Tale of Two Presidents: Political Future Beneath a Cloud of Secret Documents – Times of India

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NEW YORK: Pretty much everything went well for President Joe Biden as he opened the year. His approval ratings went up. Inflation slowed. And while Democrats united behind his likely re-election campaign, Republicans were at war with themselves after a disappointing mid-season. But on Thursday, Biden’s political outlook shifted into more uncertain territory after the attorney general Merrick Garland has appointed special counsel to investigate the Democratic president’s handling of classified documents.
Democrats admitted publicly and privately that the stunning development was, at best, an unwanted distraction at an inopportune time clouding the case against Donald. Trump. The Republican former president faces his own special counsel and is under a federal criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents and other possible wrongdoings.
There are major differences between the two cases. Notably, there is no suggestion that Biden was purposefully trying to prevent the documents discovered at his home or office from being turned over or that he was even aware of their presence. Trump, who is under investigation for possibly obstructing investigators, also had many more classified documents in his possession. But the appointment of a special counsel on Thursday is nonetheless a blow legal uncertainty about the incumbent president and could revive debate among Democrats about the wisdom of him seeking a second term. “No one is going to say this is useful,” said veteran Democratic strategist James Carville. “It’s pretty obvious that’s not the case.”
While Democrats flinched on a defensive stance, Trump’s potential Republican rivals recognized in 2024 that the contours of the race to come had shifted. Trump “is the happiest man in American politics,” said John Bolton, who served as NSA under Trump. “This should be a disqualification for both of them.”
Thus begins a messy election season in which current and former US presidents are both under investigation by special counsel as they prepare for a possible rematch in 2024. Many voters in both parties are already calling for a new generation of leaders. in the burgeoning presidential contest. Such calls are now getting louder. “On many political fronts, Biden’s touted 2024 campaign is potentially vulnerable,” he said Norman Soloman, a progressive Democrat who leads the so-called Don’t Run Joe campaign. “Democrats and the country as a whole would be much better off this year and next year if he doesn’t run for president.” Nina Turner, who presided over Biden rival Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, said she hopes a “freedom-fighting progressive” poses a primary challenge against Biden in 2024. “The American people certainly deserve better choices — Republicans and Democrats. We shouldn’t have shoved these men down our throats.”
To be clear: there are major differences between the cases. About 300 records with classification markers were recovered from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach home. The search of Trump’s property was the culmination of months of back-and-forth between the administration and Trump representatives, who repeatedly resisted efforts to return the missing documents. And the Justice Department says classified documents were “probably hidden and removed” from a storage unit as part of what they say was an attempt to obstruct investigations. Trump, meanwhile, used the news to undermine the investigation into his actions. “It’s over. When all these documents came out and Biden had them, it really changed the skin tone and the intensity they showed me…”





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