Whoopi Goldberg suggested that President Joe Biden might have declassified the classified documents found in his possession in a Tuesday segment of “The View.”
The host of the talk show brought up the powers of presidents and vice presidents to declassify documents.
“Presidents and vice presidents can declassify these,” Goldberg said of the documents found in Biden’s personal possession.
“If these guys can declassify — presidents and vice presidents can declassify — are we chasing our tail with some of this?”
“The View” co-host Alyssa Griffin pushed back on Goldberg’s suggestion that Biden had declassified the documents in the segment.
Whoopi Goldberg claims Biden declassified all documents when he was vice president. pic.twitter.com/bBlywBspoe
— Real Mac Report (@RealMacReport) January 24, 2023
“For President Biden to declassify something, there has to be evidence he did in fact declassify it,” she said.
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There’s one major problem with Goldberg’s description of events.
There’s no reason to believe that Biden declassified the material found in his possession.
The vice president has limited powers to declassify materials. These powers are much lesser than those of the president — who has broad powers to declassify documents at his own discretion.
There’s no way to determine whether Biden actually declassified the material that was found at his home and at an office associated with the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Biden Center.
There isn’t a way to tell if Biden even had the authority to declassify the documents he kept from his tenure as vice president.
The Obama administration outlined specific cases in which documents can be declassified by the vice president (and other federal officials) in a 2009 executive order.
If the documents found at Biden’s office in November were in fact declassified by Biden — as president or vice president — it’s likely they would never have become a matter worthy of the federal government’s attention.
For Goldberg’s suggestion to be true, both the Department of Justice and White House would have had to erroneously assume the documents found in Biden’s possession to be classified when they actually were not.
Biden hasn’t claimed that the documents turned over to the Department of Justice are actually declassified.