- Was elected Vice President of the United States in 2008
- Democratic U.S. Senator from Delaware, 1972-2008
- Believes that global warming is caused by industrial and automotive pollution, and that broad and immediate action must be taken to curb its effects
- Consistently opposed all bills seeking to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration
- Received an 8 percent rating from the U.S. Border Control, signifying that his voting record on immigration issues reflected an open-borders stance
- Supports affirmative action
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born in November 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and lived there for ten years before moving to, and growing up in, New Castle County, Delaware. He graduated from Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware in 1961. In 1965 he earned his undergraduate degree (with majors in history and political science) from the University of Delaware in Newark, and in 1968 he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. Biden then found work as a public defender in Wilmington, Delaware. He also spent some time working as an attorney for a member of the Black Panther Party.
In 1972 Biden ran successfully for one of Delaware’s seats in the U.S. Senate, beating Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs. Prior to his swearing in, Biden’s then-wife Neilia Hunter and the couple’s three children were involved in an automobile accident. Neilia and daughter Naomi died from the injuries they sustained, while Biden’s two sons, Beau and Hunter, eventually made full recoveries.
For many years thereafter, Biden would repeatedly claim that his wife and daughter were killed by a “drunk driver.” For example, in mid-September 2001 he told an audience at the University of Delaware: “It was an errant driver who stopped to drink instead of drive and hit a tractor-trailer, hit my children and my wife and killed them.” Similarly, in a 2007 speech at the University of Iowa, he said: “Let me tell you a little story. I got elected when I was 29, and I got elected November the 7th. And on Dec. 18 of that year, my wife and three kids were Christmas shopping for a Christmas tree. A tractor-trailer, a guy who allegedly — and I never pursued it — drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch, broadsided my family and killed my wife instantly, and killed my daughter instantly, and hospitalized my two sons, with what were thought to be at the time permanent, fundamental injuries.”
But Biden’s claims were false. Curtis C. Dunn, the man driving the truck that broadsided Mrs. Biden’s vehicle, was never charged with drunken driving. In fact, some investigators thought at the time that the accident had occurred because Biden’s wife pulled into the intersection not having noticed Dunn’s approaching truck. “The rumor about alcohol being involved by either party, especially the truck driver, is incorrect,” said Delaware Superior Court Judge Jerome O. Herlihy, the chief deputy attorney general who worked with crash investigators in 1972. Each time Biden uttered his false account of the event, Dunn’s family suffered great anguish.
When Biden was sworn in to office at his son’s hospital bedside in Wilmington, Delaware on January 5, 1973, he became the fifth-youngest senator in American history. Biden would win each of his reelection bids — in 1978, 1984, 1990, 1996, and 2002 — with relative ease, becoming the longest-serving U.S. Senator in Delaware’s history.
Biden’s Support for Busing — Followed by His Opposition to Busing
When Biden ran for the Senate in 1972, an election which he won by a margin of by just 1.4 percent, he supported busing as a public policy. But as it became increasingly clear that the vast majority of Biden’s majority-white constituents passionately opposed the policy, the senator reversed his position. In September 1975, for instance, he supported a federal anti-busing amendment proposed by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, a former segregationist. Later that same month, Biden also supported an amendment introduced by Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, to forbid the busing of children to any school other than the one nearest to their homes.
In a September 1975 interview with the Washington Post, Biden boasted about the love and respect that Delaware’s black community felt for him: “I still walk down the street in the black side of town. Mousey and Chops and all the boys at 13th, and — I can walk in those pool halls, and quite frankly don’t know another white man involved in Delaware politics who can do that kind of thing.”
In yet another 1975 interview — this one with NPR — Biden argued that black people in fact preferred segregation because they felt it was in their best interests:
“I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied; and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality….
“There are those of we social planners who think somehow that if we just subrogate [sic] man’s individual characteristics and traits by making sure that a presently heterogeneous society becomes a totally homogeneous society, that somehow we’re going to solve our social ills. And quite to the contrary….
“I give you my word as a Biden, I put in over 100 hours, by far — I would say close to 300 hours — on just torturing this [anti-busing concept]. Calling my staff together, and the blacks on my staff together, saying ‘Look, this is what I think. Do you think I am [racist]? Is there something in me that’s deep-seated that I don’t know?’”
Biden’s present-day account of his voting record on busing is highly misleading. In a March 2018 interview with the “Pod Save America” podcast, he said: “I have never, ever, ever voted for anything I thought was wrong. In the middle of the single most extensive busing order in all the United States history, in my state, I voted against an amendment, cast the deciding vote, to allow courts to keep busing as a remedy. Because there are some things that are worth losing [elections] over.” In short, Biden singled out and highlighted his lone pro-busing vote from an anti-busing record that lasted for years.
More on Senator Biden
Shortly after he was first elected to the Senate, Biden voted against funding to help the South Vietnamese government stave off its North Vietnamese Communist invaders. This vote, which was in line with the votes of most in Congress’ new Democrat majority, paved the way for the ultimate fall of Saigon (in April 1975) and the subsequent mass slaughter of Indochinese peasants.
Biden became a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 1975, and of the Senate Judiciary Committee two years later.
On June 17, 1977, Biden married schoolteacher Jill Tracy Jacobs.
In 1979 Senator Biden shared President Jimmy Carter‘s belief that the fall of the Shah in Iran and the advent of Ayatollah Khomeini’s rule represented progress for human rights in that country. Throughout the ensuing 444-day hostage crisis, during which Khomeini’s extremist acolytes routinely paraded the blindfolded American captives in front of television cameras and threatened them with execution, Biden opposed strong action against the mullahs and called for dialogue.
Throughout the 1980s, Biden opposed President Ronald Reagan’s proactive means of dealing with the Soviet Union. Biden instead favored détente — which, in practice, meant Western subsidies that would have enabled the moribund USSR to remain solvent much longer than it ultimately did. He also opposed Reagan’s effort to fund the Contras, an anti-Communist rebel group in Nicaragua.
Biden was a leading critic of the Reagan defense buildup, specifically vis a vis the MX missile, the B-l bomber, and the Trident submarine. He criticized Reagan for his “continued adherence” to the goal of developing a missile defense system known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, calling the President’s insistence on the measure “one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft.”
Biden first ran for U.S. President in 1987. He was considered a strong contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination, but in April of that year controversy descended on Biden’s campaign when he told several lies about his academic record in law school. In an April 3, 1987 appearance on C-SPAN, a questioner asked Biden about his law school grades. In response, an angry Biden looked at his questioner and said, “I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.” He then stated that he had gone “to law school on a full academic scholarship — the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship”; that he had “ended up in the top half” of his law school class; and that he had “graduated with three degrees from college.”
But each of those claims proved to be untrue. In reality, Biden had: (a) earned only two college degrees — in history and political science — at the University of Delaware in Newark, where he graduated only 506th in a class of 688; (b) attended law school on a half scholarship that was based on financial need; and (c) eventually graduated 76th in a law-school class of 85. “I exaggerate when I’m angry,” Biden would later concede, “but I’ve never gone around telling people things that aren’t true about me.”
Then, in August 1987 Biden plagiarized a portion of a speech made by British politician Neil Kinnock. Before long, revelations surfaced that Biden also had plagiarized extensive portions of an article in law school and consequently had received a grade of “F” for the course. (He eventually was permitted to retake the course, and the failure was removed from his transcript.)
As a result of these embarrassing examples of dishonesty, Biden withdrew from the presidential campaign on September 23, 1987 and resumed his duties as a U.S. Senator.
Following is an overview of Biden’s policy positions and his voting record on key pieces of legislation during his years in the Senate.
Senator Biden received a 91 percent rating from the National Education Association (NEA), indicating that more than nine-tenths of his votes were satisfactory to America’s largest labor union, which has contributed massive sums of money to Democratic Party candidates. Like the NEA, Biden opposes merit pay for teachers and a voucher system that would permit parents to redirect a portion of their tax dollars away from the public schools and toward private-school tuition for their children. He voted “No” on a voucher proposal in 1997.
Biden believes that global warming is caused by industrial and automotive pollution, and that broad and immediate action must be taken to curb its effects. In 2007 he co-sponsored the Boxer–Sanders Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, perhaps the most stringent climate bill in the history of the Senate. Labeling the U.S. as the world’s “largest emitter of greenhouse gases,” the bill sought to implement a cap-and-trade system requiring the U.S. to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Biden also has called for the raising of fuel-economy standards for automobiles to an average of 40 miles per gallon by 2017.
During a September 2008 vice presidential debate against his Republican opponent Sarah Palin, Biden said: “I think it [climate change] is manmade. It’s clearly manmade. If you don’t understand what the cause is, you cannot come up with a solution.”
On July 31, 2007, Biden said:
“In 2001, Bush’s new foreign affairs team were so intent on going ahead with Reagan’s Star Wars missile defense shield that they were willing to pull out of earlier arms control treaties to get there, inviting, in my view, another arms race. The missile defense system seemed to be the perfect metaphor for the neoisolationist policy. Let’s arm the heavens, they were saying, and protect the US, the rest of the world be damned. The [Bush] administration had said they were willing to walk away from the decades-old ABM Treaty in order to unilaterally develop and deploy the missile defense system, and now they were putting real money behind it. They were willing to put tens of billions of dollars into the Maginot line in the sky that could quite likely set off another arms race, while cutting funding for a program to help Russia destroy its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons before they got into the hands of terrorists.”
On December 13, 2007, Biden said:
“[We should] cut somewhere in the order of $20 billion a year out of the military for special programs, from Star Wars, to a new atomic weapon, to the F-22, to the Nimitz-Class Destroyer. You can save $350 billion. That would allow me to do everything I want to do — my priorities on education, health care and the environment — and still bring down the deficit by $150 billion.”
In 2008, Pete Wehner wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
“Throughout his career, Mr. Biden has consistently opposed modernization of our strategic nuclear forces. He was a fierce opponent of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. Mr. Biden voted against funding SDI, saying [as noted above], ‘The president’s continued adherence to [SDI] constitutes one of the most reckless and irresponsible acts in the history of modern statecraft.’ Mr. Biden has remained a consistent critic of missile defense and even opposed the U.S. dropping out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty after the collapse of the Soviet Union (which was the co-signatory to the ABM Treaty) and the end of the Cold War.”
In the midst of the Arab oil embargo of 1973, Biden was one of only five U.S. senators to vote against the first Alaskan pipeline bill. That pipeline has since yielded more than 15 billion barrels of oil, almost 20 percent of America’s total production.
In more recent times, Biden consistently opposed all bills seeking to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. In 2006 he voted against a bill “providing for exploration, development, and production activities for mineral resources in the Gulf of Mexico.” And in 2007 he voted against a bill that would have allowed for natural gas exploration and extraction off the coast of Virginia.
Regarding the use of coal, Biden has said: “We’re not supporting clean coal,” and “no coal plants here in America.”
His Roman Catholic beliefs notwithstanding, Biden believes that abortion should remain legal in the United States, and that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision should not be overturned. “The best policy for our country on the question of abortion is a policy of government neutrality,” he says. “Put another way: I do not believe that the government should be involved in making judgments on whether a woman can, or should have an abortion, or — if she chooses to do so — in paying for that abortion.”
In 1997 Biden voted against the continuance of a policy stipulating that federal health insurance plans would not pay for abortions except in cases where the woman’s life was in danger or the pregnancy was the result of incest or rape.
In 2004 Biden voted against a bill that would have attached criminal penalties to the killing or injuring of a fetus while carrying out a violent crime on a pregnant woman.
In July 2006 he voted against parental notification laws and against punishing those who would transport minors across state lines to get an abortion.
Biden received an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, for his consistent record of voting to limit the rights of gun owners and manufacturers. He also voted in favor of exposing the firearms industry to potentially crippling lawsuits.
In 2007 Biden voted against a bill permitting the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General “to authorize foreign intelligence acquisition concerning those reasonably believed to be outside of the U.S., provided that written certification is presented that the procedure does not constitute electronic surveillance under existing law, the surveillance is made with the assistance of a communications provider, and the significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”
Biden voted “Yes” on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security, and “Yes” on allowing more foreign workers into the U.S. for farm work.
In 2006 he voted in favor of erecting a fence on the U.S./Mexico border, but later explained that for him, the vote was an anti-drug trafficking vote, not one aimed at curbing illegal immigration.“I voted for the fence related to drugs,” Biden said. “A fence will stop 20 kilos of cocaine coming through that fence. It will not stop someone climbing over it or around it.”
In 2007 Biden voted against a bill to prohibit illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes — such as aggravated felonies, domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, or the illegal purchase or sale of firearms — from gaining legal status.
That same year, he voted to scrap a point-based immigration system (i.e., a system which seeks to ensure that people with skills that society needs are given preference for entry into the United States). He advocates instead a system focusing on the reunification of family members, even if that means permitting the foreign relatives of illegal aliens to join the latter in America.
Biden also voted in favor of continuing to send federal funds to sanctuary cities; against requiring a photo ID from people registering to vote; and “No” on declaring English the official language of the United States.
Senator Biden received an 8 percent rating from the U.S. Border Control (a nonprofit lobbying organization dedicated to ending illegal immigration and securing our America’s borders), signifying that his voting record reflected an open-borders stance.
Throughout his Senate career, Biden, with few exceptions, generally supported higher taxes, though he did vote against specific tax increases which were advanced by Republican presidents.
When President Reagan pushed for across-the-board-tax cuts in 1981, Biden twice voted for bills that would have watered down Reagan’s proposal. When the full Reagan tax cuts came up for a final vote, however, Biden voted in favor of them, as did 88 of his 99 Senate colleagues.
In March 1983 Biden voted for a $40 billion increase in Social Security taxes.
In June 1986 Biden supported Democrat Senator George Mitchell’s effort to raise the top income tax rate to 35 percent.
In October 1990 Biden voted against President George H.W. Bush’s proposed 5-year, $164-billion tax hike. That same year, he supported an amendment sponsored by then-Senator Al Gore to raise the income-tax rate on middle-class Americans (i.e., married couples earning more than $78,400 a year and individuals earning more than $47,050) from 28 percent to 33 percent.
In May 2001 Biden voted against both of President George W. Bush’s major tax cut proposals — one for $350 billion and another for $1.35 trillion over a ten-year period.
In all but three of the 16 years spanning 1992 to 2007, the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union (NTU) — which grades each member of Congress on taxing and spending issues — gave Biden an “F.” In 2007, NTU gave him a 4 percent rating and ranked him 94th out of 100 senators.
On September 18, 2008, Biden (who was then Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate) said this about Obama’s proposed tax hike on people earning more than $250,000 per year: “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people…. It’s time [for high earners] to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”
In 1987 Biden was a key player in preventing the confirmation of President Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, warning that Bork would strip minorities, women, and children of their civil rights. In later years, Biden similarly (though unsuccessfully) sought to derail the Supreme Court nominations of Clarence Thomas, William Rehnquist, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito, who, like Bork, were all strict constructionists who opposed judicial activism; i.e., they subscribed to the tenet that a Justice’s duty is to interpret the law and the Constitution as it is written, and not to legislate from the bench.
The First Gulf War
In 1990 Biden opposed President George H.W. Bush’s decision to forcibly drive Saddam Hussein‘s army of occupation out of Kuwait. He stated that the U.S. had no “vital interests” in repelling the invasion, and he predicted, wrongly, that American casualties would be astronomical in number.
The 9/11 Attacks
Shortly after 9/11, Biden told his staff that America should respond to the worst act of terrorism in its history by showing the Arab world that the U.S. was not seeking to destroy it. “Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran,” he said.
Prior to the Iraq War, Biden consistently spoke out about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. “He’s a long-term threat and a short-term threat to our national security,” Biden said of Hussein in 2002. “… We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.” Also in 2002, Biden said: “Saddam must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.”
Consequently, in October 2002 Biden voted “Yes” on authorizing the use of military force against Iraq. He continued to express his resolve on the matter in 2004, emphatically stating: “I voted to give the President the authority to use force in Iraq. I still believe my vote was just.”
In 2005 Biden told the Brookings Institution: “We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq. I think that would be a gigantic mistake. Or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out — equally a mistake.”
In April 2007 Biden appeared with the late newsman Tim Russert and defended Vice President Dick Cheney and the international community’s assessment of Saddam’s WMD (weapons of mass destruction) program. “[E]veryone in the world thought he had them [WMD]…. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream.”
But later in 2007, while running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Biden said that his 2002 vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq “was a mistake” that he regretted. “I vastly underestimated the incompetence of this administration,” Biden said during a 2007 Democratic primary debate in Carson City, Nevada.
In June 2007 Biden told the BostonGlobe that General David Petraeus’s “surge” strategy of sending an extra 20,000 troops to Iraq “is not going to work either tactically or strategically” in terms of quelling the insurgency. On Meet the Press, Biden said that while Petraeus “believes that it [the surge] is a good idea,” “[v]irtually no one else believes it’s a good idea.”
In 2007, Biden scolded then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s testimony (to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations) that for the foreseeable future the Bush administration would not be negotiating with Syria or Iran because “they are not engaging in constructive behavior.” Said Biden:
“I do not agree with your statement, Madame Secretary, that negotiations with Iran and Syria would be extortion, nor did most of the witnesses we heard in this committee during the last month. The proper term, I believe and they believe, is diplomacy, which is not about paying a price but finding a way to protect our interests without engaging in military conflict. It is, I might add, the fundamental responsibility of the Department of State, to engage in such diplomacy, as you well know.”
Biden is a defender of affirmative action (i.e., race-, ethnicity-, and sex-based preferences) in academia and the business world. He was also a supporter of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Biden’s response to a November 2006 U.S. Airways incident involving six Islamic imams is instructive. The imams in question were removed from a plane shortly before takeoff because several passengers and crew members had become alarmed by what they perceived to be their (the imams’) suspicious behavior. The Council on American-Islamic Relations subsequently filed a lawsuit on behalf of the imams, against both the airline and the complaining passengers. In response to the suit, two Republican congressman, Peter King and Steven Pearce, crafted an amendment seeking to create legal immunity for citizens who report suspicious behavior in good faith. The amendment was initially approved by lawmakers in March 2007, but Senator Biden voted against it.
Publicly Casting Doubt on the Legitimacy of Bush’s Presidential Victory
In 2004 Biden told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the U.S. had no moral authority to preach about the need for democracy in the Middle East. “We don’t have much of a democracy ourselves,” he said mockingly. “Remember our own presidential election; remember Florida!” — a reference to the disputed ballot recount in 2000.
2008 Bid for the Presidency
As early as June 2005, Biden first made public his intention to seek the nomination for U.S. President in 2008. On January 31, 2007 he officially entered the presidential race. His campaign failed to gain any traction, however, and on January 3, 2008 he withdrew from the race, which by then was being dominated by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In a February 2007 interview, Biden, in the course of evaluating presidential rival Barack Obama, said: “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
At a June 2007 Democratic presidential forum at Howard University, Biden responded to a question about AIDS in the black community by saying: “I spent last summer going through the black sections of my town holding rallies in parks trying to get black men to understand it’s not unmanly to wear a condom. Getting women to understand they can say no. Getting people in the position where testing matters. I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack [Obama] got tested for AIDS. There’s no shame in being tested for AIDS.” At that point, Obama said, “I just gotta make clear I got tested with Michelle [Obama] when we were in Kenya in Africa. I don’t want any confusion here about what’s going on.” Biden then said, “I got tested to save my life, because I had 13 pints of blood transfusion.”
In an October 27, 2007 interview with The Washington Post‘s editorial board, Biden, while discussing race and education, gave the impression that he believed that the reason why so many District of Columbia schools failed, was that they had large numbers of nonwhite minority students. After criticizing the Bush administration education policies, Biden attempted to explain why schools in Iowa performed better academically than those in Washington, DC.: “There’s less than 1 percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than 4 or 5 percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with.”
Prior to his selection as Obama’s running mate on August 23, 2008, Biden had been consistently effusive in his praise of John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee.
- In a March 2004 appearance on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC program Hardball, Biden suggested that “maybe it is time to have a guy like John McCain — a Republican — on the ticket with” the then-Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry.”
- In two separate television interviews later that spring, Biden stated that Kerry ought to select McCain as his running mate. “I think John McCain would be a great candidate for Vice President,” Biden told Tim Russert of NBC’s Meet the Press on one occasion. “I’m sticking with McCain,” Biden added. “I think the single most important thing that John Kerry has to do is … to say … that guy could be President, or that woman could be President.”
- “The only guy on the other [Republican] side who’s qualified [to be President] is John McCain,” Biden said in October 2007. “John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off …”
Conversely, Biden had often been critical of Obama and his judgment on matters of import:
- In a February 2007 interview with the New York Observer, Biden expressed doubts that American voters would elect “a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate.” “I don’t recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic,” Biden added.
- Around that same time, Biden, in an interview with the Huffington Post, said: “The more people learn about them [Obama and Hillary Clinton] and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate.”
- In August 2007, Biden was asked during a debate if he stood by his previous criticism of Obama’s inexperience when he said that “the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.” Biden responded, “… I stand by that statement.”
- Assessing Obama’s Iraq plan, Biden said on September 13, 2007: “My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany [of diplomatic coexistence among the warring factions]. I’ve seen zero evidence of that.”
- In December 2007, Biden said in a campaign ad: “When this campaign is over, political slogans like ‘experience’ and ‘change’ [the latter was Obama’s signature slogan] will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.”
2008 Vice Presidential Run
During his vice presidential campaign, Biden occasionally exhibited a tendency to exaggerate and misrepresent facts, just as he had done in 1987. At a September 9th fundraiser, for example, he spoke about “the superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down [during a February 2008 fact-finding mission Biden had taken with fellow senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel]. John McCain wants to know where [Osama] bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That’s where al Qaeda is. That’s where bin Ladin is.” During a speech in Baltimore later that month, Biden said: “If you want to know where al Qaeda lives, you want to know where bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me. Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.” Two days after that, in Cincinnati, Biden reiterated that al Qaeda had re-established a safe haven “in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where my helicopter was recently forced down.”
Though Biden’s implication was that his plane had been forced down by enemy fire, in fact the unscheduled landing was due to a severe snowstorm that had suddenly hit the area. “It went pretty blind, pretty fast and we were around some pretty dangerous ridges,” John Kerry told the Associated Press immediately after the incident. “So the pilot exercised his judgment that we were better off putting down there, and we all agreed…. We sat up there and traded stories. We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to do it…. Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.” Biden’s plane was traveling with air cover from an F-16.
In the midst of a major stock-market crisis in late September 2008, Biden told CBS interviewer Katie Couric that it was incumbent upon the U.S President to demonstrate leadership and allay public fears by clearly explaining how the crisis will be solved. Said Biden: “Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence, is to demonstrate that he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicat[e] to people … this is how we can fix this…. When the stock market crashed [in October 1929], Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’”
Biden’s error was twofold: First, when the stock market crashed in 1929, Herbert Hoover was the U.S. President; FDR would not take office until March 4, 1933. Nor could any President have addressed the American people on television in 1929, because TV would not be introduced to the public until a decade later, at the 1939 World’s Fair.
Also during the campaign, Biden (in July 2006) made a remark that was intended to be humorous, but sparked some criticism: “In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. And I’m not joking.”
Vice President Biden
On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were elected President and Vice President of the United States, respectively. The Obama-Biden ticket defeated the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin by a margin of 364 electoral votes to 162. Obama-Biden received a total of 64,538,980 votes (52.5%) from the American public, vs. McCain-Palin’s 56,802,609 (46.2%).
In a June 2009 interview on Meet the Press, Biden backed away from the Obama administration’s estimate that the $787 billion stimulus package that had been passed four months earlier would “create or save” 3.5 million jobs. Instead, with unemployment rising and the economy going from bad to worse, Biden was forced to admit: “Everyone guessed wrong.”
In March 2009, in the midst of the rancorous political process whereby Democrats sought to pass sweeping healthcare-reform legislation, interviewer Jake Tapper asked Biden: “Do you hear back from venerable members who are worried this bill will cost them their jobs?” Biden replied:
“… [M]y response is, hey, man, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I’m telling you, you know, pre-existing [conditions], they’re going to be covered. You know we’re going to control the insurance companies.”
The Biden and Kerry Families’ Profitable Deals With Communist Chinese Firms, and the Selling Out of America’s National Security
In the summer of 2009, Vice President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, collaborated with two individuals – Chris Heinz (the stepson of Senator John Kerry) and Devon Archer (Chris Heinz’s former college roommate who had served as a major fundraiser for Senator Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign) – to form Rosemont Capital, an investment firm that was, according to author Peter Schweizer, “positioned to strike profitable deals overseas with foreign governments and officials with whom the U.S. government was negotiating.” Rosemont Capital also had several separate branches, including Rosemont Seneca Partners and Rosemont Realty.
Schweizer asserts that the financial relationship that Hunter Biden, Chris Heinz, and Devon Archer established with China, strongly influenced the Obama administration’s posture toward that country. Consider, for instance, what occurred in 2013 and 2014, while China – to the deep consternation of other countries in the region – was unilaterally creating artificial islands equipped with sophisticated military bases in the South China Sea and claiming ownership of them. In December 2013, Joe Biden, accompanied by Hunter, visited China, where he publicly emphasized the importance of an American-Chinese trading relationship but avoided talking about what China was doing in the South China Sea. During the Bidens’ stay in China, reports journalist Tyler O’Neil: “Hunter Biden was negotiating a major deal between Rosemont Seneca [Partners] and the state-owned Bank of China. As the vice president discussed China’s trade with the United States, his son was putting these economic ties into practice, and the U.S. effectively caved in the conflict over the South China Sea.”
Ten days after the Bidens’ visit to China, the state-run Bank of China created an investment fund with Rosemont Seneca Partners, called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). In 2014, writes Schweizer, BHR became an “anchor investor” in the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC), a state-owned nuclear company which was under FBI investigation at the time, and which eventually charged with stealing U.S. nuclear secrets. “In short,” says Schweizer, “the Chinese government was literally funding a business [BHR] that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers.” As a result of that business relationship, Rosemont Seneca Partners, unlike any other Western investment firm, “could take Chinese government funds and invest them in China or outside the country, even in the U.S.”
When Senator Kerry visited China in July 2014, he, much like Vice President Biden, echoed President Xi Jinping’s call for a bilateral commitment to “boost Sino-U.S. economic ties.” “China and the United States represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind,” said Kerry.
Meanwhile, a former subsidiary of the Chinese government, Gemini Investments, was trying to purchase the Rosemont Realty branch of Rosemont Capital. (Gemini’s parent company, Sino-Ocean Land, grew out of the the China Ocean Shipping Company, which in turn has close ties to the People’s Liberation Army Navy. And the director of Gemini Investments, Li Ming, served for several terms as a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s elite conference.)
By December 2014, Gemini had bought out the Rosemont Opportunities Fund II for $34 million.
When Kerry visited China again in May 2015, he emphasized, as Schweizer puts it, that “the two powers shouldn’t let the South China Sea issue get in the way of broader cooperation.” Three months later, in August 2015, Gemini Investments bought a 75% stake in Rosemont Realty, including a $3 billion commitment from China.
In September 2015, BHR teamed up with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – a Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor which in 2014 had stolen technologies related to the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter – to purchase Henniges, an American “dual-use” (meaning civilian and military uses) parts manufacturer. The transaction gave 49% ownership of Henniges to BHR, and 51% ownership to AVIC.
Because the Henniges technology was considered a strategic asset with implications for American national security, it was on the restricted Commerce Control List, and thus the sale to BHR and AVIC could not be permitted without the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a panel composed of several of the most powerful members of the cabinet — the Attorney General as well as the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security, Energy, and State. (The State Department, of course, was headed by Kerry.)
Schweizer adds that even after it was well known that “Chinese companies have a long history of stealing American nuclear secrets,” “Rosemont did not change its relationship with its Chinese partners, nor did BHR divest from the state-owned Chinese company [CGNPC] that had been stealing America’s nuclear secrets.”
Moreover, in 2016 BHR invested in China Molybdenum, a state-owned company with deep ties to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, and whose goal is to acquire large quantities of molybdenum and other rare-earth minerals that have both military and nuclear applications. Then, in the latter part of 2016, China Molybdenum helped BHR purchase a 24% stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As Schweizer sums it up: “[T]he son of the vice president and a confidant of the secretary of state where invested in deals that would help Beijing win [the global minerals] race.”
Biden Predicts a Peaceful and Successful Transition for Iraq As the U.S. Military Leaves that Country
While the Obama administration was drawing down America’s military presence in Iraq in 2010, Biden said the following in February of that year:
“I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think it’s going to be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government. I spent — I’ve been there 17 times now. I go about every two months — three months. I know every one of the major players in all of the segments of that society. It’s impressed me. I’ve been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.”
Biden Says U.S. Must Spend Its Way out of Recession
In July 2009, when the debate over healthcare reform was in full swing, Biden told people attending an AARP town hall meeting that unless the Democrat-supported healthcare plan became law, “we’re going to go bankrupt as a nation.” Biden continued: “Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’ The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.”
Biden Opposed the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden; Later Says He Actually Supported the Mission
When President Obama authorized the May 2011 mission in which a U.S. Navy SEAL team ultimately killed Osama bin Laden, Biden was the only one of Obama’s advisors who opposed the plan. Mark Bowden — author of a The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden — wrote in October 2008: “It was widely reported in the weeks and months after the raid that most, or at least many, of the president’s top advisors opposed the raid. That is not true. Nearly everyone present favored it. The only major dissenters were Biden and [then-Defense Secretary Robert] Gates, and before the raid Gates would change his mind.”
According to Bowden, the two options under consideration were a drone strike and the special operations raid. Most of the President’s advisors favored the latter. But when it was Biden’s turn to speak at the Situation Room meeting, he told Obama: “Mr. President, my suggestion is: don’t go.” Wrote Bowden, “Biden believed that if the president decided to choose either the air or the ground option, and if the effort failed, Obama could say goodbye to a second term…. So in the end, every one of the president’s top advisors except Biden was in favor of immediate action.”
Biden confirmed this account in January 2012, when he said that he had directly advised President Obama against the bin Laden raid. “Every single person in that room hedged their bet except Leon Panetta,” Biden recalled. “Leon said go. Everyone else said, 49 [percent], 51[ percent]. He [Obama] got to me. He said, ‘Joe, what do you think?’ And I said, ‘You know, I didn’t know we had so many economists around the table.’ I said, ‘We owe the man a direct answer. Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go. We have to do two more things to see if he’s there.’”
But in October 2015, when Biden was contemplating the possibility of running for President, he altered his account of what had occurred in the lead-up to the bin Laden operation, telling an audience at George Washington University that he had given his direct support to President Obama after a cabinet meeting. “It was something that was a difficult call for the president. So, we sat in the cabinet room at the end of the day making the decision. He said, ‘I want everybody’s opinion.’ Everybody went around the room. There were only two people who were definitive and absolutely certain: Leon Panetta said go and Bob Gates said don’t go, and others were 51-49, some ended up saying go, but it was such a close call. I joked and I said, ‘You all sound like 17 Larry Summers,’ the economist, on one hand then on the other. They said, ‘Joe, what would you do?’ There was a third option I didn’t really think we should do. I said, I think we should make one more pass with a UAV to see if it is him. The reason I did that is because I didn’t want to take a position to go if that was not where [Obama] was going to go. So as we walked out of the room and walked upstairs, I said, I told him my opinion that I thought he should go, but follow his own instincts. But it would have been a mistake – imagine if I had said in front of everyone, don’t go or go, and his decision was different. It undercuts that relationship. I never say what I think finally until I go up into the Oval with him alone.”
Biden Announces Support for Gay Marriage, Then Is Ostracized by Obama Administration
In a May 2012 television interview, Biden stated that he favored the legalization of gay marriage. This forced President Obama, who had been planning to wait until a later point in time (perhaps after the 2012 elections) before publicly adopting that same position, to announce immediately that he too was in favor of gay marriage. Biden’s gaffe came with significant political consequences for him. He apologized personally to Obama and offered to do all the less glamorous assignments — “every [expletive] job in the world,” as Biden put it — so long as he could still be included in major White House decisions. But from that point forward, White House staffers treated Biden with coldness; essentially froze him out of all internal discussions; prevented him from attending planning meetings; kept him out of key private dinners with fundraisers; limited his public appearance schedule; and failed to emphatically refute rumors that Hillary Clinton might replace him as the 2012 vice presidential candidate.
Biden Says Romney and Republicans Seek to Put African Americans “Back in Chains”
In an August 2012 campaign appearance before a predominantly African American crowd in Virginia, Biden quoted Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as having said that in his first 100 days as president “he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules — unchain Wall Street.” Then the vice president added angrily: “They’re going to put y’all back in chains!”
Biden Says Middle Class Has Been “Buried” for the Past Four Years
During an October 2, 2012 campaign stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, Biden misrepresented the Republicans’ economic plan as a proposal to lower taxes on the wealthy and raise taxes on the middle class. Said Biden: “This is deadly earnest. How they can justify — how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that’s been buried the last four years? How in the lord’s name can they justify raising their [the middle class’s] taxes with these tax cuts?”
Biden Pledges to Raise Taxes on the Wealthy by $1 Trillion
In an October 4, 2012 campaign appearance in Iowa, Biden made reference to a Democratic proposal to let the Bush-era income tax rates for households making $250,000 or more expire (and thus increase) at the end of the year, while maintaining existing rates for everyone else. (This proposal was in contrast to the Republican plan, which called for maintaining the current rates for all income groups.) Said Biden: “On top of the trillions of dollars in spending that we have already cut, we’re going to ask the wealthy to pay more. My heart breaks. Come on, man.” Biden then made reference to a Republican claim that, as the vice president phrased it, “Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars..” “Guess what?” Biden continued. “Yes, we do, in one regard: We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut [i.e., whatever portion of the Bush-era tax cuts benefited high earners] expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super-wealthy. That’s not a tax raise. That’s called fairness where I come from.”
Biden Says Immigration Reform Is a Matter of “Dignity”
Speaking at the Conference on the Americas (in Washington, DC) on May 7, 2013, Biden said that every nation has to make “tough choices,” and continued: “In the United States, it means reforming our immigration system and 11 million undocumented men, women and children being able to come out of the shadows and be full participants in American life. Imagine that — the dignity … Granting them the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Keynote Speaker for J Street
In September 2013, Biden was the keynote speaker at J Street’s 4th annual conference.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Criticizes Biden
On January 7, 2014, Time magazine reported that in his soon-to-be-released memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, President Obama’s former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, wrote the following about Biden: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
In a January 12, 2014 interview, Gates told CBS News: “[W]here I have particular problem with the vice president was in his encouragement of suspicion of the military and the senior military with the president. [Biden said] ‘You can’t trust these guys. They’re gonna try and jam you. They’re gonna try and box you in,’ and so on. And that did disturb me a lot.”
Biden’s MLK Day Speech
On January 20, 2014, Biden spoke at the annual Martin Luther King Day Breakfast held by Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network. Condemning Republican-backed voter-identification laws, the VP said: “Our opponents know, they know, the single most dangerous thing to give us is the right to vote! They know what that is.” Further, Biden criticized the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act which required certain states and localities with a history of pre-1965 discrimination to have any changes to their election laws cleared by the Justice Department or a federal court. “I have to admit, I never thought we’d be fighting the fight again on voting rights,” Biden remarked.
The vice president also said that the U.S. was:
- “on the brink of bringing 11 million people [illegal immigrants] out of the shadows, onto a path to citizenship, making us not only a more humane country but [a] more economically successful country”;
- “in the process of guaranteeing that no one who works 40 hours a week will have to continue to live in poverty; we’re going to raise that minimum wage”;
- “in the final stages of rectifying the injustice of income [in]equality between women and men; not only is it unjust for women to make 70 cents on the dollar compared to a man, it’s stupid economically.”
“And it’s way past time that we stop arguing whether every American has the right to adequate, affordable healthcare,” added Biden. “Thanks to Barack Obama, that fight is over and we are not going back, period.”
Claiming That Voter ID Laws Are Evidence of Racism and Hatred
During a Black History Month event on February 25, 2014, Biden expressed frustration with a recent Supreme Court ruling that had struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required certain (mostly Southern) jurisdictions with a pre-1965 history of voting suppression to pre-clear any changes in their voting laws (such as the implementation of Voter ID requirements, or changes to early-voting or same-day-voting regulations — with the Justice Department. Biden also claimed that new voter ID laws in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas were evidence of “hatred” and “zealotry.” Said the Vice President:
“At least 11 states have introduced legislation recently requiring voters to show ID at the polls, making existing voting laws more restrictive. Lawslike in North Carolina which imposed a new photo ID requirement, shortening early voting, and eliminating same-day registration and early voting. These guys never go away…. You guys [African Americans] know it, but it’s an important lesson for me. Hatred never, never ultimately goes away…. The zealotry of those who wish to limit the franchise cannot be smothered by reason…. This fight has been too long, this fight has been too hard, to do anything other than win — not on the margins, but flat-out win.”
Biden Says Illegal Immigrants “Are Already Americans”
In a March 2014 speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Summit, Biden said:
“Eleven million people living in the shadows I believed are already American citizens. These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully, and by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view…. Teddy Roosevelt said it better. He said, Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or a line of descent. It’s a question of principles, idealism and character….
“It takes a whole hell of a lot of courage to be sitting at a wooden kitchen somewhere anywhere in the world and say, you know, ‘I tell you what kids. Let’s all pick up and go to America where we don’t speak the language, where they don’t seem to want us, where it’s gonna be really, really rough to get there, but let’s go. Won’t that be fun?’
“All they want—they just want a decent life for their kids, a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century. I really believe that. That’s what they’re fighting for.”
In Midst of Border Crisis Involving Tens of Thousands of Illegal Minors, Biden Calls for Massive Numbers of New Immigrants
On June 6, 2014, the Obama administration announced that it would be paying approximately 100 American lawyers to help young illegal immigrants — a rapidly growing demographic — settle in the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder said that these hundred-or-so attorneys — dubbed “justice AmericaCorps” — would “protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society … particularly young people who must appear in immigration proceedings.”
The number of youths illegally crossing the border into the southern U.S. had reached staggering proportions since 2012, when President Obama had announced that his administration would no longer deport minors who were in the country illegally, so long as they met certain basic requirements. Whereas in 2011 about 6,000 young people were apprehended by border personnel, government officials now estimated that the corresponding totals would exceed 90,000 by the end of 2014, and 140,000 in 2015 — not including the many tens of thousands more who would avoid capture.
Notwithstanding this crisis — and the fact that the open southern border left the U.S. vulnerable to infiltration by Islamic terrorists who had long been known to be working with Mexican drug cartels — Biden, speaking at a National Association of Manufacturers’ meeting, called for a “constant, unrelenting stream” of new immigrants — “not dribbling [but] significant flows” that could bolster the national economy. “We need it badly from a purely — purely economic point of view,’ said Biden. The vice president later tweeted: “The final thing we need to do together is pass immigration reform … We need it badly. -VP at manufacturing summit.”
As the Daily Mail reported, Biden’s comments came as border patrol agents were “appealing to the federal government to help with the thousands of illegal children pouring across the border.”
Profligate Use of Taxpayer Money for Personal Flights
In August 2014, the Daily Mail reported that according to author Ronald Kessler’s forthcoming book, The First Family Detail, Vice President Biden had spent more than a $1 million of taxpayers’ money traveling on Air Force Two for weekend and day trips between Washington, DC and his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Kessler claimed that when he filed a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request in 2013 to get accurate numbers on the dates, details, and costs of Biden’s trips, the vice president’s deputy counsel, Jessica Hertz, instructed the Air Force not to provide the data. According to Kessler, an Air Force officer once told him: “They are covering up. We spent a lot of time compiling the records, but Biden’s office said logs for each flight would have to be consulted. This is a smokescreen to delay providing any records as long as possible.” These actions by Biden and his operatives were “unprecedented,” said Kessler, and contradictory to President Obama’s pledge that his administration would “apply a presumption of openness” in fulfilling FOIA requests.
Eventually, Kessler learned that between January 2009 and March 2013, Biden had flown back and forth between DC and Wilmington 225 times. But as the Daily Mail noted, “those trips actually required a total of 400 flights … because of what Kessler calls ‘deadhead’ trips — return flights when Biden was not on the plane.” All told, the cost of just the fuel and maintenance associated with those flights — and not including the salaries of the Air force Two and helicopter crew members — was $979,680.
A Secret Service agent reportedly told Kessler that “the Air Force Two guys pull their hair out over” Biden’s same-day trips back and forth between DC and Wilmington. The agents were also especially vexed, said Kessler, when Biden would travel to Wilmington one day and then jet back to Andrews Air Force Base the next morning to play a five-hour round of golf with Obama while the plane waited on the tarmac at Andrews.
Moreover, Kessler noted that when Obama in 2011 had placed Biden in charge of the administration’s Campaign to Cut government waste: (a) the president claimed that Biden would “hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government,” and (b) Biden told supporters of the administration that he was the “new sheriff in town.”
Also in July 2014, broadcaster and bestselling author Mark Levin reported that an “incredibly good source” had informed him that Biden sometimes flew to Delaware, at taxpayer expense, to get his haircuts.
Use of Racial/Ethnic Slurs
At a September 16, 2014 conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, Biden made reference to his own son having met fellow members of the U.S. military in Iraq who were in need of legal help because of foreclosures and other problems that they and their families were facing back at home. Said the vice president: “That’s one of the things that he [Biden’s son] finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year. That people would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being—I mean these Shylocks [predatory bankers] who took advantage of, um, these women and men while overseas.” The remark created controversy because it derives from the name of a ruthless Jewish money-lender in Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice and is widely considered anti-Semitic.
The following day, Biden, while telling a story about Singapore’s first prime minister at a “Nuns on the Bus” event in Des Moines, Iowa, said: “You know, on the way back from Mumbai … I stopped in Singapore to meet with a guy named Lee Kuan Yew who most foreign policy experts around the world say is the wisest man in the Orient.” As the Daily Mail subsequently explained, “The terms ‘Orient’ and ‘Oriental’ are generally appropriate for describing inanimate objects but not people.”
Biden Calls for the “Emancipation” of Wealthy People’s Money and Additional Government Spending on Education, Childcare, and Job Training
At a February 23, 2015 Black History Month event, Biden said: “A lot of wealthy white and black people aren’t bad but they control 1 percent of the economy and this cannot stand…. It’s not fair because the business experts are saying that concentration of wealth is stunting growth. So let’s do something that’s worthy of emancipation…. You know better than other groups that there is so much more to do. We find ourselves where a lot of disparities still exist…. We have a chance right now and in the next two years to make a fundamental change in that equation…. We know that 60 percent of jobs require a college education but middle class and poor folks have been left behind. That’s why we’re about changing the equation for working families in America and that’s why the president is focused on childcare to job training to college help and education to free community colleges. This is the way to change the equation and shame on us if we miss the opportunity.”
Biden’s Ukraine Scandal
In August 2006, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, who was a Washington lobbyist at that time, became the president of Paradigm Companies, a hedge fund group in which Joe Biden’s brother James also played a prominent role. In his position with Paradigm, Hunter Biden was paid $1.2 million per year despite the fact that he had no experience in the hedge fund sector. In 2007-08: (a) Hunter and James Biden were sued by consultant Anthony Lotito for allegedly cheating the latter out of fees that were owed to him; and (b) Hunter Biden was also sued by a former Paradigm executive over alleged unpaid compensation.
In February 2014, Hunter Biden was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. Two months later, in April 2014 – a mere three weeks after Joe Biden had visited Ukraine to urge its government to increase its natural gas production – Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of Burisma Holdings, a large Ukrainian natural gas company. The position paid him as much as $83,000 per month, even though he had no expertise in either Ukrainian matters or natural gas.
In April 2014 as well, British officials who were investigating allegations of Burisma’s involvement in money laundering, froze a number of London bank accounts containing $23 million that belonged to Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevksy.
In March 2016 – while Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Viktor Shokin, was actively investigating Burisma’s alleged corruption – Vice President Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to the Ukrainian government unless it agreed to fire Shokin immediately. Because the revocation of American aid would have been devastating to Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko caved to Biden’s threat and fired Shokin on March 29. At the time of Shokin’s termination, he and other Ukrainian prosecutors were in the midst of preparing a request to interview Hunter Biden about his activities and the funds he was receiving from Ukraine.
In a sworn affidavit prepared for a European court, Shokin later testified that he had been told that the reason for his firing was that Joe Biden was troubled by the Burisma investigation. “The truth,” said Shokin, “is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors. On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation.”
And here is how Joe Biden himself – in a January 2018 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations – boastfully recollected his own role in getting Shokin fired:
“I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. I had gotten a commitment from [Ukrainian President] Poroshenko and from [Prime Minister] Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor [Shokin]. And they didn’t. So they said they had — they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to — or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, ‘you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president [Obama] said’ — I said, ‘call him’ [Obama]. I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in,’ I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.’ Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
Biden claimed that he had pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin not because the prosecutor was investigating the vice president’s son, but rather, because Shokin himself was corrupt and incompetent. But that narrative was debunked by journalist John Solomon, who wrote in September 2019:
“Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative…. For instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered ‘an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures’ about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced. In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.”
“The memos raise troubling questions,” Solomon added. “If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as ‘false information’? [And] if the firing had nothing to do with the Burisma case, as Biden has adamantly claimed, why would Burisma’s American lawyers contact the replacement prosecutor within hours of the termination and urgently seek a meeting in Ukraine to discuss the case?”
Following “Whistleblower” Allegations, Biden & Fellow Democrats Condemn President Trump for Asking Ukrainian President to Reopen the Burisma Corruption Probe That Biden Had Shut Down in 2016
On August 12, 2019, an unidentified “whistleblower” from the intelligence community filed a complaint in which he expressed his own “urgent concern” regarding a July 25, 2019 conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Most notably, said the informant, Trump had asked Zelenskyy to look into why Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had been fired in 2016 as a result of political and financial threats by then-Vice President Joe Biden. Some key excerpts from the whistleblower’s complaint:
- “In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President’s main domestic political rivals [Joe Biden].”
- “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.”
- “I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute ‘a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or Executive Order’ that ‘does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.’ … I am also concerned that these actions pose risks to U.S. national security and undermine the U.S. Government’s efforts to deter and counter foreign interference in U.S. elections.”
- “Early in the morning of 25 July, the President spoke by telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy…. Multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call informed me that, after an initial exchange of pleasantries, the President used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests. Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the President’s 2020 reelection bid. According to the White House officials who had direct knowledge of the call, the President pressured Mr. Zelenskyy to, inter alia:
• initiate or continue an investigation2 into the activities of former Vice President Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter Biden;
• assist in purportedly uncovering that allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election originated in Ukraine, with a specific request that the Ukrainian leader locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and examined by the U.S. cyber security firm Crowdstrike, which initially reported that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC’s networks in 2016; and
• meet or speak with two people the President named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, Mr. Giuliani and Attorney General Barr, to whom the President referred multiple times in tandem.”
As The Federalist website noted: “The formal complaint from an anti-Trump ‘whistleblower’ alleging various crimes by President Donald Trump is riddled with third-hand gossip and outright falsehoods…. The document itself is riddled not with evidence directly viewed by the complainant, but repeated references to what anonymous officials allegedly told the complainant.”
Under traditional whistleblower rules – which required whistleblowers to provide direct, first-hand knowledge of alleged wrongdoings – this “whistleblower” would not have been able to file his complaint. But sometime between May 2018 and August 2019, the intelligence community had secretly eliminated that rule; now, whistleblower complaints could be filed even by individuals who had only “heard about [wrongdoing] from others.”
When Democrats — claiming that Trump had engaged in a quid-pro-quo discussion wherein he made U.S. aid contingent upon a Ukrainian investigation of Biden — erupted with outrage and vowed to use Trump’s July 25 conversation with Zelenskyy as a reason to initiate a “formal impeachment inquiry” against the president, Trump declassified and made public a transcript of the conversation, as it had been transcribed by note-takers in the White House Situation Room. Below are the most noteworthy remarks made by both Trump and Zelenskyy in the course of their dialog:
• TRUMP: “I will say that we [the U.S.] do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I think it’s something you want to look at but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.”
• TRUMP: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike [a California-based cybersecurity technology company that helped investigate the Democratic National Committee cyber attacks and connected those attacks to Russian intelligence services] … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”
• ZELENSKYY: “Yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier…. I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly.. That I can assure you.”
• TRUMP: Good, because I heard you had a prosecutor [Shokin] who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. [Trump attorney Rudolph] Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”
• ZELENSKYY: “I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue….”
• TRUMP: “I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor, so good luck with everything.”
On October 8, 2019, newsman John Solomon reported that a newly unearthed document showed that Ukrainian officials in the NABU — an FBI-like anti-corruption agency in Ukraine — had already opened a new probe into Burisma Holdings, the firm on whose board Hunter Biden had served, five months prior to the July 25, 2019 telephone conversation between Presidents Trump and Zelenskyy. “The U.S. government had open-source intelligence and was aware as early as February of 2019 [when Petro Poroshenko was still Ukraine’s president] that the Ukrainian government was planning to reopen the Burisma investigation,” said Solomon. “This is long before the president ever imagined having a call with President Zelensky. This is a significant shift in the factual timeline.” This information, Solomon added, had been omitted from the whistleblower’s complaint recently lodged against Trump. Solomon’s revelation was monumentally significant because it meant that Trump’s calls for a Ukrainian investigation of Biden and Burisma would not have changed anything; the investigation had already been active for five months.
On October 10, 2019, it was learned that the whistleblower was a career CIA analyst who had been detailed to the National Security Council at the White House, where he had worked with Joe Biden during the latter’s tenure as vice president.
On October 30, 2019, journalist Paul Sperry published additional information about the whistleblower:
More than two months after the official filed his complaint, pretty much all that’s known publicly about him is that he is a CIA analyst who at one point was detailed to the White House and is now back working at the CIA. But the name of a government official fitting that description — Eric Ciaramella — has been raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry. Fearing their anonymous witness could be exposed, Democrats this week blocked Republicans from asking more questions about him and intend to redact his name from all deposition transcripts.
RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office. Further, the official’s status as a “whistleblower” is complicated by his being a hearsay reporter of accusations against the president, one who has “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate” — as the Intelligence Community Inspector General phrased it circumspectly in originally fielding his complaint.
Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Further, Ciaramella left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. “He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,” said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
Also, Ciaramella huddled for “guidance” with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.
And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. “He knows her. He had her in the White House,” said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
Documents confirm the DNC opposition researcher attended at least one White House meeting with Ciaramella in November 2015. She visited the White House with a number of Ukrainian officials lobbying the Obama administration for aid for Ukraine….
A CIA officer specializing in Russia and Ukraine, Ciaramella was detailed over to the National Security Council from the agency in the summer of 2015, working under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked closely with the former vice president [Biden]. Federal records show that Biden’s office invited Ciaramella to an October 2016 state luncheon the vice president hosted for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Other invited guests included Brennan, as well as then-FBI Director James Comey and then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper.
Several U.S. officials told RealClearInvestigations that the invitation that was extended to Ciaramella, a relatively low-level GS-13 federal employee, was unusual and signaled he was politically connected inside the Obama White House.
Former White House officials said Ciaramella worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016, when the vice president was President Obama’s “point man” for Ukraine. A Yale graduate, Ciaramella is said to speak Russian and Ukrainian, as well as Arabic. He had been assigned to the NSC by Brennan.
He was held over into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the NSC, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017. “He was moved over to the front office” to temporarily fill a vacancy, said a former White House official, where he “saw everything, read everything.”
The official added that it soon became clear among NSC staff that Ciaramella opposed the new Republican president’s foreign policies. “My recollection of Eric is that he was very smart and very passionate, particularly about Ukraine and Russia. That was his thing – Ukraine,” he said. “He didn’t exactly hide his passion with respect to what he thought was the right thing to do with Ukraine and Russia, and his views were at odds with the president’s policies.” “So I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the whistleblower,” the official said.
In May 2017, Ciaramella went “outside his chain of command,” according to a former NSC co-worker, to send an email alerting another agency that Trump happened to hold a meeting with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office the day after firing Comey, who led the Trump-Russia investigation. The email also noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had phoned the president a week earlier. Contents of the email appear to have ended up in the media, which reported Trump boasted to the Russian officials about firing Comey, whom he allegedly called “crazy, a real nut job.”
In effect, Ciaramella helped generate the “Putin fired Comey” narrative, according to the research dossier making the rounds in Congress, a copy of which was obtained by RealClearInvestigations. Ciaramella allegedly argued that “President Putin suggested that President Trump fire Comey,” the report said. “In the days after Comey’s firing, this presidential action was used to further political and media calls for the standup [sic] of the special counsel to investigate ‘Russia collusion.’”
One of Ciaramella’s two attorneys, Mark Zaid, senior counsel with the Compass Rose Legal Group, had tweeted just days after President Trump’s January 2017 inauguration: “#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately.” In July 2017, Zaid had written, “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters…. And 45 years from now we might be recalling stories regarding the impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. I’ll be old, but will be worth the wait.” In 2017 as well, Zaid had co-founded Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit group that aggressively solicited potential whistleblowers to provide damaging information about the Trump administration. In December 2018, Zaid had tweeted: “I defied the rain to hear my friend @DavidPriess speak at @BNBuzz abt his new book ‘How to get rid of a President’.” According to TheFederalist.com: “Zaid’s bias against the president has been well-documented. In a podcast [in 2018], Zaid spoke about how he often goes out of his way just to use the term ‘resistance,’ and bragged about having sued every president since 1993. On the same podcast, Zaid also discussed fishing for a client to serve as a plaintiff against Trump in a lawsuit alleging unfair business practices stifling competition by the Trump hotel. The attorney also went on Twitter to call for whistleblowers to come forward when Trump took power, welcoming CIA employees to his law firm ‘to lawfully challenge’ the president, according to Fox News.”
Zaid was also the co-founder and executive director of the James Madison Project, whose advisory board includes John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, served as Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, and founded the Center for American Progress.
The other attorney representing Ciaramella, Andrew Bakaj — who interned for New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton in 2001 — had long been openly hostile toward President Trump, to whom he regularly referred as as “President Drumpf.” In the summer of 2017, for example, Bakaj had argued for Trump’s removal from office by means of the 25th Amendment, on grounds that Trump was supposedly “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” On February 15, 2017 — less than a month into Trump’s presidency — Bakaj and the Compass Rose Legal Group each had tweeted that they were offering discounted pricing for potential Trump administration informants. In May 2017, Bakaj had exhorted whistleblowers to come forth against Trump, tweeting: “Federal Employees: Your loyalty is to the Constitution, not to an individual.” In October 2017, Bakaj had exhorted then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to invoke the 25th amendment: “Tillerson and Mattis could pull together a majority of the cabinet and invoke the 25th.”
On April 25, 2019, Biden announced that he planned to run for U.S. President.
Misrepresenting Himself As “Middle Class”
A few days after the launch of Biden’s presidential campaign, National Review wrote: “Biden insists that he’s been ‘referred to for the last 35 years in Washington as Middle-Class Joe,’ despite no record of anyone else ever calling him that.”
National Review added: “[Biden] proclaimed that he didn’t ‘own a single stock or bond . . . I have no savings accounts.’ His wife Jill had plenty of stock and bond investments and the couple had five savings accounts in both their names.”