Biden’s inner circle met at Wilmington home where classified docs found
Days after he left the vice presidency in 2017, President Biden met with his inner circle at the Wilmington, Delaware, home where classified documents were recently discovered.
While the White House revealed on Monday that no visitor logs exist for Biden’s Wilmington residence, several people have been identified as guests at the house, a Fox News Digital review found.
Just three days after leaving office, then-Biden aide Kathy Chung invited Biden’s son, Hunter Biden; Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens; and several others to a ‘UDEL meeting at the Lake house’ on Feb. 7, 2017, according to emails recovered from Hunter’s abandoned laptop, which have been verified by Fox News Digital.
UDEL most likely refers to the University of Delaware, Biden’s alma mater, and the ‘lake house’ refers to Biden’s lakefront home in Wilmington.
Those copied on the email included Kate Bedingfield, who now serves as White House Communications Director, Mike Donilon, who now serves as Biden’s senior adviser, and Brian Mosteller, who currently serves as a senior advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
Others on the email included Biden’s longtime friend, Mel Monzack, current Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, former Biden aide Richard Ruffner, and Steve Ricchetti, who currently serves as Biden’s counselor and previously was his chief of staff while he was vice president starting in 2013, before being tapped for a senior role at the embattled Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C.
Chung, who was Biden’s executive assistant when he was vice president and the Pentagon’s current deputy director of protocol, wrote at the time: ‘OK, lets do 10:00 am on Tuesday at the Lake house. I hope this gives everyone plenty of time to drive up to DE. Please let me know if this is too early. VP asked me to check with you all. Thank you.’
On Feb 6, 2017, one day before the scheduled meeting, Chung reached out again to confirm the meeting, claiming that Graves was the only one who indicated he couldn’t make it.
‘Just to confirm tomorrow’s meeting at the Lake house,’ Chung wrote. ‘As of now, Don is the only person not attending. Please let me know if your status has changed.’
‘I will be there,’ Owens responded.
It is not clear who actually attended the meeting on Feb. 7, 2017.
At least three batches of Obama administration-era classified documents have been found on Biden’s property in recent months: one batch at the Penn Biden Center and two at his Wilmington property.
The Justice Department began its investigation into Biden after the first batch was discovered by the president’s personal lawyers at the Penn Biden Center in November, just days before the midterm elections. The developments only became public this month after CBS News broke the story and the White House was forced to respond. Attorney General Merrick Garland launched a special counsel investigation after additional classified documents from Biden were found at the Wilmington home.
Chung was reportedly among several former Biden aides to be interviewed by law enforcement in relation to the case. Chung and the others questioned reportedly helped move materials and belongings from Biden’s office at the end of the Obama administration in early 2017.
The meeting of Biden’s inner circle in Wilmington on Feb. 7, 2017, came the same day it was announced that the former vice president would be leading the Penn Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.
‘At Penn, I look forward to building on the work that has been a central pillar of my career in public office: promoting and protecting the post-WWII international order that keeps the United States safe and strong,’ Biden said in a Feb. 7, 2017, press release.
It wasn’t the first time Biden’s inner circle had a meeting at the Wilmington residence to strategize Biden’s future plans at the University of Delaware. According to an email from Chung in March 2016, Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden were hosting a presentation ‘on the website for the Foundation from Ted Kaufman,’ Biden’s longtime confidante and neighbor, at their Wilmington home following a meeting at the University of Delaware.
‘After the UDEL presentation this Friday, VP and Dr. Biden ask that you come back to the Lake house for a presentation on the website for the Foundation from Ted Kaufman,’ Chung wrote. ‘The presentation meeting should not last past 8:30 pm. We know this is a lot of time on a Friday afternoon, but your thoughts/input on this is greatly appreciated. Thank you and please let me know if you are able to stay for this meeting as well.’
One day before the meeting, Chung sent a follow-up email and noted who the University of Delaware attendees would be for the meeting at the university president’s residence and told them ‘you will all head back to the Lake house for a presentation from Ted Kaufman on the Foundation’s website.’
Chung was an executive assistant for Vice President Biden from 2012 through the end of the Obama administration. Emails reviewed by Fox News Digital showed that Hunter recommended Chung for the executive assistant role when the previous holder of the job, Michele Smith, departed the White House in the spring of 2012.
Several of the people copied on the 2016 email have been in Biden’s orbit for several years, including Ricchetti, Donilon, and other top aides.
In January 2017, days after the Obama administration concluded, many of the same people were scheduled to attend a meeting at Biden’s home in McLean, Virginia.
‘Sorry if this is redundant to some,’ Chung wrote in an email titled ‘UDEL Meeting’ on Jan. 24, 2017. ‘Just need to capture everyone. The VP would like to hold this meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26, 12:30 pm, at his residence [in McLean]. If you cannot be there in person, but would like to join, pls provide the best phone number to call. thank you.’
‘Don, can you pls include Ben Harris on this email, I don’t seem to have it. thank you,’ she added.
That email was sent to Hunter, Valerie, Graves, Ricchetti, Donilon, as well as former Biden Cancer Initiative executive director Gregory Simon and Ted Kaufman, Biden’s longtime confidante of several decades who chaired his transition in 2020 and early 2021.
It is also unclear who wound up attending that meeting. The White House, Owens, Kaufman, and Hunter’s lawyer did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
On Feb. 2, 2017, Bedingfield sent an email to Hunter, Owens and several of the others, with the addition of Robert Peters, a reported alias for Joe Biden, to confirm the wording for a University of Delaware press release announcing the Biden Institute.
‘Here’s the draft release with both UDel’s edits and mine,’ Bedingfield wrote at the time. ‘As I told the VP on the phone, Assanis wants to hold the news of the naming of the public policy school in order to do a bigger event on it down the line. So the release is the announcement of the Institute, which I think is fine. Let me know of any concerns and edits. We are planning for a Tuesday morning 2/7 rollout. Thanks!’
In addition to this meeting, Fox News Digital did a review and identified several other people who have been to Biden’s Wilmington house, despite the White House and Secret Service saying earlier this week that there are no visitor logs for the Wilmington house.
Biden hosted Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, of New York, and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, in October 2021 for breakfast at his Wilmington house to discuss Build Back Better, according to a White House press release.
Others who have been at the house include past presidential campaign staff and current aides, including Ricchetti, who just traveled with Biden over the three-day holiday weekend to his Wilmington house.
Biden’s son, Hunter, has had unlimited access to the Wilmington home. Though it remains unclear when the classified files from Biden’s time as vice president made their way into the home. Emails reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital show the younger Biden listed the Wilmington, Delaware, address as his own permanent residence for his credit card and Apple account in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Biden converted the basement of his Wilmington residence into a de facto campaign headquarters in March 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, where he frequently hosted virtual events and would have had to rely on campaign aides to help. Annie Tomasini, who is currently the director of Oval Office operations at the White House, and Anthony Bernal, a senior adviser in first lady Jill Biden’s office, ‘were allowed in regularly’ because ‘neither of them had their own families, which meant they could devote themselves entirely to the Bidens,’ the ‘Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency’ book said.
A day after the 2020 election, several of Biden’s advisers, including O’Malley Dillon, Klain, and Donilon, met with Biden in his study room at the Wilmington house, where O’Malley Dillon exclaimed, ‘Sir, you’re going to win.’
Biden has spent considerable time in Delaware since taking over the presidency, having been there for nearly 200 days, according to an Associated Press tally. During the visits, Biden stays at his Wilmington or Rehoboth Beach residences and has a full security detail. Others who have been at the house include past presidential campaign staff and current aides, including Steve Ricchetti, who just traveled with Biden over the three-day holiday weekend to his Wilmington house and is a longtime confidante.
Hunter has also made several trips to Wilmington with his dad since he became president in early 2021.
On Mar 26, 2021, Hunter and his wife Melissa Cohen and their son Beau accompanied Biden on a trip to Wilmington.
On May 25, 2021, Hunter traveled to Wilmington for the funeral service of longtime Biden staffer Norma Long. Days later, Hunter was photographed with his father visiting Beau Biden’s gravesite in Wilmington. On Dec. 18, 2021, Hunter and his family attended church with the Bidens near Wilmington.
Fox News’ Joe Schoffstall, Bradford Betz, and Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.