National Archives 'drags heels' on release of 5,400 records related to Biden's pseudonyms after June 2022 FOIA request

NARA said they "have identified approximately 5,138 email messages, 25 electronic files and 200 pages of potentially responsive records" that must be reviewed before release.

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) revealed on Monday that it is in possession of around 5,400 documents, electronic records, and emails that potentially show President Joe Biden using a pseudonym during his time as vice president.

NARA confirmed the existence of these documents in response to a June 2022 Freedom of Information Act request brought forth by the nonprofit constitutional legal group Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), according to the New York Post

The group’s request sought emails related to the accounts of JRB Ware, Robin Ware, and Robert L Peters, pseudonyms that Biden was known to use during his time as vice president.

The foundation filed on Monday against NARA for the release of these records, claiming that these records may show that Biden had forwarded government information and discussed government business with Hunter Biden as well as others.

"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," said Kimberly Hermann, SLF general counsel. 

The foundation has accused NARA of "dragging its feet" since they filed the June 2022 FOIA request, and said that not one email has been produced since NARA acknowledged the records’ existence in the days following the request.

A June 24, 2022 letter from NARA to Herman stated that "we have performed a search of our collection for Vice Presidential records related to your request and have identified approximately 5,138 email messages, 25 electronic files and 200 pages of potentially responsive records that must be processed in order to respond to your request."

NARA said the staff was "currently processing and reviewing FOIA requests that precede your request," and added that the foundation’s request had been placed in a queue.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer earlier this month demanded unredacted access to these files, in a case titled "Email Messages To and/or From Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden related to Burisma and Ukraine."

The record was made public in June and had included four emails, but two were withheld in full and the remainder had redactions.

The two emails withheld were from then-Biden aide Fran Person in 2009 and a "Robin Ware," a pseudonym used by Biden, in 2012.

One email that was made available on the NARA website was one bearing the subject "Friday Schedule Card," which stated that at 9 am on May 27, 2016, Vice President Biden took a call with the then-president of Ukraine, with Comer noting, "It is concerning to the Committee, however, that this document was sent to “Robert L. Peters”—a pseudonym the Committee has identified as then Vice-President Biden."

"Additionally, the Committee questions why the then-Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden—and only Hunter Biden—was copied on this email to then-Vice President Biden."

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