On the most recent episode, Eric Eggers admits to misplacing his keys. We all misplace things. But not all of us keep classified documents in a box in the garage. President Joe Biden did.
The news story is still developing, but what we know so far is that back in early November, then in December, and again earlier this month, classified documents from Biden’s time as vice president were found at the Washington DC office of the Penn-Biden Center, in Joe Biden’s personal library at his Wilmington mansion, and in the garage of that mansion, stuffed in a box next to his prized 1967 Corvette Stingray. They weren’t supposed to be there. In fact, it’s potentially a felony offense.
Is any of this really a big deal? And how is this news being treated respective to the dispute between the National Archives and former president Donald Trump that escalated into a federal raid on his Florida mansion?
As Peter notes, there is a Hunter Biden-sized shadow hanging over all of this. The classified documents may relate to China and Ukraine, two countries that Biden oversaw as vice president during President Barack Obama’s second term. Those are also the countries where Hunter Biden made enormous business deals during those years.
It also happens that after 2017 Hunter Biden lived in the mansion where some of the documents were found. He even seemed to claim on a form that he owned the place., [This reporting now seems to have been inaccurate]
Moreover, the creation and funding of the short-lived University of Pennsylvania’s “Biden Center” is itself under question. Chinese money flowed into the University of Pennsylvania after the Biden Center opened. Peter notes that foreign donations to UPenn tripled from $15 million to more than $40 million ($60 million if you include contracts) from China, most of it anonymous. Some of it came from investors linked to Hunter Biden’s investments with China Merchants Bank, which is a state-owned enterprise under the direct supervision of the Chinese State Council. A mysterious Chinese firm called Cathay Fortune, owned by a secretive Chinese billionaire with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, contributed $1 million to UPenn after the Biden Center was created. Peter’s most recent book, Red Handed, details this and more on page 42.
Critics have called on UPenn to disclose the donations from foreigners it received since the creation of the Biden Center, which it has refused to do.
Joe Biden’s carelessness starts to look more like recklessness when Peter reminds us that back in 2017, right after Biden left office the vice presidency, there were plans to house the Biden Foundation, Hunter Biden’s businesses, and the Washington office of a Chinese energy company called CEFC together in the same office space. Hunter Biden had even ordered up the signs to be placed in the office building.
That means the Bidens would have been sharing office space with Patrick Ho, a trusted lieutenant of CEFC’s chairman, Ye Jiamaing. In an exchange revealed from his laptop computer, Hunter Biden once referred to Ho as the “f***king spy chief of China.” The only reason this arrangement didn’t happen is that Patrick Ho was arrested by the FBI for bribery. He had reportedly offered money to African officials as part of an operation involving illicit payments to UN diplomats—via a network of middlemen, millionaires, and spies, according to Red Handed.
Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that a special counsel would be appointed to investigate President Biden’s handling of the classified documents. Very few people, Peter and Eric included, believe much will come of that probe, or the similar one involving Donald Trump.
But, as Peter notes on the show, “This is why the security protocols around classified information exist.”