According to a new report from Marc Caputo of Politico, former Vice President Joe Biden may have caused himself a world of new problems when announced he will refuse to unseal the senatorial papers he sent to the University of Delaware amid accusations of sexual assault made by his former staffer, Tara Reade.
Emma Vaughn, Florida press secretary for the Republican National Committee pounced after the Morning Joe Interview, saying “The most transparent thing Joe Biden did this morning was admit that he is hiding documents so they can’t be used against him.”
Search for Tara Reade complaint threatens to backfire on Biden
The former VP’s refusal to open his archived Senate records could cause serious headaches for his campaign.
By Marc Caputo – Politico
In his first televised interview about Tara Reade, Joe Biden said his old office personnel records aren’t among the senatorial papers he sent to the University of Delaware. The personnel records — which might shed some light on Reade’s claim that she filed a workplace complaint with the Senate in 1993 — are in the National Archives, he said.
But the National Archives said those records are actually held by the Senate. Yet Senate rules governing the preservation of documents suggested they’re held by the General Services Administration … which said the documents are located at the National Archives.
If Biden hoped he was clearing up a key evidentiary question Friday related to his former Senate staffer‘s sexual assault allegations — he called for the identification and release of “any record of the complaint she alleges she filed“ — he was sorely mistaken.
Now there’s a focus on his refusal to commit to opening up his archived papers at the University of Delaware — a trove of documents that critics suspect might house Reade’s complaint. Rather than set the record straight Friday in his first remarks on the subject, Biden might have inadvertently opened a new line of attack on his campaign this fall and provided President Trump — who has famously refused to release his own tax records and has been accused of sexual assault multiple times — with a measure of cover.
Trump’s campaign promptly accused Biden of concealing the truth.
“The most transparent thing Joe Biden did this morning was admit that he is hiding documents so they can’t be used against him,” said Emma Vaughn, Florida press secretary for the Republican National Committee, in a statement.
For more than a month, Biden had held off commenting on Reade’s accusations to avoid creating more news, instead simply issuing a campaign statement denying Reade’s account. During a tense interview with “Morning Joe’s” Mika Brzezinski, he held to that position, going so far as to encourage a search of National Archives documents in search of Reade’s complaint.
Reade, who has publicly acknowledged that at the time of the alleged incident she didn’t report it as an assault, says she no longer has a copy of the harassment claim.
“She said she filed a report. She has her employment records still,” a frustrated Biden said Friday.
“She said she filed a report with the … United States Senate at the time. If a report was ever filed, it was filed there, period,” he said.
Five of Biden’s former staffers who worked with Reade disputed her account in interviews with POLITICO. They say they have no recollection of Reade filing or making any complaint or being pressured to quit her job over any incident.
Reade’s friends and brother have said she had told them years ago that Biden sexually assaulted her.
During Friday’s interview, Brzezinski pressed Biden to call on the University of Delaware to release his work papers just in case Reade’s complaint was there, rather than at the National Archives. Biden declined, saying the university wouldn’t have any personnel-related documents. He noted that it would have sensitive records of his private talks with foreign heads of state and high-level discussions on policy and legislation.
“The idea that they would all be made public while I was running for public office — they could be really taken out of context,” Biden said, bemoaning it would “be fodder in a campaign.”
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