Andrew McCarthy: He Has Already Admitted Guilt in Public

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Former Department of Justice prosecutor-turned-pundit Andrew McCarthy argued Thursday that President Joe Biden has already admitted guilt publicly in the controversy over his handling of classified documents.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that documents with classified markings from his time as vice president were found at Biden’s former office at the Penn Biden Center, and at his private residence (near his prized Corvette).

Biden had no authority to maintain possession of the documents after leaving office. The contents are unknown but are reported to include sensitive intelligence briefings relating to Iran, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

The statute that is implicated by Biden’s conduct is the Espionage Act of 1917 — the same law under which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was investigated, and which the Department of Justice is using to investigate Trump.

Trump is the only one of the three who can argue that, as president, he had declassification authority with regard to the memorabilia and other documents he allegedly took to his private residence.

Then-FBI director James Comey declined to prosecute Clinton, saying she did not appear to have the intent to mishandle classified information. However, as critics noted, there is no requirement of “intent” in the law.

As McCarthy notes, the statement by the White House that Biden “inadvertently misplaced” the classified documents is an admission of guilt, because mishandling them is a violation of the law, even if inadvertent:

In announcing Hur’s appointment, Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the facts of the case that drove him to the decision. Biden, while he was a private citizen after the conclusion of his term as vice president, retained batches of classified information in unauthorized locations.

The reaction to the special counsel appointment by Richard Sauber, the lawyer Biden has brought into the White House to help deal with investigations, was remarkable. He said the president was confident that the special counsel investigation would find that the documents in question were “inadvertently misplaced.”

That’s not a defense to a charge of mishandling classified information. It is tantamount to an admission of guilt. For conviction, federal law requires prosecutors to establish that the defendant was grossly negligent. There is no need to prove that an accused was trying to harm the United States; just that he was trusted with classified information and carelessly flouted the standards for safeguarding it.

However, as McCarthy pointed out on Fox News earlier this week, the statute of limitations for the law runs out after five years. Moreover, the Department of Justice has a policy against prosecuting sitting presidents.

That leaves only one possibility, this author has argued, for holding the president accountable: an impeachment investigation of the president that would allow Congress to subpoena documents from the White House.

Read McCarthy’s full article at the New York Post.

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