Dick Durbin tried to say all the right things — but got most of them wrong.
In an interview on Sunday, the Illinois senator acknowledged that President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents was “unacceptable,” but still tried to argue that it was “different” from former President Donald Trump’s battles over classified documents from his administration.
But point by point, he only proved that the Biden story is much, much worse.
During the “State of the Union” interview, CNN’s Dana Bash played video of Durbin last year denouncing Trump’s handing of documents as a “literal outrage.” She then asked the senator to square that with the Biden story playing out in real time now.
Durbin tried to pretend his own words resurfacing didn’t hurt Biden’s cause now — but it was more than an inconvenient truth that Bash had played. It was a line that scorched Biden, and Durbin’s own defense.
Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin is shown his own past comments saying it’s “a literal outrage” for a president to store classified documents at his home.
Q: “Is it also an outrage for [Biden]?”
DURBIN: Well no this is different pic.twitter.com/AOd6J9NMya
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 22, 2023
“At its heart, the issue is the same. Those documents should not have been in the personal possession of either Joe Biden or Donald Trump,” Durbin responded.
“But what happened and followed from it is significantly different.”
He went on to explain, apparently not bothered by either the facts of the case and common sense.
“Donald Trump defied those who knew the documents were in place and ultimately led to, involuntarily, a court order and a search of his Mar-a-Lago hotel resort to find out how many documents were there,” Durbin said (transcript here).
“Contrast that with Joe Biden. Embarrassed by the situation, as he should have been, he invited the government agencies in to carefully look through all the boxes he had accumulated. It’s a much different approach.
“It is outrageous that either occurred. But the reaction by the former president and the current president could not be in sharper contrast.”
Actually, Durbin is correct about how the actions of the two men could not be in sharper contrast. But the conclusion that leads to is not the one he was advancing — and not the one Democrats and their allies in the establishment media (like Dana Bash) need Americans to believe.
There are plenty of doubters:
It is different. It’s far more negligent to have classified documents in random boxes in your garage.
— John H Waresback (@JohnnyH121314) January 23, 2023
It’s always different when it’s your team.
— EssexCountyFAL (@bjl2855) January 22, 2023
The hypocrisy is so hilarious.
— Rob Motsinger (@RobMotsinger) January 22, 2023
To begin with, as Durbin himself admitted, Trump has “defied those who knew the documents were in place.” In other words, American government officials knew Trump had documents that he had claimed rightful ownership of. Whether that claim is correct or incorrect is irrelevant to the fact that their existence was well known.
In Biden’s case, by “contrast,” the existence of the documents was supposedly discovered in November by Biden attorneys, a week before the midterm elections. Their existence was then kept out of the public eye for months, until a CBS News report revealed the existence of the first batch in a Washington office Biden used after he left the White House.
Revelations have continued since, including documents found in Biden’s home and in his garage — none of them reported to the public immediately.
(In fact, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured reporters the search had been completed on Jan. 12, the very day that more documents were found. But the public didn’t learn of that until Jan. 14.)
On Friday, yet more documents turned up in Biden’s Wilmington home, these going back to his service in the Senate.
Then, Durbin claimed that Biden “invited the government agencies in to carefully look,” as though that was a sterling display of good citizenship and transparent governance on the president’s part.
But as former federal prosecutor and conservative commentator Andrew McCarthy pointed out Sunday at National Review, Biden’s invitation to for a federal search is much more realistically seen as a PR strategy. Biden and his legal team know full well that the president’s own actions have made him vulnerable to more coercive measures by a special counsel investigation.
“The president did not consent to an FBI search of his home because he is unconcerned. He consented to it because he knew law enforcement had more than sufficient evidence to compel a search of his home,” McCarthy wrote, with italics in the original.
“From his standpoint, with his 2024 re-election hopes now teetering, it was better to pose as a cooperative volunteer than be forced to open his door to federal agents brandishing a judicial warrant.”
Biden didn’t consent to a search because he was “embarrassed,” as Durbin put it. If Biden has proven nothing in his presidency, much less his decades in public life earlier, it’s that he’s utterly shameless. (Durbin has to know that, considering he started in the Senate in 1997 and so served with Biden there years before Barack Obama chose Biden for his running mate in 2008.)
Another point where the cases are “different,” as Durbin would say is that Trump was the president of the United States when the documents came into his hands. As the president, he had the power to declassify any document or partial document he chose.
The documents in the Biden case come from when he was not the president and therefore did not have such power except in specific cases — see the clarification note at the bottom of this page.
(Whether that power excuses Trump’s behavior is a different question, and not one that’s relevant here. The point is, it’s an argument Biden and his defenders can’t even pretend to make.)
And finally, there’s the biggest difference of all: Hunter Biden. The Trump family is made up of high-achievers in business, politics and diplomacy. The Biden family is made up of hangers-on, slick talkers and a drug-addicted wastrel named Hunter who’s made a lifetime career of the Biden family name, including influence peddling on a global scale during the Biden White House years. (A country with a news media less eager to be pimped by progressive powers would never have put losers like this in the White House, but we are where we are.)
If there’s an American alive who is not to be trusted with access to classified documents, it’s Hunter Biden. Yet that’s exactly what was provided by the man who’s now the president of the United States.
It is different. Why can’t you people see this. Biden has the (D) Trump has the (R). Learn this simple rule of life.
— OkieRPh (@rlindys51) January 22, 2023
Check out more of the Durbin “State of the Union” interview here:
It’s important to remember that Durbin is no piker in the world of politics. He’s the Senate majority whip, the No. 2 man in the upper chamber behind only Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
If this is the best he can do in front of a friendly interviewer like Bash — spewing out a bunch of half-truths in a morally indignant tone — to defend a president in a scandal that’s growing by the day, it’s clear that that scandal is even deep than the public now knows.
Durbin was evidently trying to put out a fire for the Biden administration. He ended up burning himself instead.
CLARIFICATION, Jan. 24, 2023: The original version of this story stated that during his time as vice president, President Joe Biden lacked the authority to declassify documents. In fact, an executive order issued in December 2009 by then-President Barack Obama extended the authority to classify documents to the vice president. The same order gave the vice president the authority to declassify documents if they were classified by the vice president in the first place.
Because the documents involved in the Biden case have not been publicly described, it’s not known whether Biden’s power to declassify their contents would apply.
This post has been edited to reflect that.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.