AP: Documents Probe Dents Biden’s Claims to Competence, “Incredibly Careless and Really Quite Shocking.”

When Joe Biden was running for president, he offered himself to Americans as the kind of leader they wouldn’t have to think about after the tumult of his predecessor’s years in the Oval Office. But an excruciating week of awkward disclosures and the appointment of a special counsel to investigate classified records found at his Delaware home and a former office dating to his time as vice president is beginning to strain his claim to competence.

The surprise revelations that on at least four different occasions Biden’s lawyers found improperly stored classified documents and official records evoked the turmoil surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency, a four-year ruckus from which Biden has tried to move the country past. In the latest development, the White House acknowledged on Saturday that Biden’s lawyers had turned up even more such documents at the home than previously known.

It’s an embarrassment to Biden, and the selection of a special counsel to investigate potential criminal wrongdoing in the matter exposes the president to a new, self-inflicted risk.

Further, it complicates the Justice Department’s calculus about whether to bring charges against Trump over his handling of classified material, hands fresh ammunition to newly empowered House Republicans eager to launch investigations and undercuts a central plank of Biden’s pitch to voters just as he looks to launch a reelection bid in the coming months.

“It just won’t be so exhausting,” former President Barack Obama had promised about a Biden presidency in the closing days of the 2020 campaign, adding that voters are “not going to have to think about the crazy things … and that is worth a lot.”

The Biden case is markedly different from Trump’s mishandling of classified documents and official records — not least because Biden’s team voluntarily turned them over to federal officials when they were discovered. Still, it has caused private frustration among Biden allies and some advisers because the president and his team, as billed, were supposed to be better than this.

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