Trump says Biden document revelation 'totally changes' DOJ probe of Mar-a-Lago

Former president suggests Biden's other homes and offices — and those of son Hunter — should be combed for any classified memos.

Updated: January 10, 2023 - 7:56pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Other Media

    Former President Donald Trump said Thursday the revelation that Joe Biden kept classified documents from his vice presidency at a private think tank office "totally changes" the Justice Department investigation prompted by the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago, suggesting politics may have delayed the public revelation of the current president's new legal and political predicament.

    Biden's lawyers notified the government Nov. 2 about the discovery of the classified-marked documents at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, but the public wasn’t alerted until this week, well after the midterm election and DOJ's announcement of a special counsel for the Trump documents probe.

    Trump told Just the News in an exclusive interview that he did not believe the lag between discovery and public acknowledgement of the Biden classified documents was an accident.

    "I think they knew long before Nov. 2," Trump said in a wide-ranging interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast. "I think he knew probably right from the beginning, and I think a lot of it had to do with Ukraine, because that was the papers he kept. And no, I think they knew about this for a long time and they didn't do anything about it."

    Multiple news agencies reported Tuesday that at least 10 documents with classified markings were found at the Biden office and that some involved Ukraine, where Biden's son Hunter once had business dealings.

    Asked how the revelation that Biden's office held classified documents outside a secure location will affect Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation into documents found at Mar-a-Lago in August, Trump answered: "Well, I think it totally changes that."

    Trump said that as a president he had sweeping powers under current laws and court precedents to decide which documents to declassify from his presidency and which he could keep as personal records. But as vice president, Biden had more limited latitude and could not unilaterally declassify documents from other agencies, Trump argued, only those he himself classified as vice president under the 2003 and 2009 executive orders governing declassification signed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

    Trump said he believed he was treated unfairly when his home in Mar-a-Lago was raided in August while his office was still negotiating, as it had been for months, the return of government documents found at his Florida compound.

    "I did absolutely nothing wrong," he said. "And we were talking to them. And we gave them  tremendous amounts of stuff."

    DOJ has said it conducted the raid after the negotiations were dragging on and the president's lawyer certified all classified document had been retrieved from Mar-a-Lago when in fact additional ones were found during the raid.

    Trump suggested that given the precedent the FBI set with the raid on his him, Biden's other homes and offices — and those of his son Hunter's — should be searched for any other classified documents.

    "What about all of these places that he's got?" Trump asked. "He's got a tremendous trove of things at the University of Delaware, I understand. He's got another one at Penn. He's got a big trove up at Penn. And then what about his house? What about Hunter's house? You know, who's going to go in there like they did with me? Who's gonna do that?"

    Trump also weighed in on the drama that gripped Congress last week, saying he believes the Republican Party has emerged stronger from the fight that ultimately elected Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker and secured drastically new rules governing how the House handles legislation.

    "I think we actually end up in a certain way in a stronger position," he said. "For those of us that love our country, I think Kevin's going to do a good job. But I really believe that those three days it looked messy. But in the end, it's sort of funny how it turns out. Smetimes, you know, the best things happen through the war. And in the end, I think we're going to end up with a more unified party."

    Trump confirmed he lobbied the 20 holdout Republicans heavily during the drama, telling them to get the concessions they wanted and then fall in line behind McCarthy. That effort included calls to the House floor after the 14th vote to elect McCarthy failed near midnight Saturday morning.

    Trump said he encouraged lawmakers not to adjourn, to instead settle their differences on the spot and elect McCarthy, predicting if they adjourned in the wee hours of Satuday morning more fissures likely would form. He singled out Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who changed his vote from "no" to "present" as a key force in the final deal.

    "Think of it," Trump said, "if they left and you had two and a half, three days in between, I don't know that anything would have ever [been resolved]. You might have ended up with a Democrat, to be honest with you. I don't know that this thing ever would have gotten done. Your moderates would have left, other people too. It would have been a disaster.

    "And that's when Matt ran up to the front of the room and he said, 'I'm changing my vote, I'm changing my vote.' And he's a great guy, and they're all really great. I think, you know, they're very committed.

    The rules agreement is a "very strong document" and leaves McCarthy in a "stronger position," Trump predicted.