As President Joe Biden is rumored to soon announce a 2024 bid for re-election, the developing investigation into several batches of classified documents found in his possession could cause turmoil for a potential campaign.
Last week, news broke of three sets of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center and in two separate locations at the president’s home in Wilmington, Delaware. On Saturday, White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber revealed that five additional pages of classified materials were found at Biden’s home on Thursday when attorneys with security clearances went to the location.
Though many Democratic and Republican strategists believe the classified documents scandal won’t play a major role in Biden’s 2024 aspirations, some political insiders told Fox News Digital that it’s still not an ideal situation for a president seeking re-election — particularly as it opens Biden up to GOP attacks.
“It’s never good when there’s a special prosecutor appointed. It’s definitely not a place I’d want to be in as we try to put the pieces together of a re-election campaign,” said a Democratic strategist and veteran of presidential campaigns, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.
Kevin Walling, a Democratic strategist, said he does not think the documents will affect Biden’s decision to run for re-election.
“I think the president from what I’ve seen and heard has made up his mind to run, and clearly he knew that this was likely to be an issue when the documents were turned over last fall, he was down with his family in the Caribbean. And all indications are that he’s running for office, and that he plans to run hard and win,” Walling said. “So I don’t think this is going to actually affect his thinking on 2024 whatsoever.”
On Fox News’ “Outnumbered” Friday, conservative commentator Tomi Lahren speculated that the Democratic Party might use the situation to separate themselves from Biden and recruit a new Democrat nominee for the 2024 election.
Brad Woodhouse, a Democratic strategist, told Fox News Digital the “misplaced” classified documents wouldn’t be an issue in 2024.
“I don’t think President Biden’s textbook approach to correctly handling the discovery of misplaced documents will have any impact on his re-election if he decides to run,” Woodhouse said, saying that the controversy does not compare to that of the documents found at Trump’s home. “The difference between the two is apples and rotten oranges.”
Biden said it is his “intention” to run for re-election next cycle, but has not yet made an official announcement.
“At this stage, I don’t think this scandal alone will prevent President Biden from pursuing a second term, but it weakens one of his primary lines of attack against former President Trump if he is the GOP nominee,” Giancarlo Sopo, a Republican strategist, told Fox News Digital. “The biggest risk for Democrats is that it could demoralize their voters, especially if the DOJ’s investigation escalates.”
“President Biden handed the GOP a potent political gift,” said Republican strategist Colin Reed. “Just ask former President Hillary Clinton how questions about the mishandling of classified information can impact the prospects of a campaign. It’s a non ideological issue that resonates with voters across the spectrum. Biden’s ability to weather the storm will determine not only the prospect of his 2024 chances, but also the remainder of his first term.”
Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic campaign strategist, told Fox News Digital that the content of the documents will determine whether a Biden re-election is attainable — but he fully expects Republicans to use Biden’s classified documents investigation as ammunition.
“It depends on the quantity and depends on the content of the documents. But what it does do is it increases the laugh track sound at Mar-a-Lago because it just reduces, for many people, the anger about Trump and his documents and makes it easier for Biden to be criticized.”
“Because they’re probably laughing their heads off at Mar-a-Lago and all this does is increase the volume of that laugh,” Sheinkopf said of the ongoing investigation into documents found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. “And it makes Republicans feel that they’re empowered and that Biden is somehow much more vulnerable and Democrats are much more vulnerable because he leads the Democrat Party.”
Joe Caiazzo, a longtime Democratic strategist who worked on numerous presidential campaigns, says this current controversy won’t be on the minds of voters in 2024. “In two years from now when people go to the polls,” he said, “what they’re going to be focused on is, did the president take action on their prescription drug costs? Did the president take action on climate change? Did the president take action on inflation? And the answer to that question is, yes he did.”
Days after additional classified materials were found in Biden’s home, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate the situation.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.