Joe Biden's "Delaware records" are poised to become the 2020 presidential campaign's version of what Hillary Clinton's missing emails were in 2016. That is to say, they represent a genuinely serious issue unlikely to be concluded to anyone's total satisfaction, but which will suck up a great deal of campaign oxygen from now until November. The public has the right to know if Biden had a sexual harassment complaint filed against him, and if opening up his records could put the issue to bed, he'd be wise to authorize it. Anything short of total transparency will have Biden running defense about those archives from now until Election Day. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Joe Biden's "Delaware records" are poised to become the 2020 presidential campaign's version of what Hillary Clinton's missing emails were in 2016. That is to say, they represent a genuinely serious issue that will almost certainly never be concluded to anyone's total satisfaction, and which will suck up a great deal of campaign oxygen from now until November. The former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee is facing serious accusations from former staffer Tara Reade, who claims she was sexually assaulted by Biden in a Senate hallway in the early 1990s. Over the past week, a former colleague and a former neighbor of Reade's told Insider they recall her telling them of the alleged assault in the mid-90s. Reade says she filed a complaint with the Senate in 1993, but has no hard copy to prove it. But if she did, there's a chance it's in Biden's Senate records. Biden categorically denied the allegations on MSNBC on Friday, and a number of prominent Democrats have said they believe him. The former VP also said that while he's "confident there is nothing," if there were a complaint filed against him, it would be in the National Archives, and not his senatorial records held at the University of Delaware. And while Biden later instructed the National Archives records to be released, he has so far not done the same with the documents at the University of Delaware. New York Times columnist Ben Smith tweeted that the media should "ask Biden to open his personal papers to inspection." "Unsealing the Biden papers could spare Democrats far more pain this fall. It's also the right thing to do," Peter Beinart wrote in The Atlantic. It's becoming clear that this is a burgeoning crisis for Biden, and for Democrats' chances in November. The 'Delaware records' Delaware's most famous son, Biden graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965 and later represented the state in the Senate for 36 years. While serving as vice president in 2012, he donated 1,875 boxes and 415 gigabytes of electronic records of senatorial materials to his alma mater. "The papers are expected to be available to the public two years after Biden's last day in elected public office," the university wrote in 2012. Biden's been out of office since January 20, 2017. But after Biden announced his run for president in April 2019, the university changed course. The curator in charge of the records, L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, told HuffPost that the school has an agreement with Biden that the papers would not be released until they were fully processed, which was still ongoing. The school also amended its earlier terms, and now wouldn't release the papers before December 31, 2019 or two years after Biden had retired from "public life." The specific distinction between what constitutes "public office" and "public life" is unclear. But what does seem clear is UD is in no rush to release anything, and per its agreement with Biden to hold off until "processing" is complete, a firm date on the documents' release is indefinite. Those records were already of great interest over the past year as the press and Biden's opponents sought to vet his views and actions during a long career in government. They were also apparently of interest to Biden's own campaign, which Insider reported had accessed the files at least once in the past year, but not since the coronavirus pandemic caused the UD library to close in mid-March. Reade's accusation started to pick up steam in the media in late-March after her appearance on Katie Halper's podcast. The new 'But her emails' The newfound visibility surrounding Biden's records has echoes of Hillary Clinton's notorious private email server, which became one of the primary issues upon which the 2016 election turned. Clinton's use of the private server while she was secretary of state was a genuinely serious issue. If the Democratic nominee, widely expected to be elected president, had compromised government secrets through carelessness or was trying to get around transparency laws, the public had a right to know. The issue dogged Clinton throughout the campaign, but no issue more so than the so-called "deleted emails," which Clinton claimed were of a personal nature and not relevant to her work as secretary of state. Less than two weeks before the election, then-FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress to announce he was reviving the investigation into Clinton's email server. After her stunning loss to Donald Trump, Clinton would reportedly go on to blame Comey's letter for "raising doubts that were groundless, baseless" and which "stopped our momentum." In October 2019, a State Department investigation found that while Clinton's use of a private server created "an increased degree of risk of compromise," it concluded "There was no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information." The report was widely seen as an exoneration of Clinton, but that doesn't change what happened in 2016. The parallels here are obvious. Like Clinton's emails, Biden's Delaware records have suddenly become the biggest mystery of the campaign. And they'll remain so until they've been independently and thoroughly parsed. The public has the right to know if Biden had a sexual harassment complaint filed against him, and if opening up his records could put the issue to bed, he'd be wise to authorize it. But even in the unlikely event he opens up the archives, it might not be the end of the issue. The absence of evidence of a complaint in the UD archives wouldn't convince everyone that Reade's allegation is without factual basis. Still, total transparency would help Biden make his case and demonstrate that he's got nothing to hide. Tearing up his agreement with the university to keep the files sealed until he's permanently on the public sidelines would be a strong gesture. Without it, Biden's going to be running defense about those archives from now until Election Day.SEE ALSO: Dave Rubin is out of ideas Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
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People who met Biden accuser Tara Reade describe how she used to speak favorably of the vice president and often took advantage of their good will
More than a dozen former acquaintances relayed encounters with Tara Reade in which she spoke highly...More than a dozen former acquaintances relayed encounters with Tara Reade in which she spoke highly of former Vice President Joe Biden, adding that she had lied and took advantage of their goodwill, Politico reported. Kelly Klett, an attorney and advocate for domestic abuse victims, formerly rented a room to Reade in 2018, who told her that she was a domestic abuse victim and was taking some time to study for her bar exam. Reade graduated from the Seattle University School of Law in 2004, and Klett said Reade would often ask to delay or a pass on her rent, which she had already reduced to $200. Klett eventually asked Reade to leave. "I support women who have been assaulted," Klett said. "Unfortunately, I cannot support Tara Reade. When she first contacted me regarding this issue, she could not provide enough credible information. And since that time the story has evolved in the media. I question her motives." Reade's attorney Douglas Wigdor told Politico that he thought it was unfair to parallel Reade's lies to her former landlords to the authenticity of her sexual assault allegations. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Former acquaintances of Joe Biden-accuser Tara Reade described moments when she spoke highly of the former vice president and allegedly took advantage of their goodwill, according to a Politico report. Politico interviewed more than a dozen people who had prior interactions with Reade, some of whom even knew her under different names like Tara McCabe or Alexandra McCabe. Some of those who knew Reade recalled instances where she took advantage of their goodwill by skipping rent payments and asking to borrow money. They also said that when she talked of Biden, she spoke highly of him and her position at his office. First reported by Business Insider, Reade filed a criminal complaint against Biden, accusing him of sexual assault in a 1993 incident when she worked for his Senate office while in her 20s. The former vice president has consistently denied the allegation. In the complaint, Reade accused Biden of putting his hands under her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers without her consent in a Senate corridor in 1993. A neighbor of Reade's corroborated her story to Business Insider, saying she was told of the alleged incident several years later. Biden's campaign and several former Senate staffers in Biden's office have denied her allegations, saying they don't remember Reade. Biden has repeatedly denied the allegations. Kelly Klett, an attorney from whom Reade rented a room in 2018, described Reade with three words: "manipulative, deceitful, user." "Looking back at it all now, that is exactly how I view her and how I feel about her," she told Politico. According to Klett, Reade said she had been a victim of domestic abuse and was studying for the bar exam. Reade graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2004. Klett told Politico that Reade asked for a break on rent, and Klett reduced her rent payments to $200 and even loaned her law books and materials to help her study for the bar. Klett, a domestic violence victims' advocate, also said Reade name-dropped Biden. "She spoke to me about Joe Biden and her experience with him. It was positive and in a bragging sense," Klett said, adding that Reade told her that she helped work on the Violence Against Women Act sponsored by Joe Biden in 1994, a year after the alleged assault. "In the time that she lived with me in close proximity, there was never one allegation against Joe Biden that was disparaging," Klett continued. Klett said that Reade repeatedly missed her rent payments and asked for more time to pay or a pass, and Klett eventually asked her to leave. In 2019 after Reade moved out, Klett said that Reade reached back out after she had publicly accused Biden of inappropriately touching her. "I felt two things when she contacted me — that she was feeling me out to see if I would represent her pro bono," Klett told Politico. "And there was a sense that she was trying to plant a story with me, so she could later say: 'I told the story to this attorney I worked with.'" "I support women who have been assaulted," Klett said. "Unfortunately, I cannot support Tara Reade." "When she first contacted me regarding this issue, she could not provide enough credible information," Klett said. "And since that time the story has evolved in the media. I question her motives." Reade's attorney Douglas Wigdor told Politico that he thought it was unfair to parallel Reade's lies to her former landlords to the authenticity of her sexual assault allegations. "If the assertion is that someone who has lied to their landlord because they don't have the money to pay rent so then they lied about a sexual assault, I don't think that is fair journalism," Wigdor told Politico. In a statement to Politico, Wigdor highlighted Reade's willingness to answer "hundreds of questions" about the encounter whereas Biden "has not accounted for his actions other than to say 'it never happened.'" "Now, she is being asked to account for prior landlord-tenant disputes. Enough is enough," he continued. "This degrading and irrelevant inquisition does not advance the conversation. Instead, it explains why so many women suffer in silence — for fear of having their life turned upside down and questioned." Read the full story at Politico »Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
'I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade': Joe Biden encourages those that believe his accuser to 'vote their heart'
Former Vice President Joe Biden said he wouldn't vote for himself if he believed his accuser...Former Vice President Joe Biden said he wouldn't vote for himself if he believed his accuser Tara Reade, and encouraged people who did believe her to vote with "their heart." The former vice president and 2020 presumptive Democratic candidate appeared on MSNBC's "The Last Word," on Thursday with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is apparently in talks to be his running mate. "If they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn't vote for me," Biden said during the MSNBC interview. "I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade. There is no truth to it. I promise you." First reported by Business Insider, Reade filed a criminal complaint alleging that Biden sexually assaulted her in a congressional hallway when she was a staffer in his Senate office in 1993. While Biden's campaign and former Senate staffers in Biden's office have denied her allegations, a neighbor of Reade corroborated her story to Business Insider. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Former Vice President and 2020 presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden encouraged people who believe his accuser Tara Reade to vote with "their heart," but stated there is "no truth" to her claims. He appeared alongside Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" on Thursday. "If they believe Tara Reade, they probably shouldn't vote for me," Biden said during the MSNBC interview. "I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade. There is no truth to it. I promise you." First reported by Business Insider, Reade filed a criminal complaint against Biden, accusing him of sexual assault in a 1993 incident when she worked for his Senate office while in her 20s. The former vice president has consistently denied the allegation. In the complaint, Reade accused Biden of putting his hands under her skirt and penetrating her with his fingers without her consent in a Senate corridor in 1993. A neighbor of Reade's corroborated her story to Business Insider, saying she was told of the alleged incident several years later. Biden's campaign and several former Senate staffers in Biden's office have denied her allegations, saying they don't remember Reade. In an exclusive interview Megyn Kelly, Reade claimed that Biden told her "I want to f--- you" during the alleged 1993 assault. "He said it low, and I was pushing away, and I remember my knee hurting because our knees — he had opened my legs with his knee — and our kneecaps clashed, so I felt that sharp pain," Reade told Kelly. Biden emphasized during the MSNBC interview that women have a right to be heard, but said, "I give you my word: it never, ever happened," adding that he thinks Reade's story "changes considerably" during retellings.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button
Tara Reade, who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a...Tara Reade, who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a staffer in his Senate office in 1993, expressed her desire for Biden to drop out of the race in a new interview. In a sit down with former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Reade said that Biden "should not be running on character," and later added, "I wish he would" drop out. Biden has denied the assault ever took place. He told MSNBC last week that "it never happened." In a lengthy statement, Biden also called on the National Archives to release any record of a complaint Reade might have made, but the Archives confirmed to Insider they would not have such records. A complaint by Reade from 1993, if made, would be governed by Senate rules — which would prohibit their release. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer for Joe Biden who recently accused him of sexual assault, has called for him to drop out of the race. In a sit-down interview with Megyn Kelly published Thursday, Reade said that Biden "should not be running on character," and clarified that she wished he would drop out of the 2020 campaign. MK EXCLUSIVE: #TaraReade responds to #JoeBiden; calls for him to drop out pic.twitter.com/jxHAUYaWVU — Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) May 7, 2020 "I want to say, you and I were there, Joe Biden, please step forward and be held accountable," Reade said. "You should not be running on character for the president of the United States." When Kelly followed up to ask if Reade wanted him to withdraw, she replied, "I wish he would. But he won't, but I wish he would." In multiple interviews with Insider, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the podcaster Katie Halper — who first reported the allegations — Reade has said that in the spring or summer of 1993, Biden assaulted her while she was a staffer working in his Senate office. Reade alleged that she met with Biden in a semiprivate hallway to deliver a duffel bag and once there, he pushed her against a wall, put his hand up her skirt and digitally penetrated her. When she rebuffed his behavior, Reade claims Biden told her "Aw man, I heard you liked me," and when she resisted, Biden told her, "You're nothing to me." A former neighbor of Reade's, Lynda LaCasse, told Insider that Reade had told her about an assault in 1995 or 1996. "I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him," LaCasse said. "And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn't feel there was anything she could do." Reade has said she reported other forms of harassment she experienced to Biden's senior staff and Senate human resources, but not the alleged assault. When Reade complained about alleged harassment, she claims she faced career retaliation. She has called for Biden to open his Senate archives currently residing at the University of Delaware for possible records of her complaints, but Biden has said records would not be available there. Biden has emphatically denied the assault allegation, telling MSNBC last week that "it never happened." The New York Times spoke to "several people" who worked in Biden's office at the time as part of their investigation into Reade's claim and reported that none recalled hearing about such an incident or witnessed similar behavior from Biden. Instead, Biden has called for the National Archives to release any records that might shed light on a complaint made by Reade. But the Archives told Insider they would not have the documents, and that employee complaints filed to the Senate's Office of Fair Employment Practices in the 1990s would be controlled by Senate rules — which dictate that they couldn't be released until 2043. Last week, Biden wrote to the secretary of the senate asking for the office to search for and release any complaints; earlier this week the office rejected Biden's request. In an earlier statement from the campaign, Biden's communications director Kate Bedingfield said that "women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims." She added, "We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false." On Thursday, Reade told Kelly "There's a measure of hypocrisy of the campaign saying its safe, it's not been safe. She said she had been attacked on social media and by Biden's supporters. "His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely," Reade said. "I have not experienced that." On Thursday, Biden's campaign released the following statement, denying the accusations and alleging "inconsistencies" with Reade's comments. Joe Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield has released a new statement about Tara Reade, and what she says are "more and more inconsistencies" that come up every day. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/DSi1R6XrzT — MJ Lee (@mj_lee) May 7, 2020 Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How waste is dealt with on the world's largest cruise ship