The forthcoming report on President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents is poised to be advantageous for Donald Trump, regardless of its conclusions, according to political experts. This investigation, led by Special Counsel Robert Hur, is anticipated to unveil its findings this week.
There is a growing unease within the White House, amid fears that the report could carry potentially damaging implications for President Biden in the lead-up to the 2024 election. Though it's not expected that Hur will suggest initiating a criminal case, despite the discovery of Obama-era classified documents at Biden's Delaware home and his former Penn Biden Center office in Washington, D.C., there is a palpable anxiety among Biden's aides.
This concern stems from the possibility that Hur's report might include incriminating photographs illustrating Biden's storage methods for these documents, as reported by Axios. Since Hur's appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland last January to probe Biden's document management, Trump has persistently questioned why he alone faces criminal charges in a similar situation under Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Trump has been charged with 40 federal offenses in relation to his own classified documents case.
Reeher: Political Ramifications
Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, remarked that even if Hur's report absolves Biden of any criminal conduct, the political ramifications could be significant.
Reeher noted the potential for "embarrassing photos," which could feed into Trump's narrative of equivalence between their cases. Reeher highlighted a key distinction between the Biden and Trump scenarios: Biden did not attempt to obstruct federal retrieval efforts and promptly returned all documents upon discovery.
In contrast, Trump's co-defendants, Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, are accused of aiding Trump in relocating classified document boxes at Mar-a-Lago and conspiring to erase subpoenaed security footage. If Hur's report unfavorably portrays Biden, such as through images of classified documents stored alongside his Corvette in his Wilmington garage, Reeher suggests the public may perceive it similarly to when photos of Mar-a-Lago depicted Trump's careless storage of classified materials.
Reeher believes that most voters, not delving into case specifics, may see both candidates as equally problematic, bolstering Trump's claims of equivalency. Reeher also pointed out that if the report is detrimental to Biden, it paradoxically undermines Trump's argument that the cases against him are purely political.
However, he noted that highlighting this aspect requires Biden's team to draw attention to the potentially damaging report.