Senate office turns down Biden's request to seek Tara Reade records
Ø On Monday, the secretary of the Senate rejected a request from former Vice President Joe Biden. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee requested to search for and release any records related to an alleged sexual harassment complaint from Tara Reade.
Ø Biden, on Friday, officially requested the secretary of Senate Julie Adams to help determine whether or not Reade filed any written complaint 27 years ago. Reade alleges that she did lodge a complaint when she worked as a staff assistant in Biden's Senate office.
Ø The secretary of Senate denied the request, saying it has "no discretion to disclose any such information.”
Ø Initially, on Friday, Biden said Reade's complaint, if it exists, would be with the National Archives. But, responding to Biden's request on Friday, the Archives said it does not have any such records, adding that such records are maintained by the Senate.
Ø However, the Senate rules suggest that such documents are maintained by the General Services Administration, who in turn said that the documents are with the National Archives.
Ø Then on late Friday, Biden requested the secretary of the Senate to "take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office." However, the confusion over the search continued on Monday after the secretary of Senate turned down Biden’s requests.
Ø Biden campaign then responded to secretary's decision with three questions - Is just the existence of any such records subject to the same prohibition on disclosure? Is there anyone, such as a complainant, to whom such records, if they exist, could be lawfully disclosed? Could the Senate release the procedures and related materials, including any standard forms or instructions, that the Office of Senate Fair Employment Practices followed in 1993 for the intake and processing of any complaint of this kind?
Let it be Done
Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, the former Vice President of the United States is in a bind. Publicly accused by former staffer Tara Reade of sexual assault, the Presumptive Nominee of the political party that ostensibly champions women's rights will need to assuage a growing sentiment of negative fervor against him. That political candidates are accused of inappropriate behavior is not new; with power comes great responsibility, and public trust can be greatly diminished at the disclosure of inappropriate and especially criminal behavior.
Biden's team began to explore the issue, to find if there were records filed about the accusation in question. For the record, the candidate publicly denied the accusations, and promised transparency in order to assure a portion of his base that he was doing everything he could to ensure every existing record on the matter was brought to light. A request by Biden's team went to the National Archives which passed the buck to the Senate, and for the moment they seemed to be at an impasse.
It is understandable that conservatives would jump at this and see it as a pre-planned showing, implying that Biden's team knew all along where this would be heading. For now, since no records have been found, and the Senate unwilling to make an exception to the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991, the only viable option remaining is the disclosure of Biden's Senatorial Papers donated to the University of Delaware. For now we've been told the collection is still under curation and won't be available to the public for another year.
This is a problem for the Biden campaign as it will certainly be an issue coming into November, when his political opponents will certainly take him to task on the matter, even with the irony that his incumbent opponent has no lack of issues when it comes to that subject. Biden must do everything he can to maximize transparency in this process if he wants the continued support of a large portion of his base. Politically speaking, this is not an option but an imperative.
Virtually everyone in US politics has, at some point or another, been guilty of pointing at another issue to distract from one that makes them look bad. We see this strategy deployed by Former Vice President Joe Biden. It’s clear that the Senate Office would not release the files, and he knew that. After “innocently” asking for the data on his own complaint and then being rejected, he looks more like the good guy.
However, there is still the Senate papers that the University of Delaware has that were donated to them by Biden himself. These papers contain records on decades of Biden’s career in the Senate. He has rejected the idea of getting those papers released earlier than planned, so we can all see that Joe Biden is not maximizing transparency. And if Biden really wanted those papers released the University would comply, because at that point everyone would want them released.
This scenario is very reminiscent of the 2016 election when President Trump would not release his tax documents. Because of that, this will hurt Biden. To win the election, Joe Biden will have to show how he is different than President Trump and not just become a democrat counter-part.
If Biden really wanted to be an open book, he would ask ALL files, papers, and documents to be released concerning the matter.
Is anyone surprised?
If you thought Biden campaign officials hadn't assumed they would arrive at this exact moment in the campaign at least once since Tara Reade's original revelation to national media a little over one year ago, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you! The question is, what have Biden campaign representatives been doing in the months since that time to prepare for damage control? Business insider reported last week that Biden campaign staffers had accessed his Senate files and records archive (located at the University of Delaware) several times since last year, and it was during this time that the school abruptly changed plans to release these materials in 2020, instead opting to hold on to them until Biden leaves public office, essentially after he leaves the Presidency should he win (assuming he is too old to run again, which is a pretty good assumption). And since there wasn't an active criminal case by Reade against Biden at the time, team Biden could have removed files and records relating to the allegations without penalty. Some in media have already identified this as a potential problem for Biden, creating the perception of 2020's updated version of the missing Hillary emails story.
While the University of Deleware continues to protect Joe Biden's files and records from public release, Biden's attorney, Bob Bauer, is asking all the right questions back over at the Office of the Secretary of the Senate but much too late for a thoroughly convincing demonstration of a genuinely innocent man going the distance to find any and all documents by His female accuser. I'm sure here too Biden and his campaign were quite aware of the rules before they began their process.
In a surprisingly tough interview on decidedly left leaning, Trump hating msnbc, Biden was grilled by Mika Brzezinski last Friday morning, that had Biden starting out cocky and by the last minute had him visibly uncomfortable and at a loss for words.
#metoo issues aside, Biden is hoping for the kind of benefit of the doubt that escaped other officials in recent years, e.g. Kavanaugh
“I support the Vice President … and I am proud to support him” Elizabeth Warren says of the Democratic presidential front runner. Biden has not yet failed in garnering support from High ranking Democrats from every corner of the liberal spectrum. With a strong endorsement by Warren, Biden finds himself in a better position then he has for the entire campaign. With Warrens Progressive support Biden may be able to rally more of the progressive liberals to his side for the vote in November.
Warrens support isn’t just important because she is a progressive democrat. It’s huge because she is one of the most respected women in politics.
Chris you bring up the point that Biden and his people should have surely known the laws and the rules surrounding their requests to the secretary of senate. I could agree with that. A senator in his late 70’s who has spent his life in public office AND served as Vice President of the United States should surely know such crucial rules as apply to the privacy and legality of disclosing senate documents. The implication here is that Biden and his team KNEW the documents could not be released and asked for the sake of seeming to seek transparency where they knew they would not get it.
Countering this potential motive is Biden’s very public discrediting of the allegations, his lawyers very clear questions which seek for at least confirmation of the existence or non-existence of Reade’s complaint, and how, who, or what would be required for the documents to be acknowledged or released.
But that could all be very clever posturing from Biden’s team, making themselves look like innocent truth seekers in the eyes of the public.
Of course, that is essentially conspiracy, and until the complaints can be recovered, or proved to have never existed, our minds are our own in deciding Biden’s level of guilt.
And the greatest counterweight to these allegations stems from the support Biden is receiving from high ranking female democratic politicians, such as Warren, Klobuchar, and Whitmer, who have all publicly supported Biden’s denial.