Archives locates 82,000 pages of Joe Biden pseudonym emails, possibly dwarfing Clinton scandal
Disclosure made in little-notice status briefing as FOIA litigation advances
Under legal pressure, the National Archives has located 82,000 pages of emails that President Joe Biden sent or received during his vice presidential tenure on three private pseudonym accounts, a total that potentially dwarfs the amount that landed Hillary Clinton in hot water a decade ago, according to a federal court filing released Monday.
The total of Biden private email exchanges was disclosed Monday in a little-noticed status report filed in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought against the National Archives and Records Administration by the nonprofit public interest law firm the Southeastern Legal Foundation.
The foundation brought the lawsuit seeking access to the emails after Just the News revealed a year ago that Joe Biden had used three pseudonym email accounts -- firstname.lastname@example.org, JRBWare@gmail.com, and Robert.L.Peters@pci.gov – during the time he served as President Barack Obama’s vice president.
The status report filed Monday in a federal court in Atlanta was the first to provide an estimate of the size and scope of possible government business conducted through Joe Biden’s private email accounts.
“NARA has completed a search for potentially responsive documents and is currently processing those documents for the purpose of producing non-exempt portions of any responsive records on a monthly rolling basis,” the status report stated. “Given the scope of Plaintiff’s FOIA request, which seeks copies of all emails in three separate accounts over an eight-year period, the volume of potentially responsive records is necessarily large.
“NARA has identified approximately 82,000 pages of potentially responsive documents, and it is currently processing those documents and preparing any non-exempt responsive documents for production on a rolling basis,” the filing added.
You can read the full court filing here.
The court filing added that the foundation and NARA are discussing ways to narrow the request for records to get copies of the emails out in a more expeditious manner.
Government officials' use of private email for official business is discouraged under the law, and officials like Biden are required to preserve all government-related emails conducted on their private accounts under the Federal Records Act. The fact that NARA has such a large collection suggests Biden gave those emails to the nation’s history-preserving agency.
The total revealed by the Archives, however, is stunning in size, even dwarfing the total from the most infamous private email scandal in American history involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which also involved government business on Obama’s watch.
A State Department inspector general report in summer 2016 found Mrs. Clinton improperly used a private email server stored in her family’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y., to regularly conduct government business and later deleted many of the emails she considered to be private.
“Secretary Clinton produced to the Department from her personal email account approximately 55,000 hard-copy pages, representing approximately 30,000 emails that she believed related to official business,” the final report noted. Those totals are significantly smaller than the amount of pages the National Archives says it has from Biden’s personal account.
The IG noted there was a lax record-keeping system at State and across government that needed modernizing and impacted several prior secretaries.
You can read that full report here.
Internal investigations concluded that about 100 emails Clinton moved through her private server contained information that should have been deemed classified at the time they were sent, including 65 emails at the "Secret" level and 22 at "Top Secret" security clearance.
Eventually, the government recovered even Mrs. Clinton's personal emails that had been deleted and released all of them under FOIA, totaling about 52,000.
To date, there is no indication from the National Archives in the court case that any of Biden’s email contain classified information. However, the president is under criminal investigation by Special Counsel Robert Hur for taking classified documents from his time as vice president and as a senator and storing them improperly in insecure locations in the garage of his Delaware home and a think tank office he kept in Washington D.C.
Hur recently spent two days interview Biden in that investigation.
Former President Donald Trump has already been indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith for mishandling classified documents the FBI recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida or that Trump returned to the Archives belatedly.