By Ashe O
Washington, Aug 25 : US President Joe Biden claimed on Wednesday that he had no advance notice on the FBI raid on his predecessor Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago (Florida) residence that led to the seizure of 11 boxes of classified documents which the Department of Justice considers evidence to book the former President under the espionage act.
Some documents related to the CIA, FBI and intelligence reports of third countries’ nuclear threats.
“I didn’t have any advance notice. None, zero. Not one single bit. Thank you,” replied Biden when asked by a journalist about it after he concluded his speech announcing student forgiveness. Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked the President if he knew about the raid ahead of time. “Mr President, how much advance notice did you have of the FBI’s plan to search Mar-a-Lago,” he asked.
The August 8 raid resulted in the FBI confiscating hundreds of documents allegedly classified that Trump allegedly took when he left office in January 2021. Attorney General Merrick Garland has said that he personally approved seeking the search warrant. The White House has denied being given a heads-up prior to the raid.
“The President was not briefed, was not aware of it,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre had said on August 9 a day after the raid. She had said “no one at the White House was given a heads-up”.
Biden announced he is forgiving up to $20,000 in debt of Pell Grant recipients for individuals making less than $125,000 annually and couples making under $250,000 annually. Other student debt up to $10,000 will be forgiven for those under those same qualifications.
The President also extended the moratorium on student loan payments for the last time. The moratorium, which was implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will end on December 31.
He also capped repayment of undergraduate loans at 5 percent of monthly income. An estimated 43 million borrowers can receive some form of relief under Biden’s new plan, with nearly half of them seeing their debt completely wiped off.
Progressive Democrats criticised Biden’s plan because it fell short of wider cancellation.
Meanwhile, Biden recalled his college days and his education during the speech on debt forgiveness, when he said in his opening remarks that his father’s own struggle to pay his (Biden’s) higher education bills informed his decision to grant the relief.
“My dad was like millions of parents all across the country,” Biden said. “He believed, as I do, that an education was a ticket to a better life… but over time, that ticket has become too expensive.”
Biden, 79, received an undergraduate degree in political science and history from the University of Delaware in 1965, according to the university’s website. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Law school at Syracuse University in New York in 1968, according to the law school’s magazine.
He has championed the fact that he attended a state school, in consonance with his long-embraced nickname “Middle-Class Joe”. He is also the first President to not have attended an Ivy League school since Ronald Reagan, according to Newsweek.
“I remember my senior year, I got into one of the little ‘Ivy’s’ and I got into a number of other schools,” Biden said on Wednesday, as he recounted his family’s struggle to get the money to pay for an expensive education.