A government watchdog group learned through a Freedom of Information Act request last summer that the National Archives and Records Administration was in possession of over 5,000 emails and electronic records involving fake names President Joe Biden appears to have operated under while wheeling and dealing during his time as vice president.
The primary fake names Biden reportedly used were Robin Ware, Robert L. Peters, and JRB Ware.
Despite admitting in a June 24, 2022, letter that documents exist involving accounts in these names in the Biden vice presidential records, NARA "has dragged its feet and still has not produced a single email," according to the Georgia-based Southeastern Legal Foundation.
In light of the National Archives' apparent failure to produce the records in a timely fashion, the SLF filed a federal lawsuit Monday.
The watchdog group's efforts are being redoubled by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, whose chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), issued a demand to the NARA on Aug. 17 that it must produce the records no later than Aug. 31.
Biden by any other name
Comer indicated in his Aug. 17 letter that the committee has confirmed "Robert L. Peters" to have been one of Biden's pseudonyms.
The New York Post noted in 2021 that Hunter Biden's laptop revealed the 80-year-old Democrat also corresponded under the aliases "Robin Ware" and "JRB Ware" on emails that mixed official and family business.
For instance, in 2016, John Flynn, then working in the Office of the Vice President, sent Joe Biden his daily schedule to the Robert Peters account, copying Hunter Biden as well.
In a June 2014 email to the Robin Ware email account, Hunter Biden lobbied his dad to consider a friend for a legal role in the Obama administration. "Dad" responded from the Ware account within an hour of receiving Hunter's message, reported the Post.
The Washington Examiner noted that John McGrail, a friend of Hunter Biden, happened to land a job as a deputy counsel in the vice president's office by the following month and soon received a promotion.
Biden appears to have also shared various family photos and other personal memories via the Ware account with Hunter Biden, including in a Nov. 24, 2012, letter in which the then-vice president addressed Hunter Biden as "My beautiful son," adding that he missed him.
Joe Biden reportedly further gave himself away as the man behind the Robin Ware account when he forwarded an email from then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken concerning Ukraine to Hunter Biden, his brother Beau, and the Delaware attorney general on March 26, 2012.
Beyond the three aliases at the heart of the NARA saga, the Post reported that messages contained on Hunter Biden's laptop appear to indicate Joe Biden also used the alias "Peter Henderson," a fictional Soviet spy in various Tom Clancy novels who infiltrated the U.S. government.
The account associated with this particular alias, "67stingray" — a reference to the president's 1967 Corvette Stingray that once shared a garage with classified documents — reportedly sent a message to Hunter Biden on Jan. 3, 2017, signed "Love Dad."
The SFL filed a FOIA request in October 2021 requesting "copies of all emails President Joe Biden preserved through the National Archives and Records Administration from his time as vice president for the following email addresses: email@example.com, JRBWare@gmail.com and Robert.L.Peters@pci.gov."
The watchdog group indicated that it was told NARA was unable to make the emails public until Jan. 20, 2022, having not taken custody of Biden's vice presidential records until January 2017.
The SFL waited until June 9, 2022, before filing another FOIA request. This time, the group struck gold.
Stephannie Oriabure , director of the Archival Operations Division, responded later that month, noting that a search of the Biden vice presidential records turned up approximately 5,138 email messages, 25 electronic files, and 200 pages of "potentially responsive records."
Despite the admission that these records exist, the SFL claimed that the NARA has yet to produce any of the records, having been told in a June 16 email that the request has yet to be processed and is 29th in line to be dealt with.
Kimberly Hermann, general counsel for the SFL, said in a statement, "All too often, public officials abuse their power by using it for their personal or political benefit. When they do, many seek to hide it. The only way to preserve governmental integrity is for NARA to release Biden’s nearly 5,400 emails to SLF and thus the public. The American public deserves to know what is in them."
Lawsuit and congressional countdown
The SFL filed a federal lawsuit against the NARA Monday, stressing that more than "14 months have elapsed since Defendant received SLF's FOIA request. Defendant has verified that approximately 5,138 responsive records exist, yet Defendant has failed to produce even a single document in response. ... Accordingly, SLF files this lawsuit to compel Defendant to comply with FOIA."
The suit alleges that the NARA has "failed to meet the statutory requirement to make the records promptly available" and is therefore in violation of FOIA.
Braden Boucek, SLF litigation director, stated, "Public transparency is the most vital check the citizens have for holding our political class accountable. After over a year of trying to work with NARA, its continued unreasonable delays have forced SLF to file this lawsuit."
Extra to the watchdog's legal action, the House Oversight Committee is leaning on the NARA to act.
Comer has stressed that the existence of emails penned by Biden under these aliases demonstrate that his 2019 claim that he erected "an absolute wall between the personal and private, and the government" was false.
"Evidence reveals that access was wide open for his family’s influence peddling," said Comer. "We already have evidence of then-Vice President Biden speaking, dining, and having coffee with his son’s foreign business associates. We also know that Hunter Biden and his associates were informed of then-Vice President Biden’s official government duties in countries where they had a financial interest. The National Archives must provide these unredacted records to further our investigation into the Biden family’s corruption."
In his letter to Archivist of the U.S. Colleen Shogan, Comer demanded "any document or communication in which a pseudonym for Vice President Joe Biden was included either as a sender, recipient, copied or was included in the contents of the document or communication, including but not limited to Robert Peters, Robin Ware, and JRB Ware," along with correspondences between or from Hunter Biden, Eric Schwerin, or Devon Archer.
Chairman Comer noted the urgency of the NARA's turnaround regarding the documents, intimating that the documents might shed some light on whether "foreign nationals have sought access and influence by engaging in lucrative business relationships with high-profile political figures’ immediate family members, including members of the Biden family."
The National Archives has until Thursday to comply with the congressional demand. Should the agency fail to do so, a federal court may yet force its hand in the SLF case.
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