear line between Biden’s cooperation with the administration and Trump’s months of protest and cover-up. with hundreds of pages of his secret documents.
Now that Biden, like Trump, faces a special counsel investigation, the White House is under immense pressure to stop the classic scenario of a minor scandal leading to investigations. Branch leaks to other areas could cost Biden’s presidency.
Former deputy attorney general says this is ‘key question’ for Biden
The president’s hopes of this being just a blip in early 2023 depend on several key questions currently facing a dominant White House that are already hard to find definitive answers to.
- Are there more documents waiting to be discovered that could multiply the political impact of the controversy?
- Will there be more searches after the discovery of documents in the old office used by Biden after the vice-presidency and at his home?
- Who would conduct any such searches? Biden’s attorney? Or will the FBI be involved, too, as a special counsel was appointed last week by Attorney General Merrick Garland to avoid the appearance of political interference?
- Given that the first set of documents was found in November, why did it take so long to search for other potential locations where the vice president’s files could be found, including files likely to be classify? The speed of the Biden team’s search involves the US attorney’s office in Chicago, which initially looked into the matter, a source close to the investigation told CNN’s Evan Perez.
- How quickly and effectively Republicans in the House of Representatives can use this film to add fuel to one of their priorities – creating a story of corruption and shady all around. the Biden family and his son Hunter’s business interests?
- Can a slow White House communications effort so far turn the GOP’s apparent hypocrisy, which has no regard for Trump’s larger documents, into a broader political message? radicalize the House majority before the 2024 election?
These questions can help determine whether this is another Washington scandal that chills voters because it doesn’t necessarily equate to their top priorities, or whether the response will generate broader impressions of whether incompetence and chaos can cause lasting damage.
Inside an increasingly besieged White House, Biden has bristled at how the documentary story has mitigated the political shock he received after stemming the disastrous red Republican wave in the election. midterm elections in November.
CNN’s White House team reported a quiet resignation mood in the West Wing as aides waited to see if any more classified documents appeared among Biden’s papers since his time as vice president. president in the Obama administration.
As is often the case in such cases, there is a clear tension between the strategies that may be advocated by the president’s attorneys, who are obligated to relieve him of criminal liability, and the need for a public relations approach designed to dent political opinion. injury.
So while saying nothing about the initial discovery of the documents in the vice president’s office in November until the story surfaced earlier this month may have legal implications, it is unsustainable political approach.
Then, failing to reveal that some other document was found when Biden talked about the matter last week only made the situation worse because it made it look like he was hiding something. . More discoveries will make the mayhem worse.
“In this particular story, they don’t seem right,” said David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and now a CNN political analyst.
“They’re in the middle of a rock and a hard place and the serious mistake of fact is, drip, drip, drip,” Axelrod told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “The essence of crisis communication is – find out where the story is going, get there as soon as possible, get there as thoroughly as possible.”
Listen to former adviser Obama warn Biden about the issue of classified documents
There are signs that the White House is starting to change its strategy. Over the weekend, for example, Richard Sauber, a senior White House attorney, said in a statement that five pages of supplemental material was found at Biden’s Wilmington mansion last week. The move appears to be an attempt to stay ahead of a disastrous revelation and not wait for journalists to cover it.
On Monday, the White House counsel’s office denied Republicans’ request for more details, saying there are no visitor log for Biden’s own home. GOP already has Such material requirements as they seek to rapidly expand their investigation. The Secret Service also said the presidential protection service does not keep such records.
But Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise signaled the current level of controversy when he warned: “Just because they say it, you shouldn’t take them.”
Revealing to journalists that Biden was frustrated by his handling of dramatic documents could in itself be an attempt to damage control and to prevent the president from becoming more exposed to politics. But it remains to be seen whether the administration is at a point where it can begin to roll out the terms of the story.
For several more days, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was bombarded with questions in the Boardroom and unable to provide in-depth answers that were unlikely to help the president’s case. His own comments also appeared to deepen his plight last week – including as he quipped that documents found in his garage were confidential because it was locked to keep his beloved Corvette safe.
Tackling a compelling mitigation strategy will be critical to determining how the Biden case has implications for the broader public.
One goal for Republicans in Washington is to maximize Biden’s discomfort and use his problems with the documents to undercut any eventual reason to accuse Trump of withholding documents. confidentiality or obstruction.
The two special counsel investigations are separate, and Trump appears to be in far more of a legal risk. But in the heat of an election campaign in which both are likely candidates, it is in fact hard to see how the former president could be indicted over classified documents while a high-profile case. suspended sentence for his successor.
On the surface, Republicans are guilty of hypocrisy because few of them care about Trump’s refusal to turn over a much larger trove of classified documents — a stance that has led to a court-approved search. The approval court obtained more than 100 documents. But now that Biden is baffled as he discovers a smaller path, the Republican majority in the House is turning radical. For example, House Oversight Chairman James Comer last year said Trump’s situation was not a priority but was actively targeting Biden.
Tapper asks GOP lawmaker if he will investigate Trump or just Biden
“We just want to be treated equally here in regards to how both former President Trump and current President Biden are being treated,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s Jake Tapper. on the “Federal State” on Sunday, accusing Democrats of double standards.
Unlike Trump, however, there is no indication that Biden sought to conceal the documents after they were discovered or to prevent them from being returned to the government as required by law when an official. Senior officials leave the executive branch.
If the White House can handle the story, they can use the divergence between Biden and Trump’s approaches to limit the political damage to the president and begin crafting a counterattack designed to let see Republicans cover for an unpopular ex-president.
But after last week, that’s still a big if.