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White House knew Biden had his own document problem before siccing FBI on Trump, new timeline shows

A case of psychological projection? Biden's White House knew that he left boxes of documents at the Penn Biden Center a year before he directed NARA to facilitate FBI's raid on Trump home over documents.

Published: October 11, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: October 12, 2023 8:05am

During the Russia collusion scandal, Republicans often accused Democrats of projecting their sins on their political rivals. After all, Hillary Clinton's family was taking money from Russia long before her campaign paid for the infamous "Steele Dossier" that falsely tried to paint Donald Trump as a stooge of Moscow.

Evidence released Wednesday by House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer is raising similar questions about whether President Joe Biden was trying to pre-emptively deflect attention from his own problems retaining government documents when he sicced the FBI on Trump for similar issues at Mar-a-Lago in spring 2022.

Comer disclosed in a letter to White House Counsel Edward Siskel that Congress has now confirmed that Biden's aides knew as early as March 2021 that the current president had kept government documents at his insecure university think tank office in Washington D.C. They would later be determined to contain classified information.

A year later – with the public unaware of Biden's document predicament – the Biden White House instructed the National Archives to give the FBI access to 15 boxes of government memos —some classified — that Trump had located in his Florida home, kicking a criminal probe of the 45th president into high gear.

“The White House and President Biden’s attorney have provided an incomplete and misleading series of events about his stash of classified documents. The real story starts in March 2021, a year and a half before Biden’s legal team said they discovered classified documents. It appears the White House knew there were Presidential Records Act violations long before they were acknowledged publicly," Chairman Comer said in a statement to Just the News. "The American people need answers about what was known and when it was known about President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents. The House Oversight Committee will continue to pursue the facts and deliver the transparency and accountability that Americans demand.”

Comer's letter formally accused the Biden administration of misleading the American people and Congress by not previously disclosing an early effort by five White House employees and private Biden attorneys to collect the sensitive documents Biden had left behind at the University of Pennsylvania Penn Biden Center.

“The Committee has obtained information that contradicts important details from the White House’s and President Biden’s personal attorney’s statements about the discovery of documents at Penn Biden Center, including the location and security of the classified documents,” Chairman Comer wrote.

“The Committee seeks information to understand why President Biden used significant federal resources, including five White House employees and a Department of Defense employee, to access and secure what were purportedly personal items of President Biden at Penn Biden Center,” he continued later.

You can read Comer’s letter below:

Kash Patel, the former chief investigative counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, who helped unravel the false Russia collusion disinformation, told Just the News on Wednesday night that Comer’s new timeline smacked of another example of Democrats projecting their faults on the Republican rivals.

“The Biden White House lying to the American public to hide its own criminal conduct stems back to Day 1 of his administration,” Patel said. “They directly waived executive privilege so Trump could be prosecuted. They buried comms Hunter had with his father about overseas business ventures, and now we find out they lied about involving themselves with NARA and the fact they had thousands of documents showing their criminality.

”Same corrupt cover playbook,” he added. “They just turned the page.”

Comer’s letter highlighted discrepancies in the timeline provided by the Biden White House and the one that emerged from the information that the committee obtained.

“President Biden’s timeline was incomplete and misleading. It omitted months of communications, planning, and coordinating among multiple White House officials, Ms. [Kathy] Chung, Penn Biden Center employees, and President Biden’s personal attorneys to retrieve the boxes containing classified materials,” Comer said in a statement on Wednesday. “The timeline also omitted multiple visits from at least five White House employees, including Dana Remus, Anthony Bernal, Ashley Williams, Annie Tomasini, and an unknown staffer.”

According to the timeline in Chairman Comer’s letter, Biden White House employees first visited the Penn Biden Center—a think-tank at the University of Pennsylvania—to “take inventory of President Biden’s documents and materials,” in March of 2021, more than a year before President Biden’s lawyers claimed that “what appear[ed] to be Obama-Biden Administration records, including a small number of documents with classified markings” were first discovered at the center on November 2, 2022.

Over the course of the following 20 months between the initial discovery and the date that Biden’s lawyers claim the documents were discovered, at least five current and former Biden White House employees visited the Penn Biden Center to take possession, sort through, and catalogue the various boxes of documents. 

Thirteen months after the first Biden White House employee took inventory of the documents at the center,  and long before Biden’s lawyers publicly acknowledged the “discovery” of the documents, the White House Counsel’s Office transmitted a request that NARA give the FBI access to the 15 boxes obtained from the raid on Mar-a-Lago, according to internal NARA communications obtained by Just the News earlier this year.

“On April 11, 2022, the White House Counsel's Office — affirming a request from the Department of Justice supported by an FBI letterhead memorandum — formally transmitted a request that NARA provide the FBI access to the 15 boxes for its review within seven days, with the possibility that the FBI might request copies of specific documents following its review of the boxes," the Archives wrote in a May 10, 2022 letter to Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran.

You can read the letter below:

This letter was part of a trove of internal NARA communications obtained by Just the News which show that the records administrators repeatedly interacted with the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents. This contradicts the claims from NARA it handed the investigation off to the FBI "after" discovering the classified information in Trump’s possession.

“When NARA identified items marked as classified national security information within the 15 boxes, NARA referred this issue to the DOJ," acting Archivist Debra Wall wrote Rep. Mike Turner (R-Oh.), now the House Intelligence Committee chairman, on Aug. 16, 2022. "Since that time, the DOJ has been exclusively responsible for all aspects of this investigation, and NARA has not been involved in the DOJ investigation or any searches that it has conducted.”

NARA used this claim as a reason to stonewall further questions by congressional investigators into its handling of the cases. "Accordingly, NARA is unable to provide a briefing or any documents in response to your letter, and we refer you to the DOJ," Wall wrote in a response to Rep. Turner’s inquiry.

You can read that exchange below:

Below is a timeline that addresses Chairman Comer’s allegations and the Biden Administration’s classified documents investigation into Donald Trump:

March 18, 2021— Annie Tomasini (Assistant to the President) visited the Penn Biden Center to take inventory of President Biden’s documents.

May 6, 2021— NARA asks Donald Trump to turn over any Presidential records he kept when leaving the White House, according to AP.

January 17, 2022— Donald Trump turns over 15 boxes of documents to NARA. The documents are found to include some with classified markings.

February 9, 2022— NARA refers the Trump documents case to the Justice Department.

March 30, 2022— The FBI opens its investigation into Trump over the classified documents.

April 11, 2022— The White House Counsel’s office asks NARA to facilitate access to the 15 boxes of material taken from Mar-a-Lago.

May 24, 2022— Dana Remus (former White House Counsel and Assistant to the President) contacted Kathy Chung (Department of Defense, former Assistant to Vice President Biden) to retrieve Biden’s documents from the Penn Biden Center.

August 8, 2022— Former President Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, is raided by the FBI as part of its investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified information.

June 28, 2022— Kathy Chung travels to the Penn Biden Center to collect the documents.

June 30, 2022— Dana Remus, Anthony Bernal (Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the First Lady), and another White House employee went to Penn Biden Center to collect the documents, but could not fit them in their vehicle.

October 12, 2022— Ashley Williams (Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Oval Office Operations) and Pat Moore (President Biden’s personal attorney) went to Penn Biden Center to do “the next wave of assessing of files and looking at boxes.”

October 13, 2022— Ashley Williams returns to the Penn Biden Center and left with some of the boxes.

October 13, 2022— Bob Bauer (President Biden’s personal attorney) texted Kathy Chung that Pat Moore had begun his sorting through the boxes at the center.

November 2, 2022— President Biden’s attorney’s claim they “unexpectedly discovered” documents from the Obama-Biden Administration at the Penn Biden Center and notified NARA of the “discovery."

Nothing in Comer's letter asks about the classified documents Biden had stored in his unsecured garage where family members – including Hunter Biden – may have had access.

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