President Joe Biden's immediate family knew more about the location of documents in his possession than the president's aides, emails from Hunter Biden's laptop suggest.
Joe Biden’s executive assistant Kathy Chung solicited assistance from Hunter Biden and four other Biden family members in locating "Vice President notecards" from "the office" on Nov. 27, 2018, emails show. The day before, another presidential aide, Richard Ruffner, had asked Chung for help locating the materials, telling her Joe Biden wanted him to have the notecards on hand.
Neither Ruffner nor Chung specified which office they were referring to in their messages, which went unanswered. Tranches of classified records from Joe Biden’s time as senator and vice president have been located at his private library at his Wilmington, Del., home and his office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
The messages from Chung to Hunter Biden and others show that the president's family members, including the First Son, were involved in his business dealings. Hunter Biden's access to the president's documents is worrisome given the business deals he was striking at the time with foreign nationals, including the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings and CEFC, a Chinese energy conglomerate linked to Chinese military intelligence.
Chung, whom Joe Biden hired in 2012 on Hunter’s recommendation, is now at the center of the Justice Department’s investigation into the president’s improper handling of state secrets. She recently confided to her associates that she may have "inadvertently been involved" in transferring classified materials to the Penn Biden Center, according to the Washington Post. The DOJ’s focus on Chung is unsurprising, given the role she played as liaison between Joe Biden and the Biden family after he concluded his term as vice president.
Chung's access to the president's inner circle was made clear in August 2018, when Joe Biden included her in a group text message with relatives and confidants, inviting them to install the encrypted messaging app, Signal. Also included in the chat were Hunter Biden, presidential counselor Steve Ricchetti, three other Biden family members, and two unknown individuals with South Korean and Washington, D.C., phone numbers, respectively.
It’s not clear why Joe Biden moved to open a secured line of communication with his family and close aides, nor who owns the unknown phone numbers. Attempts to call and text the numbers were unsuccessful, and the White House did not return a request for comment. Biden continued communicating with relatives over email and through text messages after sending the Signal invitation.
The phone number Joe Biden used to send the August 2018 invite is active on Signal as of Wednesday afternoon, as are the phone numbers for many of the individuals who received the president’s invitation, including Chung, Richetti, the president’s brother, Jim Biden, his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and his son-in-law, Howard Krein.
Chung also kept Hunter Biden abreast of his father’s work at the Penn Biden Center, where he reportedly stored classified materials related to Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom.
"Hi, Hunt!! Per your conversation with you Dad, here is he Penn Biden materials and the block schedule. Let me know if you need anything else, Hunt. Miss ya. Kathy," Chung wrote to Hunter Biden in a June 19, 2018. Chung’s message also contained a six-page report covering the results of a Penn Biden Center poll on American attitudes toward democracy.
Chung was an aide for former Sen. Mark Udall (D., Colo.) when Hunter Biden approached her in 2012 offering to recommend she serve as his father’s assistant, according to emails first reported by Fox News.
"Thanks for calling and thinking of me," Chung emailed Hunter Biden on May 14 that year. "After the initial shock of taking in what you said…how could I pass up an opportunity to work for the Vice President of the United State!!!!"
Joe Biden offered Chung the job a month later, on June 13. "I told your father what an honor it was to be working for him, giving my mother infinite bragging rights," she emailed Hunter Biden that day. "I cannot thank you enough for thinking about me and walking me thru this."
Hunter Biden attempted to poach Chung to work for him and his then-business partners Eric Schwerin and Joan Mayer in February 2017, shortly after she helped pack up Joe Biden’s vice presidential office in January.
"Come work with me and eric," Hunter wrote. "Actually work 'for' me and 'with' Eric…Actually do actual 'work' with Eric and Joan so that I can make everybody money."
Chung said she was receptive to Hunter Biden’s offer. She requested a "nice office with a water view" and a "small area to have a smoke." Ultimately, Chung stayed on as Joe Biden’s assistant and later worked for his 2020 presidential campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Hunter Biden lived at his father’s Wilmington home in 2018 and 2019, the Washington Free Beacon reported, where he had access to the Corvette that Joe Biden kept in the garage. That same garage is where a batch of classified records were recently discovered. The Free Beacon uncovered four photographs of Hunter Biden sitting behind the wheel of the 1967 Corvette Stingray on July 30, 2017, just outside his father’s Wilmington home.
Hunter Biden was issued a Delaware driver’s license listing the home as his primary residence in 2018. Hunter Biden also added the address to his Wells Fargo and PayPal accounts during his stay there, and a notarized QuitClaim deed, located on the hard drive dated Feb. 20, 2019, identifies Hunter Biden as a "divorced man, residing" at the property.