Former Vice President Joe Biden sent a letter to the Secretary of the Senate on Friday, asking the chief archivist to take “whatever steps are necessary” to search for and disclose any documents related to the sexual assault allegations made by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade.
NBC News reporter Mike Memoli, who covers the Biden campaign, spoke with Meet the Press Daily host Chuck Todd about the transparency move, which followed Biden’s Friday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. During that interview, Morning Joe co-host Mike Brzenzinski repeatedly pushed Biden about the explosive claims that he assaulted and digitally penetrated Reade when she was an aide working for him in 1993 as well as his past statements in support of the #MeToo movement.
“Mike, I want to start with the former vice president formally now has asked the Secretary of Senate to search for this record,” Todd noted. “But he is not offering access to the papers that are at the University of Delaware. Is that a — is that going to hold, or are they going to relent on the papers at Delaware?”
“Yeah, Chuck, in talking with the Biden campaign as we got to this point today, I think the outcome they were sort of hoping for today was a headline that sort of essentially ‘Biden Calls Reade’s Bluff,’” Memoli said. “And the backstory here is Tara Reade has told Ali Vitali, my colleague doing reporting on this, is she did file a complaint at the time with a Senate personnel office and unfortunately that only dealt with harassment, not necessarily the allegation of assault, which she is now making.”
“What Biden wanted to do today, especially as there was increasingly some focus on his Senate papers was to make two things clear,” Memoli added. “One, that, as he put it, the papers that he has donated to the University of Delaware, which are still being curated and by the archivists there would not have included these kind of personnel records. But what he did do this morning was say he would direct the Senate — the Secretary of the Senate to petition for the National Archives to search for this document and to obtain it.”
Memoli pointed out that there is some confusion as to whether the National Archives possessed those documents, as it released a statement saying that were not in control of those files.
“This new letter that we just received from Biden in the last few minutes here, essentially says: ‘Whoever has this document, please find it, if it exists, and any documents related to it, importantly’” Memoli noted. “That’s a new piece, as well, if there are any related documents as well, and put it out. But of course, the contention from Biden and his campaign is that no such document exists.”
Read the full letter from Biden below.
NEW: Former VP Joe Biden writes letter to the Secretary of the Senate asking for a search of records regarding Tara Reade: “I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office.” pic.twitter.com/VzIWJqjZT4
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 1, 2020
Watch the video above, via MSNBC.
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