Can he get away with it?
President Joe is, depending on your perspective and your news sources, fully engulfed in a scandal or minimally bothered by an insignificant filing error.
On Nov. 2, personal attorneys notified the National Archives that they found documents with classified markings in a locked closet at the Penn Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where had an office from mid-2017 to 2019. His attorneys say they were closing out the office and packing the files when they came across the classified documents.
The National Archives took possession of the documents on Nov. 3 and told the Justice Department about them on Nov. 4.
Nobody told the public. The midterm elections were held on Nov. 8.
On Nov. 9, the FBI began an assessment of whether classified information had been mishandled, and the answer must have been yes, because on Nov. 14, Attorney General Merrick Garland assigned U.S. attorney John Lausch to determine whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate.
Meanwhile, personal attorneys searched his two Delaware homes in Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach. On Dec. 20, personal lawyer notified Lausch that more classified documents had been found in the garage in Wilmington. The FBI went to the house to secure the documents. On Jan. 5, Lausch advised Garland that he should appoint a special counsel.
The public heard about it for the first time on Jan. 9, when CBS News broke the story about the documents in the closet at the Penn Center. On Jan. 11, news organizations reported that classified documents had been found at a second location. On Jan. 12, lawyer told Lausch, the U.S. attorney, about another classified document that had been found in Wilmington, in a room next to the garage. The White House publicly revealed for the first time that classified documents were found in garage, plus the additional document nearby. Garland announced the appointment of attorney Robert K. Hur to serve as special counsel.
Then on Jan. 14, the White House admitted that personal lawyers found six pages of classified documents in private library.
On Jan. 19, told reporters he was “fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.” He waved off the problem as “a handful of documents” that were “filed in the wrong place” and insisted, “There’s no there there,” plagiarizing author Gertrude Stein’s description of Oakland.
The FBI was there, at the Wilmington house on Jan. 21, conducting a 13-hour search. There were no TV cameras, just a quiet written announcement from the president’s new personal lawyer, Bob Bauer. If the name sounds familiar, you may remember that he was the high-profile attorney advising House and Senate Democratic leaders during the Clinton impeachment.
That is some heavy artillery.
Bauer’s carefully crafted statement revealed that the FBI “took” (seized?) six “items” that contained documents with classified markings along with surrounding materials. He disclosed that some of the classified documents were from time as a U.S. senator, and also that the FBI took handwritten notes had made during the Obama administration, when he was vice president.
That happens to be the same period of time during which Hunter was wheeling and dealing in international finance. There are emails and photos on his infamous documenting that his dad played a part in sealing some of the business deals that brought the family millions of dollars.
By the way, Hunter has been under federal criminal investigation since 2018 for alleged violations of law related to foreign lobbying and tax matters.
How much, if any, of this document-searching activity by personal lawyers and federal agents was the result of prosecutors investigating Hunter? Is that what set this off?
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine, who wrote a book about the contents of the Hunter , noticed something suspicious about an April 12, 2014, email Hunter sent to Devon Archer, a longtime family associate. The email resembles a classified document — a highly detailed 22-point memo describing the political situation in Ukraine, the likely Russian response, the effect of IMF loan guarantees, Kazakhstan’s role in energy supplies, the conditions that would lead to U.S. sanctions and the likely reaction of the European Union.
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin noted that three days after that email was sent, Vice President met with Devon Archer in the White House, and then went to Ukraine “and is listed as the face of the Obama administration in Ukraine.”
Both Devon Archer and Hunter ended up on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, raking in millions of dollars in fees over several years.
According to Joe personal lawyers, some of the classified documents found in the closet at the think tank related to Ukraine. The documents were dated between 2013 and 2016.
What do you think? Is it a scandal, or is it nothing?
Sen. Ron Johnson said he thinks “it’s obvious Hunter is selling access to information.”
But maybe everybody gets away with it. The investigation into Hunter alleged tax and foreign lobbying violations is run by federal employees who work for his dad, and it’s entering its fifth year.
What about the special counsel appointed by -appointee Merrick Garland? He’s tasked with running a criminal investigation into the classified document mishandling. Is that a threat to or his re-election?
Special Counsel Robert K. Hur is a partner at the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. According to the firm’s website, he is the co-chair of the Crisis Management Practice Group, a “team of media-savvy lawyers” who specialize in helping “to effectively manage any situation,” including “a whistleblower’s surprise allegation” and “a government investigation.” The website states that “the group’s crisis management capabilities extend to U.S. Congressional investigations.”
And that’s the prosecutor.
I think everybody makes a clean getaway. We’ll see.
Write [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @Susan_Shelley
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