Not surprisingly, most of the focus on President Joe Biden’s document problems has centered on his patently cavalier treatment of highly classified documents. After all, he took possession of those documents while vice president, didn’t return them when he left that office, and admits he had no idea where they were for almost six years until they were discovered in his university office and private home and garage. In terms of being grossly negligent – the legal standard governing the handling of secret documents – it can’t get any worse than that.
What is surprising, however, is that the Biden team doesn’t seem to grasp that the more they assert that Biden didn’t know anything about all of this, the deeper the hole they dig for him.
Who had access to the various storage sites and thus to the secret documents? Incredibly, the Biden team says there are no guest logs to provide that information. What we do know is that Hunter Biden lived in his father’s house, where most of the documents were located – the same Hunter Biden who was knee-deep in deals with Chinese business interests widely reported to be fronts for the Communist Chinese government.
Additionally, why did the President use lawyers to gather up his files, and private ones at that, after the first of the documents were found in November? Why the delay in the public disclosure until a little more than a week ago? Was there any significance to the fact that they were found within days of the midterm elections? Is there any legal significance to the National Archives and Department of Justice sitting on the information until now, after being informed much earlier about the document trove?
For all of these questions garnering attention, there is one detail which, curiously, has attracted almost none at all.
The first of the Biden documents were found at the Washington-based Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, the foreign policy think tank he set up in 2018 in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania. Fox News reports that at least 10 senior Biden administration officials worked at the center, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, and White House counselor Richard Richetti. Biden was paid close to a million dollars for serving as an honorary professor in 2017.
The kicker is that Penn has reportedly received approximately $22 million in anonymous donations from China. The National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Department of Justice in October 2020 asking for an investigation into this matter – a request that hasn’t gone anywhere.
A probe would seem to be in order to allay concerns that Chinese government interests may have had access to our government officials and or improperly-stored documents.
In fact, the newly appointed Special Counsel Robert K. Hur, assigned by Attorney General Merrick Garland to take over from the initial investigation of the Biden document matter, would seem to have authority to mount such an inquiry. In his order appointing Mr. Hur, the Attorney General said:
“The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation of matters that are the subject of the initial investigation … led by United States Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., including possible unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or other records discovered at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and the Wilmington, Delaware, private residence of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as well as any matters that arose from the initial investigation or may arise directly from the Special Counsel’s investigation …”
Whether unauthorized access to the documents took place has been a central concern to the entire effort from the beginning, and certainly will be now as the investigation goes forward. If nothing else, it behooves us all to dispell this cloud of suspicion upon the Biden Presidency to the extent possible.