National Archives refuses to release emails between Hunter Biden, father's staff
America First Legal on Wednesday released a batch of heavily-redacted emails it received from NARA that showed Hunter Biden advised his father's office during his vice presidency.
The National Archives and Records Administration is refusing to release myriad communications between first son Hunter Biden and his father's staff, asserting they are protected under an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act that covers communications between the president and his advisors, or between advisors.
America First Legal on Wednesday released a batch of heavily-redacted emails it received from NARA that showed Hunter Biden advised his father's office during his vice presidency. The organization obtained the emails from NARA through a FOIA request and has gradually released batches of the materials it obtained. While NARA redacted many of the emails, it further withheld entirely several more, merely confirming their existence.
Of particular interest is a communication from Hunter Biden business partner Eric Schwerin to the Office of the Vice President (OVP) about a "China Lunch" that preceded an official visit from then-Chinese President Hu Jintao to the U.S. in 2011. NARA acknowledged the communication's existence but refused to release it because doing so "would disclose confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors."
The New York Post pointed to emails including Schwerin, OVP staffer Michele Smith, and the then-second son that appeared on his now-infamous laptop and also held the subject line "China Lunch." Those communications appear to show Hunter and Schwerin discussing suggestions for who ought to receive Vice President Biden's invitations to attend a state event. Schwerin later relates Hunter's suggestions to Smith. The outlet noted that none of the emails recovered from the laptop matched the time stamps from the redacted emails but contended that one might if the sender and recipient were in different time zones.
Three communications involve planning for a 2010 trip to Egypt, Kenya, and South Africa by Joe Biden and his wife, Jill. The first email from Hunter was sent to White House staffer Alan Hoffman seeking to arrange a phone call between the pair to "talk about Africa." The second email Hunter sent occurred after the call with Hoffman. It was sent to the second lady's advisor, Anthony Bernal.
The email, which reportedly addressed "Nairobi ideas," presumably referencing the Bidens' visit to Kenya, was redacted entirely by NARA on the grounds that it would disclose "confidential advice between the President and his advisors, or between such advisors." A third email that NARA also withheld completely was entitled "Summary Africa."
In an apparently unrelated communication from 2010, a pair of Office of the Vice President staffers discuss a "letter request from Hunter" in which one appeared to ask the other to write a letter to the brother of a Biden campaign supporter at Hunter's request.
The email chain appears to show that campaign supporter Rick Vitali reached out to Hunter to secure some communication from then-VP Biden to his brother, Sam Vitali. Hunter subsequently went to a business partner, who then reached out to her brother in the OVP.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.