As Biden fends off sexual assault charge, National Archives says it has no relevant records

·Chief Investigative Correspondent

The National Archives said Friday it has no record of any files from a congressional office that might contain evidence of a sexual misconduct complaint against Joe Biden from 27 years ago, when he was a U.S. senator.

“The short answer is no — we don’t have those. Those records are with the Congress,” John Valceanu, director of communications for the archives, told Yahoo News.

The archives later put out a statement saying in its entirety: “Any records of Senate personnel complaints from 1993 would have remained under the control of the Senate. Accordingly inquiries related to these records should be directed to the Senate.” The office of the secretary of the Senate did not respond to a request for comment. 

Earlier this year Biden was hit with an accusation that he assaulted a former member of his staff in 1993. The accuser, Tara Reade, said she had also filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment about her time working in Biden's office but does not have a copy. She said the harassment complaint did not include details of the assault.

Former Vice President Joe Biden. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Former Vice President Joe Biden. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

In a statement and an interview Friday morning Biden denied the episode entirely and said any record of the complaint, if it existed, would be in the National Archives.

Reade claims Biden, then a senator from Delaware, pushed her against a wall while she was running an errand and groped her, penetrating her with his fingers. Biden’s presidential campaign office had denied Reade’s account, but he had not addressed it directly until Friday, when he issued a statement forcefully denying the claims, saying, “This never happened.”

“There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be — the National Archives,” the statement said. “The National Archives is where the records are kept at what was then called the Office of Fair Employment Practices. I am requesting that the Secretary for the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.”

An agency official said it was possible that Congress has leased space at the National Archives that might contain such records from the congressional office — which has since changed its name to the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. But, the official said, the archives does not control any such records or have custody of them. It was not immediately clear whether any of the congressional records being stored at the archives would include those from the employment office, even if the archives is unable to access them.

The National Archives building in Washington, D.C. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The National Archives building in Washington, D.C. (Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Asked for comment on the National Archives statement, the Biden campaign Friday night released a copy of a letter the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sent to the secretary of the Senate, Julie Adams. “We had understood that the Senate stores records from [the fair employment office] and, from this period, in the National Archives,” Biden wrote. “The Archives now states that the records would have remained under the control of the Senate.

"Accordingly, I request that you take or direct whatever steps are necessary to establish the location of the records of this Office and, once they have been located, to direct a search for the alleged complaint and to make public the results of this search.”  

Biden’s public papers are in the archives of the University of Delaware, under seal until two years after he leaves public life. In response to questions from “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski in an interview Friday morning, Biden said those documents would not include any personnel matters but do hold private correspondence with former President Barack Obama and other world leaders that he is unwilling to release in the middle of a presidential campaign.

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