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Joe Biden to Deliver Commencement Address at Columbia University

Former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement address to Columbia Law School’s graduating class on Wednesday, despite his history of plagiarism and academic embellishment.

Biden, who has sidelined himself from the campaign trail because of the coronavirus outbreak, will deliver the address virtually from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

The dean of Columbia law said last month in announcing the former vice president’s address:

Vice President Joe Biden is synonymous with public service. Biden’s enduring and exemplary career as a leader, lawyer and public servant sets an example for our students as they prepare to begin their own course as legal professionals.

Biden’s address will follow similar ones made by former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, each of whom in recent weeks has opted to speak virtually to students graduating from college and high school as more traditional ceremonies have been canceled due to public health concerns.

Although it is unclear what the context of the former vice president’s speech will be, it has already begun drawing rebukes from some on the right, especially given Biden’s own history with higher education.

During his first presidential run for the 1988 Democrat nomination, Biden, then a United States Senator from Delaware, developed a tendency for embellishing his academic achievements.

“I went to law school on a full academic scholarship, the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,” Biden told voters in New Hampshire in April 1987 when questioned about his academic record. He proceeded to cite an exhaustive list of his academic accomplishments — including having earned three bachelors degrees and being in the top half of his law school class—before suggesting that he and the man who had broached the initial question “compare” their levels of intelligence.

Those claims, though, quickly jeopardized his budding White House campaign. As the Washington Post reported in September 1987, Biden was not a star student by any means during either his undergraduate or law school years.

Biden’s “undergraduate academic records show that he graduated from [the University of] Delaware 506th in a class of 688 with a ‘C’ average,” the Post noted. Neither did he graduate with three bachelors degrees as claimed but rather a “dual major in history and political science.”

It also emerged that Biden had not only lied about receiving a full ride to law school, but he fell far short of being in the top half of his class — ranking 76 out of 85.

More troubling, though, was that Biden had been caught plagiarizing in law school. For a legal methods course, Biden lifted five pages from a published law review article and submitted them “without quotation or citation” in his own 15-page paper.

Biden said when admitting the plagiaris:

In the marketplace of ideas in the political realm, the notion that for every thought or idea you have to go back and find and attribute to someone is frankly ludicrous. I’ve done some dumb things, and I’ll do some dumb things again.

Despite the mea culpa, Biden’s credibility was too damaged for the electorate in 1988, especially since he had already been accused of plagiarizing the campaign speeches of other politicians and inflating his civil rights activism. Shortly after the Post’s exposé, Biden dropped out of the presidential race.

“I’m angry at myself for having been put in the position — put myself in the position — of having to make this choice,” Biden said when announcing his exit from the 1988 race.

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Biden Bragged about Nearly Being Arrested for Following ‘Lovely’ Women

Former Vice President Joe Biden once bragged about nearly being arrested for chasing a “lovely group of women” into an all-female dormitory in his youth.

Biden, who is now under scrutiny after facing sexual misconduct allegations from a former Senate staffer, regaled voters during a campaign swing through Athens, Ohio, in October 2008, with a story about what occurred during his last visit to their city. At the time, Biden, who was the Democrat vice presidential nominee, claimed he had journeyed to the city for a football game between his alma mater, the University of Delaware, and the local, Athens-based Ohio University sometime in 1963.

“Now I made a little mistake here that day, I made a little mistake,” Biden told the crowd at the time. Adding, according to reporters in attendance, with a wink that after the game he wandered around and “met this lovely group of Ohio University…students.”

Biden proceeded to explain that he attempted to convince two young women he met on the campus to join him and some friends at a local establishment.

“And uh, without knowing it, I shouldn’t admit this on national television because it’ll reveal that I’m over 60, but I thought that we were gonna go get something to eat,” he said. When the “two young women” claimed they would “be right back,” he offered to escort them to their dormitory, where trouble quickly ensued with campus security.

“I said well I’ll come with you, and they said okay, and I walked into their dormitory and was immediately accosted by a cop who arrested me because back in those days men were not allowed in women’s dormitories,” Biden said. “But I promise you I never breached the first floor and it was only a temporary detention.”

“But that’s what I most remember about Athens,” he added. “So folks look, it’s good to be back here.”

The story when it first emerged made headlines not only because Biden had never disclosed a previous arrest, but also because it came at the time the vice presidential nominee was becoming known for his frequent gaffes on the campaign trail.

At one point the gaffes even drew the rage of Biden’s running mate, future President Barack Obama, who rhetorically asked staffers on a conference call just “how many times is Biden gonna say something stupid.” They did not, however, prevent the Democrat ticket from sweeping the electoral college that fall, allowing Biden to work his way into Obama’s good graces by helping shepherd the administration’s stimulus and healthcare initiatives through Congress.

Despite the progress, Biden would continue telling the story about his brush with law enforcement during subsequent trips to Ohio. Most notably, while campaigning for the Democrat ticket in 2012, he once again told voters in Athens about the incident, albeit this time clarifying that he was not arrested, but came close.

“The last time I was here, I want to make clear to the press, I didn’t get arrested, but I almost did, because back in those days, you students won’t appreciate this, men weren’t allowed anywhere near a woman’s dorm,” Biden said.

“And I got invited into a dorm. I thought I was walking into the waiting room; I got brought into the hallway,” he said. Adding, through laughter, and “I got escorted out very quickly by an Athens policeman.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebuY-N_5vvM

The story of Biden’s trip to Athens comes back into the spotlight as the former vice president is under fire and facing accusations of sexual assault.

Last month, Tara Reade, who came forward in April 2019 to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching and sexual harassment, revealed there was more to her story. Reade now claims that Biden pushed her up against a wall, kissed her, and forcibly penetrated her with his fingers, while she was briefly employed by his Senate office in the early 1990s.

The accusation has been difficult to corroborate given that nearly 30 years have passed since it supposedly took place. As such, Reade has sought to make public the sexual harassment complaint she allegedly filed in 1993, especially as former Biden staffers claim no such document exists.

Reade, for her part, contends that not only does the complaint exist, but it is likely within the thousands of Senate documents the former vice president donated to the University of Delaware in 2011.

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‘President Tweety’—Biden Dings Trump Over Social Media Use

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democrat nominee, took a shot at President Donald Trump’s relentless social media use on Monday by wryly attempting to christen him “President Tweety.”

Biden, who just last week claimed he was resisting giving the president a nickname, floated the new epithet during a video appearance before the AAPI Victory Fund, a Super PAC working to mobilize Asian American voters ahead of the 2020 election.

“Trump is out there tweeting again this morning, I call him ‘President Tweety,’” Biden said, proceeding to lambast Trump’s push to reopen the economy amid the COVID19 pandemic. “How are we supposed to [reopen] if you’re sitting on the money small businesses need in order to stay alive?”

“Stop tweeting about it,” the former vice president added. “Get the money out to main street now.”

The effectiveness of Biden’s nickname for Trump has yet to be seen. It has, however, already elicited a response from the president’s eldest son, who poked fun at the creativity behind its conception on Monday.

‘President Tweety’ is exactly the type of high-quality nickname that you would expect to come from someone who uses the phrase ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ like it’s a normal thing to say,” Donald Trump, Jr. wrote shortly after Biden’s AAPI remarks began circulating on social media. “So cringeworthy!”

This is not the first time the former vice president has sought to even the playing field with Trump when it comes to the branding of political opponents.

“There’s so many nicknames I’m inclined to give this guy. “You can just start with clown,” Biden told supporters during a closed-door fundraiser in South Carolina last year. He added that “no-good S.O.B.” might do as well.

Eventually, Biden opted not to use either, telling supporters, “I’m not going to do is get into what he wants me to do. He wants this to be a mud wrestling match.”

Trump, for his part, infamously coined the moniker “Sleepy Joe” for the former vice president early last year. That nickname, supposedly a reference to Biden’s age and frequent gaffes, has become something of a rallying cry for Trump supporters, much as “Crooked Hillary” was used to lambast former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign.



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Richard Burr Steps Down as Senate Intel Chair amid Coronavirus Insider Trading Probe

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is temporarily stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into his decision to unload upwards of $1.72 million in stock ahead of the coronavirus outbreak.

Burr, who is facing not only a DOJ probe, but also one by the Securities and Exchange Commission, informed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this morning of his decision to relinquish his committee gavel temporarily due to ongoing controversy.

“We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow,” McConnell said in a statement Thursday.

Although it is unclear who will replace Burr at the helm of the Intelligence Committee, on Thursday, Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) floated the idea of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as the panel’s next most senior member, Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), was already chairing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was questioned by federal agents in recent days over her husband’s decision to sell stock ahead of the outbreak, according to NBC News.

The decision to step down comes one day after Burr was served a warrant at his Washington, DC, residence by federal agents, according to the Los Angeles Times. Law enforcement officials purportedly seized Burr’s cell phone in hopes of establishing a communications timeline between the senator and his stockbroker as they probe into his decision to unload hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock this past February.

Burr, who at the time was receiving nearly daily briefings by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the coronavirus threat, netted between $628,000 and $1.72 million. The senator’s sale, which came less than a week before the stock market tumbled because of the virus, has sparked questions of insider trading, especially as most of the shares he sold were in travel and hospitality companies, such as Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Hilton, which were hard hit due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

Perhaps more troubling is that Burr’s brother-in-law, a political appointee of President Donald Trump, also dumped upwards of $280,000 in stock on the same day as the senator.

Given the fact pattern, many speculate Burr may have acted on insider information privy only to his committee to protect his and his family’s assets. If true, Burr could be found in violation of the STOCK Act, which prohibits the use of non-public information for lawmakers’ private profit.

Even before Burr opted to step down from his chairmanship, the senator’s political standing had already taken a hit. Not only has he drawn criticism from both sides of the political aisle, but recent polling indicates a majority of his North Carolina constituents believe he should resign over the matter. The political pressure culminating was evidenced on Thursday when Burr’s seatmate, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), t0ld a local North Carolina radio station he owed everyone an “explanation” for his conduct.



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Top Biden Aide Deletes Tweet Attacking CBS Over ‘Unmasking’ Memo

A top Joe Biden aide lashed out at a CBS News correspondent for reporting on the release of a new memo indicating the former vice president was aware of the “unmasking” of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

On Wednesday, CBS News’s senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge made public a memo from acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell. The memo, which was declassified earlier this week and sent to members of the United States Senate, included a list of Obama administration officials who requested the names of American citizens picked up in national security surveillance between the end of the 2016 general election and when President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

The list is central to Flynn’s recent legal troubles. The former NSA adviser held several private phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the days after the 2016 election, before Trump took office. Many of the calls were picked up by U.S. intelligence, resulting in Flynn’s name being leaked illegally to the media. Flynn was later prosecuted for lying to federal law enforcement about the calls with Kislyak, but the case has since been dropped by the Department of Justice.

Herridge’s making public the memo, which includes Biden’s name, drew the ire of Andrew Bates, the former vice president’s rapid response director, on Wednesday. After issuing an official statement on the “unmasking list,” Bates took to social media to personally lambast Herridge, suggesting she was politically compromised as a reporter for once having worked at Fox News.

“Catherine Herridge is a partisan, rightwing hack who is a regular conduit for conservative media manipulation ploys because she agrees to publicize things before contacting the target to ask for comment,” Bates said in a now-deleted tweet responding to Herridge’s announcement of the memo.

Bates’ comments come only days after the former vice president pledged that in a “Biden White House, there will be no bullying of the media from the press room podium or by tweet.”

“A free press is essential to a free society. Tyrants know this all too well. That is why attacking the press and attempting to intimidate independent media is a standard part of the authoritarian playbook,” Biden said in a statement earlier this month honoring World Press Freedom Day.

Neither CBS News nor the Biden campaign responded to requests for comments on this story before press time.



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FBI Seizes Richard Burr’s Cell Phone as Part of Stock Selloff Probe

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) cellphone on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into the lawmaker’s decision to unload upwards of $1.72 million in stock ahead of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Burr, who serves as chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, was reportedly served a warrant for his cellphone at his Washington, D.C., residence on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Law enforcement officials purportedly seized the phone in order to examine any communication the senator may have had with his stockbroker over the past few months.

“Such a warrant being served on a sitting U.S. senator would require approval from the highest ranks of the Justice Department and is a step that would not be taken lightly,” the Times noted.

The seizure is the first significant development since the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission announced last month they were investigating the Republican lawmaker for possible insider trading.

Burr drew the attention of lawmakers after it was revealed he sold off thousands of dollars worth of stock on February 13—less than a week before the stock market sharply dropped because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the shares were in companies  like Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Hilton that took an especially hard hit as coronavirus travel restrictions went into place. Burr’s timely decision to sell netted him between $628,000 and $1.72 million.

More troubling is that Burr’s decision to sell came as his committee was receiving daily briefings on the threat posed by the virus. As such, many speculate the senator may have acted on insider information to protect his assets. If true, Burr could be found in violation of the STOCK Act, which prohibits the use of non-public information for private profit by lawmakers.

The FBI’s seizure of Burr’s phone comes only days after it was reported that his brother-in-law, a political appointee of President Donald Trump, dumped upwards of $280,000 in stock on the same day as the senator.

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Tara Reade’s Lawyer Urges Biden to Open Senate Documents for Review

Tara Reade’s newly hired lawyer is urging former Vice President Joe Biden to make his Senate documents open for a thorough search of any records relating to his client’s sexual assault allegation.

Doug Wigdor, Reade’s attorney, sent a letter to the Biden campaign on Monday requesting the trove of documents be opened so his client can receive the “due process she deserves.”

“We hereby request that you immediately open up your archives … and authorize a search to determine whether they contain any records related to Ms. Reade, including, but not limited to, Ms. Reade’s Request for Counseling and [or] documents related thereto,” the letter reads, according to the Washington Examiner.

Reade, who served as a staffer in Biden’s Senate office between 1992 and 1993, came forward last month to reveal there was more to the allegations of unwanted touching than she first brought against the former vice president in April 2019. According to Reade, she was not only sexually harassed while working for Biden, but she was also allegedly the victim of sexual assault. Reade claims that then-Senator Joe Biden pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and digitally penetrated her sometime in 1993.

As Breitbart News reported earlier this month, Biden’s Senate papers may hold the key to the newfound allegation. Reade claims that while employed by Biden’s office she raised concerns about being sexually harassed with her superiors, although she did not mention the supposed assault. She also claims that she filed a written report with the Senate personnel office laying out the misconduct.

To date, Reade has not been able to obtain a copy of the personnel report. She claims her inability stems from the fact that Biden’s Senate papers were donated to the University of Delaware in 2011.

Neither are the papers likely to become public any time soon. The documents, which fill 1,875 boxes and include 415 gigabytes of electronic records, were to be made public on Dec. 31, 2019, according to an agreement the former vice president entered into with the University of Delaware upon donating his papers.

Those parameters, though, were changed on April 24, 2019—the day before Biden declared his 2020 campaign—when the university announced the trove of documents would now be made public on Dec. 31 or “two years” after the former vice president “retires from public life.” At the time, the university provided no definition for what it considered “public life,” leaving open the final date for release.

Among the documents are “committee reports, drafts of legislation,” and official correspondence. It is uncertain if documents pertaining to personnel issues or employment complaints would be among the papers, but internal correspondence regarding Reade or her allegations by Biden’s Senate staff are likely to be included.

The latter is all the more likely given Reade’s claims of having discussed her accusations with superiors and the hasty nature in which she left her position after the alleged assault took place.

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Biden Promises to Scrap New Devos Rule on College Sexual Assault

Former Vice President Joe Biden is promising to scrap newly proposed guidelines by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos meant to ensure that individuals being accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses receive due process.

Biden, who most notably led the Obama administration’s “It’s On Us” campaign as vice president, criticized the education secretary on Wednesday for making college campuses “less safe.” In particular, the former vice president claimed DeVos’s “new rule gives colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their rights.”

“Survivors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced,” Biden said in a statement.

The statement came shortly after Devos and the Department of Education announced new regulations mandating that colleges and universities give individuals accused of sexual misconduct formal complaints, which are to be adjudicated in a courtroom-like setting.

Under prior Obama administration guidelines, colleges were allowed to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when determining the guilt of those accused. Such regulations often led to lawsuits alleging the infringement of civil liberties, as many of the accused were not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.

Devos’s new regulations will allow representatives for not only victims but also the accused to call witnesses and challenge evidence. Such hearings, which will be either conducted in-person or virtually, will have to now to rely on a “clear and convincing” standard, rather than just a “preponderance of the evidence.” When investigating complaints, colleges will also have to rely on trained personnel to evaluate evidence and make final decisions.

The former vice president said on Wednesday:

Trump’s Education Department … is trying to shame and silence survivors, and take away parents’ peace of mind… as President, I’ll be … on the side of survivors, who deserve to have their voices heard, their claims taken seriously and investigated, and their rights upheld.

Biden’s attack on DeVos and the Trump administration comes as the former vice president, himself, is under fire and facing accusations of sexual assault.

Late last month, Tara Reade, who came forward in April 2019 to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching and sexual harassment, revealed there was more to her story. Reade now claims he pushed her up against a wall and forcibly penetrated her with his fingers, while she was briefly employed by his Senate office in the early 1990s.

The accusation has been difficult to corroborate given that nearly 30 years have passed since it supposedly took place. As such, Reade has sought to make public the sexual harassment complaint she allegedly filed in 1993, especially as former Biden staffers claim no such document exists.

Reade, for her part, has contended that not only does the complaint exist, but it is likely within the thousands of Senate documents the former vice president donated to the University of Delaware in 2011.

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Court Docs Reveal Reade Told Ex About Harassment in Biden’s Office

Court documents from Tara Reade’s 1996 divorce proceedings indicate that she told her ex-husband about the alleged sexual harassment she faced while working for Joe Biden’s Senate office in the early 1990s.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on Thursday that it had obtained a 1996 declaration filed by Theodore Dronen, Reade’s ex-husband, contesting a restraining order she filed against him after he had begun divorce proceedings. Dronen’s filing was in response to claims Reade made about having been a victim of domestic violence and sexual harassment when initially seeking out the order.

At the time Dronen disputed a number of the statements Reade made about their relationship, according to the Tribune, claiming her “traumatic” experiences while working for Biden had colored her “perception and judgment.”

“At the early stages of our dating, [Reade] felt comfortable confiding in me as we both worked for members of Congress,” the declaration reads. “On several occasions [Reade] related a problem that she was having at work, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office.”

“It was obvious that this event had a very traumatic effect on [Reade], and that she is still sensitive and effected [sic] by it today,” the declaration adds.

Reade, who worked for Biden’s congressional office between 1992 and 1993, had initially come forward last April to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching. At the time, Reade told a local California news outlet that she had filed a complaint noting the misconduct with the Senate’s personnel office when it purportedly occurred. Her story, however, changed in March, with Reade claiming that Biden had pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and digitally penetrated her sometime in 1993.

The purported assault, which Reade claims took place either in the U.S. Capitol or the Russell Senate Office Building in 1993, has been vehemently denied by the former vice president. The denial has been echoed by Biden allies, including onetime members of his Senate staff.

Some, like Ted Kaufman, who was Biden’s Senate chief of staff when the incident allegedly took place, denies that Reade ever mentioned sexual harassment.

“She did not come to me,” Kaufman said last month. “I would have remembered her if she had, and I don’t remember her at all.”

Dronen’s declaration, though, suggests otherwise, claiming that Reade told him that she had “struck a deal” with Biden’s then-chief of staff regarding the sexual harassment “problem” and “left her position.”

Although the court documents do not state that Biden committed the harassment in question, nor do they make any mention of the alleged assault, they provide the only written record from the past that substantiates part of Reade’s account.

The new documents emerge as pressure has mounted on the former vice president to release his congressional papers, which Reade contends may shed further light on the allegation.

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Secretary of the Senate Refuses Request to Release Tara Reade Records

The secretary of the United States Senate on Monday turned down a request by Joe Biden to search through records in its possession in hopes of locating a sexual harassment complaint by Tara Reade, a onetime congressional staffer for the former vice president who is now accusing him of sexual assault.

In a statement announcing its decision, the secretary’s office pointed to both federal law and Senate rules prohibiting the release of personnel and employment records in order to ensure the privacy of all those involved.

“Senate Legal Counsel advises that the Secretary has no discretion to disclose any such information as requested,” the statement reads.

The response comes after the former vice president sent the secretary a letter on Friday for a search and release of any sexual harassment complaint Reade may have filed with the Senate’s Office of Fair Employment Practices in the early 1990s while working on his congressional staff.

Reade, who worked for Biden’s congressional office between 1992 and 1993, had initially come forward last April to accuse the former vice president of unwanted touching. At the time, she told a local California news outlet that she had filed a complaint noting the misconduct with the Senate’s personnel office when it purportedly occurred. In March of this year, however, she claimed there was more to the story, asserting that Biden had pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her, and digitally penetrated her sometime in 1993.

The new accusation has been difficult to corroborate given that nearly 30 years have passed since the supposed incident took place. As such, Reade has sought to make public the sexual harassment complaint she allegedly filed in 1993, especially as former Biden staffers claim no such document exists. Reade, for her part, has contended that not only does the complaint exist, but it is likely within the thousands of Senate documents the former vice president donated to the University of Delaware in 2011.

On Friday, in a lengthy statement released ahead of an appearance on MSNBC, the former vice president insisted his Senate papers do not hold such records. Biden initially claimed the National Archives and Records Administration was the logical place for such a complaint to reside if did exist, a claim that was refuted by agency.

“Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate,” a representative from the National Archives told Breitbart News on Friday.

With the secretary of the Senate making its announcement on Monday, however, now it is likely the complaint, if it does exist, can only be made public through a congressional action.

The secretary’s office did not return requests for comment before press time.



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