It started in August when the FBI carried out an unprecedented search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and carted away boxes of what the government revealed were secret materials he should not have left the White House with.
It appeared the former president was in serious legal peril, particularly once it emerged that he’d sidestepped efforts by the National Archives to retrieve the materials, and after attorney general Merrick Garland said special counsel Jack Smith would look into the matter.
But then, in January, it was revealed Joe Biden had found classified documents from his time as vice president at a former office in Washington DC, and later at his home in Delaware. When it was revealed that the White House discovered this just prior to the November midterm elections but didn’t make the news public, Republicans pounced. Earlier this month, Garland announced the appointment of another special counsel, Robert Hur, to handle the investigation into the Biden case.
Then yesterday, news broke that the former vice president under Trump, Mike Pence, also found classified materials in his home in Indiana. That discovery has prompted something of a tonal shift in Washington, with both Democratic and Republican politicians now wondering if there isn’t a larger issue to be addressed with the government’s classification process – or perhaps its procedures for presidential transitions.