Watchdog group Judicial Watch is reporting that the Secret Service has repeatedly changed its position on whether it has records related to the investigation of Hunter Biden's gun, which was reportedly disposed of in a dumpster in Delaware. That was an infamous incident later exposed, that raised questions about the Secret Service's role in guarding Biden and allegedly covering up for his missteps.
According to Judicial Watch, the Secret Service now says it has located over 100 related records, totaling over 400 pages, and will complete its initial processing of the records by January 9, 2023.
Judicial Watch is investigating whether and how the Secret Service intervened for Hunter Biden in an incident involving a gun allegedly owned by him.
In September, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records or communications about the reported purchase, possession, and disposal of a firearm owned by Hunter Biden found in a Delaware dumpster in October 2018.
The Secret Service initially responded to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request on April 2, 2021 and stated that it had located potentially responsive records, and would process them in accordance with FOIA.
Then, on October 13, the Secret Service said that the April 2021 response was sent in error, and that it did not have any records responsive to the FOIA request.
But then, on Nov 10, the Secret Service informed the District Court that it has run supplemental searches and has located over 100 records, totaling over 400 pages, potentially responsive to Judicial Watch’s request.
The Secret Service also told the court that it would complete its initial processing of all potentially responsive records by January 9, 2023, and send records out for any necessary consultations with other Executive Branch entities by that date.
All other non-exempt, responsive records are to be produced to Judicial Watch by January 9.
“The Secret Service’s changing story on records raises additional questions about its role in the Hunter Biden gun incident. One thing is clear, Judicial Watch’s persistence means the public may get records that the Secret Service suggested didn’t exist.”Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch President
In October 2020, The Blaze reported that in October 2018, Hunter Biden’s handgun was taken by Hallie Biden, the widow of then-presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Beau.
In 2021, Politico reported: Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone.
Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by Politico.
But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.
In October, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice for all records in the possession of FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten regarding an August 6, 2020, briefing provided to members of the Senate. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised concerns that the briefing was intended to undermine the senators’ investigation of Hunter Biden.
In December 2020, Judicial Watch received records from the State Department tying Hunter Biden’s Burisma Holdings’ lobbying operation to an influence-peddling operation involving the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election. Bursima is a Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter what many consider a ludicrous amount of money to sit on its board while Hunter's father was vice president. Burisma fell under investigation for corruption. Then-Vice President Joe Biden claimed credit for getting the prosecutor leading the investigation fired. He says it had nothing to do with his son, but that it was because the prosecutor was corrupt. Joe Biden did not publicly address or disclose his conflict of interest at the time, with his son impacted by his decision to get the Ukrainian prosecutor fired. Joe Biden admitted what amounted to a "quid pro quo," saying he had threatened Ukraine's president that Ukraine would not get a large sum of US tax money unless that prosecutor were immediately fired.
Also uncovered were State Department records showing that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch had specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings.
In October 2020, State Department records that included a briefing checklist of a February 22, 2019, meeting in Kyiv between Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies, a Democrat lobbying firm which was hired by Burisma Holdings to combat corruption allegations.
The briefing checklist notes that Painter also planned to meet with Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) Officer Martin Claessens “regarding the Burisma Group energy company.” (Painter was implicated in the Clinton-era fundraising scandal exposed by Judicial Watch that involved the alleged sale of seats on Commerce Department trade missions to Democratic National Committee donors.)
In September 2020, State Department records include a January 17, 2017, email from George Kent, the Obama administration’s deputy assistant secretary of state in charge of Ukraine policy, which was copied to Yovanovitch, highlighting Russia-linked media “trolling” Joe Biden over “his son’s business.”
At Democrat-led Congressional hearings under President Trump, State Dept. officials admitted understanding what Trump's foreign policy guidance and orders were, but then pursuing a different strategy, which typically would be considered a form of mutiny. However, they were not widely criticized for freelancing on US foreign policy over the authority of the president of US.
An email was sent four days prior to the inauguration of President Donald Trump to a redacted recipient and CCd to Yovanovitch with the subject line “medvedchuk-linked vesti trolls Biden.”
Kent writes: “Burisma – gift that keeps on giving. (With medvedchuk affiliated Vesti pushing the troll like storyline on visit day)”
In June 2020, Secret Service records showed that, for the first five and a half years of the Obama administration, Hunter Biden traveled extensively while receiving a Secret Service protective detail.
During the time period of the records provided, Hunter Biden took 411 separate domestic and international flights, including to 29 different foreign countries. He visited China five times.
Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings and travel are controversial because he was conducting high level business with adversarial governments under suspiciously lucrative contracts while his father was vice president, giving an impression of possibly improper influence peddling.
Some records have indicated that Joe Biden was a party to the controversial business dealings though he has strongly denied that accusation. Regardless, critics say the Biden family business relationships have compromised President Biden as he sends billions of US tax dollars to Ukraine, where his son had questionable business dealings; and as he deals with China's role in the release of Covid-19 and other controversies, where his son also had lucrative business deals.
Judicial Watch is also suing the DHS for Secret Service records on Hunter Biden’s travel and security costs, and suing the State Department for messages sent through the SMART (State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolkit) system that mention Hunter Biden.