Biden White House stonewalls two key senators in inquiry into president's use of private email
White House counsel has not responded to letter seeking answers about whether Joe Biden had a Hillary Clinton problem.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
The White House failed to meet a deadline last month to provide information to two key Republican senators concerning Joe Biden's use of a private email account as vice president to send government information to his son Hunter Biden.
Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republicans on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the Senate Judiciary Committee respectively, asked White House Counsel Dana Ann Remus in a July 30 letter to answer whether Biden used one or more private email accounts as vice president, whether he is using any today as president and whether government-related emails in the private accounts were preserved as required by the Federal Records Act.
Their letter was prompted by articles published in Just the News and the New York Post that released copies of emails purportedly from Joe Biden to White House staff during his vice presidency and to his son Hunter Biden that involved official government business.
"If these reports are accurate, it is unclear whether then-Vice President Biden forwarded these and related emails to a government account to ensure that they satisfied federal recordkeeping and archival requirements," Johnson and Grassley wrote. "Further, it is unclear whether now-President Biden has continued the use of non-government email for official business and whether he has continued to provide government information to his family members, including Hunter Biden."
You can read the letter here:
Just the News reported in mid-July that emails recovered from a Hunter Biden laptop turned over to the FBI included messages signed "Dad" from the email address email@example.com to the younger Biden.
One of them, in late November 2014, included information from the U.S. embassy in Istanbul to the State Department providing an early alert that an American named Martin O'Connor was about to be released from detention in Turkey. State Department officials forwarded the information to the vice president's office, where Biden aide Colin Kahl (now President Biden's Undersecretrary of Defense for Policy) sent it to Joe Biden's private email. The vice president then sent it to his son Hunter Biden with the subject line "Fwd: Mr. O'Connor Being Released from Detention today."
The New York Post reported Joe Biden and Obama White House aides appeared to use two other private email pseudonyms — "Robert L. Peters" and "JRB ware" — to pass family and official business to Hunter Biden.
For instance, the Post reported, during a four-week period in 2016, a vice presidential aide sent Joe Biden his official daily schedule and similar information at least 10 times to the private email address Robert.L.Peters@pci.gov and copied Hunter Biden. One of the emails copying Biden's son included information that the vice president was having a phone call with Ukrainian President Poroshenko during a time when Hunter Biden had significant business interests in Ukraine.
Legal experts said the emails raised questions similar to those provoked by Hillary Clinton's use of private email to conduct State Department business as Secretary of State, including whether emails were preserved for the National Archives.
The senators also raised concerns in their letter about the possible transmission of U.S. government information to Hunter Biden and possible conflicts of interest.
"As you are undoubtedly aware, Hunter Biden served on the board of the corrupt Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, at that time and information relating to any communication between the United States Government and Ukrainian Government could have been of interest to Hunter Biden and his colleagues at Burisma," they noted.
The senators asked the White House to provide information and answers they sought by Aug. 13. It did not comply.
Johnson's office confirmed Wednesday it had not received a reply.
“You would think after the Hillary Clinton email scandal, we wouldn’t see another blatant abuse of private emails by administration officials. But President Biden has continued the long tradition of politicians (especially Democrats because the press never holds them accountable) who believe they don’t have to follow the rules,” Johnson said.
“We will probably never know how compromised Biden is because of his foreign financial entanglements, but we are seeing the rolling disasters that are the hallmark of his administration. God help us over the next three and a half years,” he added.