President Joe Biden may signal his plans for reelection in the coming weeks, according to sources speaking with The Hill, even with a classified documents scandal looming over Biden’s current tenure.
Biden’s State of the Union address is set for Feb. 7. Shortly after that, The Hill’s sources say, Biden might make known his intentions for 2024.
“It’s still very much in the works and nothing has changed,” said one source familiar with the president’s planning for his reelection bid.
In previous months, even dating back to when Jen Psaki served as the White House press secretary, Biden informally has acknowledged his intent to pursue a second term in office.
Other politicians also have provided clues to what Biden might do. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was once considered a good bet to run for president, already has said he won’t pursue the White House in 2024.
January has not been a drama-free month for Biden. In the past two weeks, the White House and Department of Justice have acknowledged that Biden, during his time as vice president to President Barack Obama, a position that holds no declassification powers, stored three separate batches of classified documents at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., and at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where documents were found in his “locked” garage.
The matter might not be settled for months, now that Attorney General Merrick Garland has assigned special counsel Robert Hur to Biden’s case.
The documents issue “is the kind of thing that can consume a lot of oxygen,” one Democratic Party strategist told The Hill. “You think it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, and maybe it isn’t. But it ends up overtaking much of the campaign.”
Conversely, one Democrat strategist believes Biden’s ordeal might serve him well, since it could become a good comparison to former President Donald Trump’s own documents dispute, should Biden and Trump square off in the 2024 presidential election.
“This is a false equivalency by House Republicans to try and paint them in a similar shade of corruption, despite Biden’s lifetime of service to the country,” Cooper Teboe, who works with a pro-Biden political action committee, told The Hill.
“No one should defend taking classified documents home,” said Teboe. “But the situations surrounding the Trump documents versus the Biden documents are worlds apart. President Biden immediately followed procedure upon his team’s discovery of the documents versus President Trump who personally took the documents home with him and tried to hide them for a year — right after his failed coup attempt.”
“Trump doesn’t have to prove anything [with declassification verification]; the government has to prove the opposite,” said Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and an expert on the U.S. Constitution.
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