Then-Vice President Joe Biden (D) retained an (unknown and still growing) number of classified documents, taking them with him when he vacated his Vice Presidency in January 2017. I have some questions. In no particular order,
- he signed the documents out of their secure storage, or he had a staffer sign them out for him. Where are the sign-out logs showing what document(s) were signed out and who signed them out—including for whom if it wasn’t the actual user of the docs?
- when were the documents signed out?
- what is the level of classification of the documents?
- What is the subject matter (in general terms) of the classified documents Biden had (and still has?) squirreled away?
- what is the nature of the documents?
- were they finished products?
- notes for a draft or taken during meetings that were then classified by the note-taker?
- some combination of the three?
- what was Biden using these classified documents for or intending to use them for when he took them with him as he left office?
- where is the documentation that the National Archives receives that identifies Executive Branch classified documents as they’re created?
- when did the National Archives receive that documentation?
- when do National Archive logs indicate the National Archives received the classified documents themselves, as listed on that prior documentation?
- from whom do those logs indicate the National Archives received the documents?
- when did the National Archives start asking questions about the classified documents it knew had been created but had not yet received?
- where are the certifications the National Archives receives that the classified documents it received are the only copies of those documents?
- who signed those certifications?
In the end, it’s clear that Biden, despite his claims to the contrary, knew and knows full well that he had those documents and has kept them all this time. He’s the one who signed them out or had a staffer sign them out for him. He’s the one who didn’t return them and sign them in when he was through or had a staffer do so in his name. He’s the one who moved those classified documents, or authorized an assistant to move them, from his VP offices to…someplace…between the time he had them in his VP offices and the time the Penn Biden Center was created. He’s the one moved those classified documents, or authorized an assistant to move them, from their ad hoc location variously to the Penn Biden Center and to his residence-cum-classified storage facility.
Finally, as Vice President, he had no declassification authority whatsoever beyond the authority of anyone with a clearance to declassify the notes he took and classified at the time he took them.
One more Finally: Biden says (now through his Presidential staffers) that he has no visitor logs for the building he occupies in Delaware and in which he garages his Corvette because, he claims, that’s his residence. This is nonsense. As soon as Biden moved those classified documents into his garage and a room in that building adjacent to his garage, that building ceased being his residence and became a classified storage facility. Visitors are required to be logged in and out of classified storage facilities, regardless of who lives there, and any of those visitors or Biden himself who viewed or removed from storage for viewing those classified documents are required to log them out and back in. The lack of logs is illegal.
One last Finally: Biden claims he advised the National Archives promptly as soon as his uncleared personal lawyers noticed he still had them. Promptly? He’s known for the last six years that he had these documents. What took him so long to get around to “promptly?”