The headline in the Washington Post said it all:
Joe Biden’s Senate records could answer questions about his past actions — but they’re being kept secret
The story, by reporter Matt Viser, with bold print supplied for emphasis, began this way:
Joe Biden’s effort to make his lengthy experience the central issue of his campaign has been confounded by questions about his actions during almost four decades as a U.S. senator, on issues including criminal justice, busing and the hearings into the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Those questions might be answered in the massive trove of Senate records he donated eight years ago to the University of Delaware under an agreement that they could be made public by early this year.
But the records are being kept secret, following new terms the university posted on its website just before Biden made his presidential campaign official in April.
You read that right. In 2011, the then-Vice President Biden donated his Senate papers — he served from his election as senator from Delaware in 1972 until his election as vice president in 2008, a total of 36 years — to his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
The Post reports that the records amounted to “1,875 boxes and also includes 415 gigabytes of electronic records. It includes committee reports, drafts of legislation and correspondence.”
The story then zeroes in on an abrupt change in the agreement between Biden and the university, again with bold print supplied:
Starting in 2011 and for years after, the university had described the terms of the agreement as keeping the papers sealed “for two years after Biden retires from public office.” But this year, on the day before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the university changed the way that it described those terms.
Instead of citing his departure from “public office,” the university said the documents would not be made public until two years after Biden “retires from public life” or after Dec. 31, 2019, whichever is later. It did not define what is considered “public life.”
Which is to say, the agreement Biden made in 2011 was that his voluminous store of official government records were to be opened to the public two years after he left office. Biden finished his two terms as vice president on January 20, 2017. It is now two years and nine months since his departure. Yet, the Post notes, the terms of the agreement with the university were suddenly changed. On April 24, 2019 — that would be the day before his announcement that he is running for president — the terms of the Biden agreement with the University of Delaware were mysteriously changed from “two years after Biden retires from public office” to “two years after Biden ‘retires from public life.’ ”
Got that? Suddenly, with his presidential campaign about to begin, Biden’s Senate papers are now being deliberately hidden from public view. In the Watergate scandal, hiding documents — audio tapes in that case — was quickly and accurately labeled as “stonewalling.” Today, Joe Biden is stonewalling.
This game of hide-the-papers is decidedly relevant in all the brouhaha surrounding President Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine, the transcript of which was released Wednesday morning. The transcript shows no “quid pro quo” whatsoever. There was no Trump threat to withhold U.S. aid until information was released on Joe Biden’s efforts to protect his son Hunter from an investigation by a Ukrainian prosecutor.
It is worth noting that on December 8, 2015, no less than the New York Times was raising the very same issue of Biden corruption that President Trump mentioned in his conversation with the Ukraine president.
The headline on the Times story was this:
Joe Biden, His Son, and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch
The Times story said, in part, this:
But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.
Recall Biden’s own account of his dealings with Ukraine, as recorded on video at an appearance before the Council on Foreign Relations. The Hill’s John Solomon reported that story this way:
In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’ ” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.
“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.
Note well that, as Solomon reported, Biden was “insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.”
Now. The fact of the matter is that conversations between a president or vice president of the United States and a foreign leader are recorded by notetakers. As an obvious example, the Fox News account of the release of the Trump phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart has the White House saying the call “took place July 25 from 9:03 a.m. to 9:33 a.m.” Meaning not only was the exact exchange between the two leaders recorded but so was the exact time the call began and ended.
The obvious questions:
• Where are the transcripts of the Biden talks with then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — whom Biden admitted to threatening with the loss of U.S. aid unless Poroshenko fired the prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son and the company on whose board Hunter Biden served?
• Why hasn’t Biden released whatever notes, records, or transcripts of discussions he, Biden, had with President Obama on Ukraine?
• What did President Obama know about the Biden threat to Poroshenko and when did he know it?
Based on Biden’s abrupt decision to hide his Senate papers from the American people while he runs for president, the refusal to produce all records of the Obama-Biden dealings with Ukraine is highly suspect.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into “all things Ukraine” is spot on.
Not to mention that President Trump was exactly right to say this in his call with the Ukrainian president, as reported by Fox News:
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said in the phone call. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it.… It sounds horrible to me.”
In other words, with the New York Times already having reported that there were questions swirling around Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, not to mention being alerted by the incautious Biden himself that the then-vice president had used the quid pro quo of no U.S. aid unless the prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden was fired, Trump was exactly right to ask the new Ukrainian leader to get to the bottom of the Biden threat.
So what do we have here?
What we have is an exploding scandal centered on the blatant corruption of the Obama-Biden administration with its dealings in Ukraine. Unlike the Trump release of the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president, there has been no release of the Obama-Biden papers dealing with Ukraine.
And, it is now evident, with the realization that Biden is stonewalling — after taking steps to hide his own Senate records from public scrutiny — there is every reason to believe that the Obama-Biden Ukraine records will be hidden from the public as well.
Question: Where is the media? And why are they protecting Barack Obama and Joe Biden?
Lindsey Graham has it right. It is time for the Justice Department to investigate “all things Ukraine.”
And it’s time for Joe Biden to stop stonewalling and open his Senate records to the American people.