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Saturday, January 28, 2023
There’s no hiding Biden’s fright over classified document scandal
Miranda Devine: Biden treated the University of Pennsylvania as his play pen
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Joe Biden is panicking.
An astonishing fifth trove of classified documents was discovered in the president’s Delaware mansion Friday, not by his own lawyers this time, but during a more thorough, 13-hour search by the Department of Justice while he holed up in his beach house in Rehoboth, which ought to be next on the DOJ search list.
His long-term trusted factotum Ron Klain is bailing out.
And someone at the White House is throwing his trusted longtime executive assistant Kathy Chung under the bus. The Washington Post quoted an anonymous insider last week saying that Chung “has confided to associates that she is distressed that she might have inadvertently been involved in moving or storing classified material at the center, planting the seeds of the current uproar.” The fact that the loyal Chung was personally poached by Hunter Biden in 2012 to work for his father in the VP’s office apparently counts for nothing when it comes to offloading blame from the president.
That’s why Biden looked like a cornered rat in California last week (with aspiring heir Gavin Newsom leering over his shoulder) and lied through his teeth.
First, he snapped at a reporter who asked about the scandal and then dismissed the question as “a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place.”
Then he effectively issued a warning to Garland.
“I think you’re gonna find there’s nothing there,” he told reporters. “I have no regrets … There’s no there there.”
No there there? What a joke.
The no-there-there defense may have worked for Biden back in the 2020 campaign, when he repeatedly claimed to know nothing about his son’s overseas business dealings, and when the mythology of “Honest Joe” hadn’t collapsed, but no more. Too much evidence has emerged from Hunter’s laptop, from Hunter’s former business partners, from the “Twitter files” and from FBI whistleblowers alleging a cover-up of staggering proportions.
The first tranche of at least 10 classified documents reportedly was found in the fall at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, and were kept secret by the White House until after the midterm elections. They were dated between 2013 and 2016 and included US intelligence memos and briefing materials on Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to CNN.
Ties to Hunter portfolio
This is the thread that links the president to the long-running Delaware federal investigation into his son’s foreign business dealings.
That three-year period corresponds to the most frenetic influence-peddling activity overseas by his son Hunter and brother Jim Biden, who made millions of dollars from shady interests in Ukraine, China, Russia and elsewhere.
How much more valuable their product would be if they had access to classified documents?
Their activity is documented in the Hunter laptop, in financial documents held by the Treasury, and in testimony from Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski, who said Joe was the “big guy” slated to get 10% from a particularly lucrative Chinese deal.
Hunter traveled on Air Force 2 with his father to do private business during that period, including to China in December 2013. He organized the infamous Cafe Milano dinner for Joe to meet his business partners from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in April 2015.
After his separation from his wife in July 2015, Hunter lived off and on at his father’s Delaware mansion and listed it as his residence on official documents. He was photographed in 2017 driving his father’s Corvette, which was housed in the very garage where classified documents have been found.
Hunter also had free rein in his dad’s White House office, and his privileged access meant his name never showed up on visitor logs. For instance, he took the infamous photo of his then-“best friend in business,” Devon Archer, with his father in the VP’s office in April 2014, shortly before the pair joined the board of the corrupt Ukrainian oil company Burisma, which paid Hunter $83,000 a month. That photo ended up briefly on the Burisma website before being taken down on the instructions of a White House lawyer.
One striking email during this period stands out. It was from Hunter to Archer on April 13, 2014, a week before Joe Biden visited Ukraine to meet then-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and refers to “my guys upcoming travels.”
For Hunter, it was an uncharacteristically lengthy email, listing 22 points about Ukraine’s political situation, with detailed information about the upcoming election and predicting an escalation of Russia’s “destabilization campaign, which could lead to a full-scale takeover of the eastern region, most critically Donetsk.
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“The strategic value is to create a land bridge for RU to Crimea. That won’t directly affect Burisma holdings but it will limit future UK exploration and utilization of offshore opportunities in particular,” Hunter wrote.
“It will also result in further destabilization of UK nationally and for whatever govt is in power. And the US will respond with even stronger sanctions. Those sanctions will threaten the tenuous support of the EU which does not have the political will to incur steep energy price increases.”
In point 22, Hunter instructed Archer to buy a “burner phone,” presumably to keep their conversations private. “Buy a cell phone from a 7/11 or CVS tmrw and ill do the same.”
It’s a prescient and very well-informed email, unlike anything else Hunter wrote in the nine years covered in the laptop, and it has the distinct flavor of an official briefing, perhaps even a classified one.
The four latest batches
The last four tranches of classified documents were discovered in President Biden’s Delaware mansion during four separate searches — between Dec. 20 and Friday.
While there is no indication of the subject matter, Biden’s personal attorney Bob Bauer issued a statement Saturday evening saying the DOJ search the previous day had discovered “six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President’s service in the Senate and some of which were from his tenure as Vice President. DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years.”
Now the country faces the historic spectacle of a sitting president and a former president, Donald Trump, both facing special counsel investigations over alleged improper retention of classified records.
Biden hasn’t faced the FBI raid and leaking abuses that his predecessor endured, but it’s the same crime and, in Biden’s case, there is a hell of a lot of there there.
If special counsel Robert Hur does his job properly, he will be comparing notes with Delaware US Attorney David Weiss, who has been investigating Hunter since 2018.
Accountability is coming for Joe Biden, and no amount of dark money groups leaking false narratives to the media will save him.