As bad as Hillary’s email scandal was --- thousands of official State Department documents kept secret on a private server --- President Biden’s looks to be potentially much worse, at least in terms of scale.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), finally responding to a lawsuit by the nonprofit public interest law firm the Southeast Legal Foundation, said in a federal court filing in Atlanta on Monday that it has found 82,000 pages (!) of emails that Joe Biden sent or received under one of three pseudonyms he was using while serving as Vice President. According to the filing, they will be producing “non-exempt” portions of this material on a “monthly rolling basis.”
The foundation sought these emails after JUST THE NEWS reported a year ago that Joe Biden had been using three email accounts with fake names: Robert L. Peters, JRBWare, and Robinware456.
So, what’s in the many thousands of emails Biden wrote or received while he was VP? We have no idea. As John Solomon writes, “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.”
We would word that a little differently: that it’s “necessarily large” because of Biden’s attempt to hide his communications from FOIA requests in THREE SEPARATE ACCOUNTS. In other words, don’t blame the plaintiff’s request, which he has every right under the law to make. Blame Biden.
According to the court filing, NARA and the legal foundation are working together, “discussing ways to narrow the request for records to get copies of the emails out in a more expeditious manner.”
As we learned with Hillary’s email scandal, government officials’ use of private email for official government business is “discouraged under law.” Under the Federal Records Act, officials such as then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-VP Joe Biden are required to preserve all government-related emails conducted on their private email accounts. Hillary’s had actually been under subpoena, and yet she and her aides deleted over 22,000 more that she had deemed “personal.” (You know, the ones about yoga classes and Chelsea’s wedding.) It turned out that some of the material was classified, including 22 emails that were “top secret.” It didn’t matter; then-FBI Director James Comey, unbelievably, let Hillary off the hook in his infamous speech on July 5, 2016, saving her presidential candidacy ahead of the Democratic National Convention when she had done something that would put regular people --- and certainly Donald Trump --- in the slammer.
Hillary apparently wasn’t using made-up names for herself, although it might be fun to think of some she could have used.
We don’t yet know if any of these Biden-pseudonym emails were classified, but he’s currently under investigation, or so they tell us, by Special Counsel Robert Hur for having classified documents from his time as senator and VP and keeping them, well, in a variety of non-secure places. Were any of these places raided Mar-A-Lago style? Don’t be silly; of course not.
As the DAILY CALLER reports, another group, Stephen Miller’s America First Legal, also received a status report from the National Archives on its own FOIA lawsuit in early October identifying nearly 20,000 emails with Hunter Biden’s company Rosemont Seneca and over 4,000 with Hunter himself. Others were with Joe’s brother Jim and Jim’s company. But AFL still hasn’t seen the actual documents. I’m sure they were all about the weather.
The Southeastern Law Foundation suit is what turned up the Biden pseudonyms Robin Ware, Robert L. Peters and JRB Ware. While he was Vice President, Biden was apparently using these names for government business, as there was one from “Robert L. Peters” setting up a meeting with Ukraine’s then-president Petro Porochenko ON HUNTER’S LAPTOP.
The House Oversight Committee wrote a letter to NARA in August demanding that they be given “unrestricted access” to the Biden pseudonym documents under the Presidential Records Act. NARA has only partially complied so far, allowing the committee to review the Ukraine-related email and a small number of others in September.
The committee has also requested that NARA turn over records related to Hunter Biden’s rides on Air Force Two, plus the communications between Joe’s White House office and/or Hunter and Hunter’s business associates. From the State Department, they’re asking for records surrounding Biden’s administration and the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
EPOCH TIMES investigative reporter Mark Tapscott posted yesterday about what a joke the Freedom Of Information Act is. He says that every day, bureaucrats at every level of government “thumb their noses” at it. This is a law with absolutely no teeth that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966.
It can take years for the “responsive” records to be produced, and we have to take their word that it’s all there. Often entire pages are obscured with black bars. As Tapscott says, “They redact, ignore, delete, overlook, wait, misconstrue, etc. etc., whatever it takes to avoid providing the transparency and accountability the law requires.” And why not? There are no penalties. Nobody’s going to jail for failing to comply.
Have you ever tried to get documents released via a FOIA request? Tapscott links to an article detailing the bureaucratic road traveled by Hans Bader when he had to sue the Department of Education under FOIA to get thousands of pages of documents concerning proposed regulation of charter schools. Bader, who worked in the Department of Education under Trump, submitted his request on behalf of Liberty Unyielding and the Bader Family Foundation. He’s sued federal agencies over unfulfilled FOIA requests 13 times since 2021.
When the Department of Education did not comply or offer any response at all within the proscribed 20-day period, he filed suit. So now it’s releasing pages at the rate of about 500 per month, and many of the pages are entirely redacted. In the documents produced this October, only 4 of the 574 pages released were NOT totally redacted. You’d think this was classified material about our nuclear arsenal, not proposed rules for charter schools.
The Education Department says the redacted material is “exempt” but hasn’t explained why. “Courts have said that agencies generally do not even have to justify their redactions until they file for summary judgment, Bader writes, “which occurs months or years after a FOIA lawsuit is filed.” In other words, delay, delay, delay. We have to hand it to heroic organizations like Judicial Watch, which stays on every lawsuit like a dog with a bone, no matter how long it takes to get the information.
“Agencies usually withhold the lion’s share of interesting communications,” says Bader, “the ones that describe what the agency is up to, under the deliberative process privilege,” which is interpreted very expansively by the courts. “Deliberative process privilege has become the exception that devours the rule of transparency created by the FOIA.”
The whole purpose of the Freedom Of Information Act was, according to the Supreme Court, to “ensure an informed citizenry, vital to the functioning of a democratic society, needed to check against corruption and hold the government accountable to the governed.” (I’ll pause while you laugh helplessly.) The law in its current form, as interpreted by the courts, can’t possibly do that.