Jordan Subpoenas Biden’s Ghostwriter in Continuing Classified Records Probe

Jordan Subpoenas Biden’s Ghostwriter in Continuing Classified Records Probe
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan in Washington on Nov. 7, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) subpoenaed President Joe Biden’s ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, on Friday, pressing for details about the president’s handling of classified documents.

Last month, Special Counsel Robert Hur published his findings from his investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified documents. Among the findings, Mr. Hur said in 2016 then-Vice President Biden read off notebook entries, including several that covered classified materials, as he and Mr. Zwonitzer prepared his book “Promise Me Dad,” published in 2017.

The special counsel report, released on Feb. 8, further alleges Mr. Zwonitzer deleted some of his audio recordings with President Biden at some point during the special counsel investigation.

Mr. Jordan’s subpoena brings legal force to Republican efforts to compel Mr. Zwonitzer to share any audio or video recordings or transcripts he has from his conversations with President Biden.

House Republicans had initially reached out to Mr. Zwonitzer on Feb. 14, asking for his records ghostwriting the president’s book.

According to Mr. Jordan’s account, the ghostwriter’s lawyer initially indicated his client would turn over the requested documents by March 8. But by March 7, Mr. Zwonitzer’s lawyer sent a new notice delaying the document production and informing the committee he would need to follow up with his client. Mr. Zwonitzer’s lawyer then sent a follow-up March 11 notice informing the committee that his client would not turn over the requested documents unless he was subpoenaed.

In his Feb. 14 letter, Mr. Jordan requested documents and records from Mr. Zwonitzer’s ghostwriting work on “Promise Me Dad” as well as a biography he had written with then-Sen. Biden published in 2008 called “Promises to Keep.” The Feb. 14 letter also requested any records of contracts or agreements Mr. Zwonitzer had for the ghostwriting work he did. Republicans had also asked Mr. Zwonitzer to provide any documents and communications shared between him and President Biden or his staff relating to Mr. Hur’s special counsel investigation.

Biden VP Staff Advised Security Controls With Ghostwriter: Special Counsel Report

The special counsel report states Mr. Zwonitzer has never held a security clearance or become familiar with the restrictions on the handling of classified materials.

The report states then-Vice President Biden knew about Mr. Zwonitzer’s lack of security clearance in 2011 when he proposed hiring the writer as an official historian for the Office of the Vice President. White House attorney Cynthia Hogan authored a memorandum assessing the idea of hiring Mr. Zwonitzer and noting some issues that could arise from his lack of security clearance.

Ms. Hogan specifically warned Mr. Zwonitzer “will likely need a security clearance” and any discussions of cover classified topics would have to “occur in a secure facility.” She also warned any notes or materials that contained “classified information must be maintained in secure safes, produced on a classified computer, and stored in a secure facility.”

The special counsel report states Mr. Zwonitzer’s ghostwriting work included interviews with the president that began in April 2016 in the final months of his vice presidential term, and continued through 2017 after he left office.

The report states “Mr. Biden read from notes he took during a meeting in the Situation Room in the summer of 2015” during an interview on Feb. 16, 2017, at his Virginia rental home, weeks after his time as vice president had ended. The report states those notes included “information that remains classified up to the Secret level.”

In another April 2017 interaction with Mr. Zwonitzer, the president reportedly explained that, contrary to the views of his staff, he did not think he was required to turn his notes over to the National Archive.

Hur’s ‘Best Case’ for Charges

During their Feb. 16, 2017 interaction, the president also allegedly remarked that he “just found all the classified stuff downstairs.” The report asserts this reference was to classified documents relating to American military and foreign policy efforts in Afghanistan.

Though he declined to press charges against the president for his handling of classified information, Mr. Hur said this Feb. 16, 2017, exchange provides “the base case for charges” of those he had uncovered in his investigation.

NTD News reached out to the House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic minority for comment on the new subpoena but did not receive a response by press time.

The White House also did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Mr. Hur addressed questions about his investigative efforts during a joint House hearing on March 12. At this hearing, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) described Mr. Hur’s findings as a “complete and total exoneration” of President Biden’s handling of classified documents. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) also described Mr. Hur’s report as a “complete exoneration.”

Mr. Hur pushed back on those “exoneration” remarks during an exchange in which Ms. Jayapal repeatedly talked over him. He said the word “exoneration” did not appear at any point in his report and insisted his task as the special counsel was to determine whether sufficient evidence existed that he could secure a conviction if he proceeded with charges.

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