Pseudonym Joe: How Biden used personal email to share some government business with son Hunter
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer is now pressing National Archives to release unredacted emails between Biden, his son and business partners.
In late November 2014 -- before the rest of the world knew that American Martin O'Connor was about to be released from detention in Turkey -- the U.S. embassy in Istanbul sent an email to the State Department that was then forwarded to senior advisers to then-Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama White House point man for many foreign policy crises.
"The lead attorney for Mr. O'Connor reports that the court granted the detention appeal and he expected Mr. O'Connor to be released from jail today, barring any unforeseen problems," the U.S. embassy in Istanbul wrote in an email that got forwarded to top Obama administration security and diplomacy officials, including current Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland. "Mr. O'Connor will not be allowed to leave the country until his next hearing which is set for December 11, 2014. The lawyer expressed confidence that he will be able to leave after that hearing. The attorney is handling his release arrangements, pick up and temporary housing near his law firm's office. Istanbul consular plans to speak with Mr. O'Connor after his release."
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 the private email account firstname.lastname@example.org. It wasn't just any private account. It was one of three pseudonym accounts used by Joe Biden.
Soon after the then-vice president would forward the information to his globetrotting son Hunter Biden with the subject line "Fwd: Mr. O'Connor Being Released from Detention today."
The email is one of more than a dozen that Just the News obtained and reviewed over the last two years showing how Joe Biden's personal email accounts were sometimes used during his first White House tenure to forward government information or discuss government business with his son.
The practice is now at the center of the expanding congressional investigation into the Bidens' foreign business dealings as House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer demands the National Archives turn over unredacted copies 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 Thursday to Colleen Shogam, the head of the 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.
Comer's inquiry was prompted by an email quietly released in January as part of the Obama presidential archives. In it, a White House staffer writes Joe Biden on a personal pseudonym email account named Robert L. Peters about a planned call with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The staffer copied Hunter Biden's email address at Rosemont Seneca Partners.
At the time, Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company called Burisma Holdings that was deemed to be corrupt by the Obama-Biden State Department.
"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 National Archives released a handful of other emails, some redacted, with other private communications. Comer said he needed the fully unredacted emails, making what is known as a "special access" request to the National Archives. His inquiry identified at least three pseudonym email accounts Joe Biden used under the names Robert Peters, Robin Ware, and JRB Ware.
Such private pseudonym accounts have caused heartburn for prior politicians. Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server led to a full-blown FBI criminal investigation that tarnished her 2016 campaign. Mitt Romney, likewise, was forced to admit he had a Twitter account under the pseudonym Pierre Delecto.
You can read the full letter here.
Just the News found several emails between Joe and Hunter Biden usin the pseudonym accounts. Messages, sometimes signed "Dad," were found on a Hunter Biden laptop seized by the FBI in December 2019 from a Delaware computer shop owner.
Some of the messages from the vice president to his son obtained by Just the News were deeply personal, others were political in nature, and still others clearly addressed business matters, often forwarding information coming from senior officials in the White House, the State Department and other government agencies.
One such email involved current Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
In January 2013, Blinken emailed Joe Biden at his private email recounting a colleague's conversation about the Pulitzer-winning journalist, author and screenwriter Richard Ben Cramer's last minutes before dying. At the time, Blinken was Joe Biden's national security adviser.
"Called to say that he was with Richard Ben Cramer in the hospital before the latter passed and they were talking about you till the end," Blinken wrote the vice president and his family, including Hunter Biden. "Richard apparently said he was gratified the country is finally finding out what he knew about your leadership and talents many years ago."
Hunter Biden on a few occasions reached out directly to his father on the private email address to ask for help, the memos from the laptop show. In January 2012, for instance, Hunter Biden forwarded a request to have the vice president prepare a video message for an event honoring Texas Democratic activist Ben Barnes.
"We are working on it," the vice president wrote his son in reply.
On another occasion in June 2014, Hunter Biden suggested someone he wanted to see appointed as a detailee to the Treasury Department. "Before you fill the positions, pls talk to me," Hunter Biden wrote his father.
The vice president responded, "Call me right away, Dad."
Politics, including the potential for Biden to run for president in 2016, were sometimes the subject of emails coming to and from the RobinWare456@gmail.com account.
Former U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman, who succeeded Biden as a Delaware senator after serving decades as his chief of staff, sent an email Nov. 3, 2014 that included a Wall Street Journal article negative to Hillary Clinton, a potential 2016 challenger to Biden before the vice president declined to run that year. The article was entitled "Hillary Clinton's Wall Street problem."
"In case you missed it," Kaufman wrote Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden's late son Beau. The subject line read, "Excellent."
When a poll came out showing the late Beau Biden was still popular as attorney general in Delaware, the vice president used his private email to applaud.
"Strong," he wrote, signing it with his name "Joe."
Sometimes, Vice President Biden's messages to his son took a more personal note, like the day the Wall Street Journal broke the story in October 2014 that Hunter Biden had been discharged from the Navy over a positive cocaine test.
"Good as it could be," Joe Biden wrote in an email chain that included the article forwarded to the vice president's email address by White House staff. "Time to move on, Love Dad."
The vice president also flashed some of his trademark self-deprecating humor, once forwarding an astronomy story suggesting a planet be named for him. From his private email, Joe Biden wrote his family, "Only time in history." The subject line was: "Why I deserve more respect."