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Former Vice President Joe Biden went head-to-head with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski Friday morning on the sexual assault allegations made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade.
The 2020 presumptive Democratic presidential nominee was adamant that the claim is not true, but was equally adamant about not opening records held by the University of Delaware to see if there is a copy of the complaint Reade said she filed.
“She says in 1993, Mr. Vice President, that you pinned her against a wall and reached under her clothing and penetrated her with your fingers,” Brzezinski said. “Would you please go on the record with the American people. Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?”
“No. It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened, and it didn’t. It never happened,” he replied.
Brzezinski then asked Biden if he remembered Reade or any complaints she may have made.
“I don’t remember any type of complaint she may have made,” he responded, carefully sidestepping whether he remembered her as a person.
“It was 27 years ago. I don’t remember, nor does anyone else that I’m aware of,” Biden added. “And the fact is that I don’t remember — I don’t remember any complaint ever having been made.”
Brzezinski asked Biden about the complaint Reade said she filed at the time, noting that in a statement he released before his appearance, Biden called on the National Archives to search for the alleged complaint.
“Are you preparing us for a complaint that might be there?” she asked.
Biden insisted that he was “confident” there was no complaint, adding that “there is nothing for me to hide.”
Turns out, the National Archives has refuted that claim.
Business Insider investigative reporter Nicole Einbinder tweeted:
Instead, a Senate Historical Office staffer said the Fair Employment Practices records are governed by a Senate resolution mandating that "records containing personal privacy, information closed by statute, and records of executive nomination are closed for 50 years." pic.twitter.com/xUVyfnQP2H
— Nicole Einbinder (@NicoleEinbinder) May 1, 2020
Of course, the stipulation here is if Reade filed her complaint against Biden with the Office of Fair Employment Practices.
The candidate was asked if there are any nondisclosure agreements signed by women who worked for him.
“I’ve never asked anyone to sign a NDA, There are no NDAs, period — in my case,” he declared.
In statement, Biden denies sexual assault allegation and says his papers at the University of Delaware don’t include any such record. Said accuser’s story has been inconsistent. “This never happened.” pic.twitter.com/ifFZ6nJV1m
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 1, 2020
However, when asked about releasing a treasure trove of documents — 1800+ boxes, as Brzezinski noted — that the University of Delaware has, Biden got a bit belligerent.
He even laughed at the idea that his accuser suggested her complaint may be there, insisting that the National Archives is the only place it could be.
Biden was asked why not push for the release of any documents with Reade’s name on it.
“First of all, let’s get this straight, there are no personnel — you can’t do that,” he said, explaining that such documents contain private information a senator’s records would not have access to.
When asked why Reade would make the accusation, Biden said he would not question her motives, adding, “I don’t know why she is saying this.”
Pushed on his stance during the Kavanaugh hearings that women should be believed, Biden said Reade had “a right to come forward” and make her claim, and it should be investigated, before adding the caveat that “if she makes the case, or the case is made, then it should be believed.”
To her credit, Brzezinski highlighted the double standard in play among a number of Democrats, to include Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A double standard seen at the time from Biden as well:
Biden, on whether Kavanaugh deserves the presumption of innocence: “the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system." pic.twitter.com/D4cGTYbaQm
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 1, 2020
Arguing that the facts are not there, and that there are “inconsistencies” in Reade’s claim, Biden insisted nothing happened.
Going back to the University of Delaware records, which were to be released, but then sealed, Brzezinski pressed on why Biden wouldn’t approve a search of Reade’s name in the university’s records.
“There is nothing. They aren’t there,” he said. “I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make.”
“The material in the University of Delaware has no personnel files, but it does have a lot of confidential conversations… that would not be something that wouldn’t be revealed while I was in public office or seeking public office,” Biden added.
“I’m just talking about her name, not anybody else,” Brzezinski said. “Why not do a search for Tara Reade’s name?”
“Who does that search?” Biden asked, going on to say that the National Archives is the place to look. “If the report was ever filed, it was filed there. Period.”
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