Step aside Hillary, Joe Biden may become king of email scandals as new stash alarms investigators
Mountain of evidence? More than 82,000 private emails authored by Joe Biden under different names and located by the National Archives could be boon to Biden investigators and to a public with a right to know what its leaders have said and done.
The National Archives’ stunning admission that it has located 82,000 pages of potentially government-related emails from Joe Biden’s pseudonymous private accounts not only threatens to supplant Hillary Clinton in the annals of email scandals, it could also provide a boon to the ongoing federal and congressional investigations into the Biden family.
The public is also sure to scrutinize the matter in upcoming elections.
The admission came out Monday as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the non-profit Southeastern Legal Foundation.
“We're duty bound to make sure that everybody's following the law here. And it sure looks like that's questionable at this moment,” Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a member of the House Oversight Committee that is conducting the Biden impeachment inquiry right now, said hours after the revelation.
Perry told the John Solomon Reports podcast that lawmakers in Congress must take action to ensure all the emails are preserved given the history of Hillary Clinton’s team trying to delete her private emails or to destroy the devices they were stored on.
“We knew the left were going to do this,” Perry said of the extensive use of private email. “Hillary taught us and why would we think that Joe Biden would be any different?
“And as long as that's the case, I think we got to make sure that, you know, that Joe Biden doesn't have a hammer, sitting close to his phone, or, you know, I don't know what they smashed him with hammers, I don't know, if they set them on fire, they use bleachbit on the server,” he said. “I mean, we got to make sure that the American people can see what was so important to keep from the American people as one of the highest elected officials in the land. And the only way to do that is to make sure that that stuff is preserved."
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who first raised questions about President Biden’s use of private email years ago, said the discovery of the emails should be combed for potential evidence by every investigator from Congress to the Justice Department.
“It’s stunning, but when you consider the lawlessness of this administration, I guess it's not surprising,” Johnson told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show Monday evening just hours after word of the email discovery broke.
Johnson and Sen. Chuck Grassley first inquired to the White House counsel in June 2021 about Biden’s use of private email as vice president. “We've been stiffed ever since so, you know, kudos to the folks who've done this who've done the FOIA and least has to have this revelation,” he said, wondering aloud whether President Barack Obama will claim executive privilege to delay any releases. Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder had previously claimed "executive privilege" in refusing to turn over documents in the "Fast and Furious" scandal.
“We'll see exactly, you know, to what extent the Obama administration will allow these records to be released and whether Congress will ever get these things right now,” he added.
Under legal pressure, the National Archives has confirmed to a court that it has located 82,000 pages of emails that Biden sent or received during his vice presidential tenure on three private pseudonym accounts. It’s a total that potentially dwarfs the amount that landed Hillary Clinton in hot water a decade ago.
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 – email@example.com, 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.
Michael Chamberlain, head of the citizen watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust that regularly fights FOIA lawsuits told the "John Solomon Reports" podcast on Monday that federal law limits government executives use of private email for official business to very limited circumstances.
“Eight-two thousand pages is way more than very limited circumstances,” he said, noting Biden would have average of 30 pages a day of private emails if the figures from the Archives are correct.
The total revealed by the Archives dwarfs the original tally 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 secret private email server stored in a bathroom closet 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 it 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 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.
Perry said he will be inquiring whether the FBI or DOJ has ever reviewed the Biden email stash located by the National Archives for relevant criminal investigations involving Hunter Biden or Biden’s handling of classified information and whether prosecutors ever considered charges for possible violations of the Federal Records Act.
“We don't have any reason to believe at this point, if the FBI and the Department of Justice weren't interested in any of this in the first place, that they're going to be interested in any kind of prosecution for these violations of law,” he lamented.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has already demanded the National Archives turn over unredacted copies of all emails Joe Biden sent his son and Hunter's top business partners during his time in the Obama administration.
"The Committee’s need for these Vice-Presidential records is specific and well- documented," Comer wrote recently to Colleen Shogam, the head of the National Archives and Records Administration. "The Committee seeks to craft legislative solutions aimed at deficiencies it has identified in the current legal framework regarding ethics laws and disclosure of financial interests related to the immediate family members of Vice Presidents and Presidents— deficiencies that may place American national security and interests at risk."
You can read the full letter here.
In one instance in November 2014, for instance, Joe Biden forwarded to Hunter Biden an email containing an early heads up from the U.S. embassy in Istanbul that Turkey was about to release an American prisoner named Martin O’Connor.
And in May 2016, Biden’s vice presidential staff sent an email to Joe Biden’s private account and copied Hunter Biden alerting the future first son that his father was having a phone briefing with Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, where Hunter Biden had substantial business with the energy firm Burisma Holdings.
"Boss--8:45am prep for 9am phone call with Pres Poroshenko. Then we're off to Rhode Island for infrastructure event and then Wilmington for UDel commencement," the staffer wrote the then-vice president. "Nate will have your draft remarks delivered later tonight or with your press clips in the morning."
You can read that email here.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit
- 22 at "Top Secret" security clearance
- "Fast and Furious" scandal
- totaling about 52,000
- James Comer has already demanded the National Archives
- Just the News previously reported that Joe Bidenâs private email account was used on occasion to send sensitive information to his son
- prisoner named Martin O’Connor