Can Joe Biden be removed under classified documents law?

Can Joe Biden be removed under classified documents law?

NEWS WEEK

The steadily building classified documents controversy surrounding President Joe Biden has led to probing questions of White House security, with a special counsel investigation underway to answer how yet another set of secret papers left Washington D.C.

At least three batches of classified documents have been found at Biden’s residence in Delaware in the past week, following recent reports emerging that such documents were found prior to the midterms at a private D.C. office he used before being elected in 2020.

Also under investigation by the Department of Justice simultaneously is President Donald Trump‘s possession of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a probe which some legal experts have previously told Newsweek could bar him from running for office in 2024.

Some observers of Biden’s classified documents problem are looking at what also may be the consequences for the current president.

One such claim appeared on Facebook, on January 16, 2022, by conservative commentator and activist Benny Johnson, in which Johnson referred to a tweet that highlighted “18 U.S. Code § 2071 – Concealment, removal or mutilation generally.”

Johnson said the tweet shows that “Joe Biden might be removed from office” for holding classified information. “Check this out, U.S. Code 2071, concealment, removal or mutilation of government property,” Johnson said.

“‘Whoever having the custody of such record’—that being a classified record—’proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys’—Joe Biden unlawfully concealed and removed those documents—’they’ll be fined, they’ll be put in prison for three years and they will forfeit their office and be disqualified from holding any other office.

Later in the video (which has been viewed more than 48,000 times, with more than 6,300 engagements) Johnson added “Joe Biden should probably serve out the rest of his term in a prison cell.”

Could Biden leave the White House for a U.S. Code violation?

This section of the U.S. Code was quoted in the FBI search warrant of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, giving authorities the right to seize “all physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items” that were illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C § 2071, among other codes.

Media outlets including Newsweek heard from legal experts that the former president could face charges under this Code which, if violated, could prohibit him from running for office.

Trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek: “His lawyers told him about the law requiring that he preserve White House documents, so he was on notice and that will bolster the case and help prove intent if prosecutors charge Trump…

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