Biden’s Use of False Names Could Cost Him

Below is my column in The Hill on the growing list of aliases used by President Joe Biden in prior years and the unsuccessful efforts of public interest groups and Congress to gain access to the emails. There may be innocent explanations of why the President used aliases to send information to Hunter Biden. For example, one message concerning Ukraine also mentioned his plans to go to Delaware. However, in the midst of a major corruption scandal, there is an obvious reason why Congress must be able to review these emails. It will win if this goes to court but the Biden Administration is still delaying release. In the meantime, the President has established a “war room” to deal with impeachment. Yet, he can forestall any impeachment inquiry by simply releasing his financial and email records. If these records show legitimate transactions and innocent messaging, as claimed, they will exonerate the President. In other words, this is a war that can be avoided by simple transparency.  Conversely, using White House staff to cover up any wrongdoing could make this situation far worse for the President.

Here is the column:

Last year, at an event at the White House, former president Barack Obama jokingly referred to the current president as “Vice President Biden.” At the time, it was described as the more popular politician “reminding Biden who’s boss.” Yet, this needling carried an added bite, given reports of Obama’s private doubts about Biden’s judgment.

In 2020, Obama had famously warned fellow Democrats, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f— things up.”

Obama is now being asked to bail Biden out from another debacle of his own making, going back to his time in Obama’s administration. Various committees and private groups are seeking more than 5,000 emails from Biden in which he used an array of aliases during the Obama administration.

Under the Presidential Records Act, Obama has 30 days to bar the release of the emails and to help shield his former vice president in a growing corruption scandal over the influence-peddling operation run by Biden’s son, Hunter.

Recently, it was learned that Joe Biden went by a variety of code names and false names, including Robin Ware. Robert L. Peters, JRB Ware, Celtic and “The Big Guy.” House investigators believe that may only be a partial list. For many Americans, it is understandably unnerving to learn that their president has more aliases than Anthony Weiner. However, while the number seems unusual, the practice is not unprecedented.

Top officials have used such aliases in the past for emails, including former Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. During the Obama administration, the practice was defended by then-White House press secretary Jay Carney, who assured the public that any such emails would still be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congressional inquiries. He added, “We do not use and should not use private email accounts for work.”

The problem is that there was “work” being discussed on some of these emails, including official foreign travel plans and the hiring of associates of Hunter for high-level positions. More importantly, some emails are relevant to the clients of Biden’s son. Biden has previously lied that he knew nothing of these dealings, but these emails could reveal even more about his knowledge and involvement.

Congress is investigating more than $20 million that was transferred to members of the Biden family from foreign sources through a labyrinth of shell companies and accounts. Even the Washington Post has been forced to admit that the president has lied in the past about aspects of Hunter’s dealings.  Devon Archer recently confirmed that Joe Biden’s long-standing denial of any knowledge of their business dealings is “categorically false.”

Most reporters now admit that Hunter was clearly engaging in influence-peddling, Washington’s favorite form of corruption. Yet in the face of this growing evidence, Democrats insist that Hunter and his associates were merely selling “the illusion of influence,” not actual access or influence over Joe Biden.

Obviously, these foreign clients believed that they were buying more than an illusion for the millions they spent. One corrupt Ukrainian figure said that Hunter Biden was dumber than his dog, but that he paid him anyway for access to his father.

There are indications that these clients did receive more than illusion. For example, Archer described how Burisma executives were worried about the anti-corruption investigation being conducted by Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. Archer testified that Hunter immediately “called D.C.” in response to the plea. Shokin was later fired at Joe Biden’s demand.

The House Oversight Committee has hit a wall in trying to get material from the Bidens and the administration on these past dealings. It has also learned that the president communicated with this son through alias accounts. That led them to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which has resisted the release of the emails. It has been over a year since a group requested these documents, and the NARA review is expected to take years at this pace — until after the next election.

Both Biden and Obama could easily allow the release of these emails to Congress. After all, the use of aliases has been defended on the basis that these emails are trivial or personal matters. If so, transparency will put all the allegations to rest. If it is not true, it would mean that Biden was using false names to convey important information to third parties, and the question would be why.

In one email from Hunter’s laptop, Biden associate James Gilliar explained the rules to Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter. He was not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions. “Don’t mention Joe being involved,” he wrote, “it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”  Instead, they referred to the Big Guy or Celtic.

Likewise, a trusted FBI source said that a Ukrainian businessman had said that he paid a bribe to Joe Biden, but noted that they were told to avoid using his name and to transfer the money through a complex series of accounts.

Moreover, the request of Congress followed the discovery that staffers had used Biden’s fake government account,, to send a message about meeting then-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with a cc to Hunter Biden.

Once again, there may be innocent explanations for such emails and the use of the alias. However, given the other evidence of corruption and influence peddling, it seems obvious that the information must be reviewed.

That brings us to the confrontation with NARA. The agency could rely on the PRA statute to enforce the refusal of Biden and Obama to allow Congress to review the evidence. Biden actually is supposed to be consulted twice under the law: as the former vice president and as the current president. Both Joe Bidens are likely to have the same negative reaction to exposing his emails.

However, special access to presidential records is expressly allowed under the PRA “to…Congress” and “to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, to any committee…if such records contain information that is needed for the conduct of its business and that is not otherwise available.” A refusal would deny Congress critical evidence into a corruption scandal and also a possible impeachment inquiry.

The added resistance to the review of the emails only adds to an already strong case for an impeachment inquiry. Such an inquiry does not mean that impeachment is inevitable. Rather, there is enough evidence to warrant an investigation into whether the Bidens were selling the illusion or the reality of influence. By acting under its impeachment authority, the power of Congress would be at its apex in forcing these disclosures and finding answers on the alleged corrupt practices.

None of this should be necessary, of course. Biden could remove these obstacles instantly to assure the public that his aliases were innocent, even playful, pseudonyms. “JRB Ware” may be a pun, but it is not necessarily the next “Carlos Danger.” We simply do not know, but there should be no reason why the president would not want to clear the record, particularly in an election year.

Otherwise, the effort to withhold this evidence could itself prove damaging, if material evidence of corruption or false statements are found. As Obama would say, one should never underestimate that prospect when it comes to his former vice president.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law for George Washington University.

142 thoughts on “Biden’s Use of False Names Could Cost Him”

  1. From a FOX News article……

    “”Complete versions of the records are relevant to the Committee’s investigation of the Biden family,” the letter states. “For example, on December 4, 2015, at 10:45 a.m.—in an email with the subject of ‘Quotes’—Eric Schwerin (a longtime Biden family business associate) wrote to Kate Bedingfield in the Office of the Vice President providing quotes the White House should use in response to media outreach regarding Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. Later that day—at 2:30 p.m.—Ms. Bedingfield responded to Mr. Schwerin saying, ‘VP signed off on this[.]”

    The “VP” signed off on this……errrrr….impossible because Joe Biden (the VP) has clearly and adamantly declared he knew NOTHING of his Son’s business dealings…..or did I misunderstand all those video’s of him saying that?

    ATS and his ilk shall come along and tell us to quit believing our lying eyes and ears and that the Big Guy….the VP….no matter what name he goes under in his emails….is telling us the truth and the evidence is lying.

  2. I wonder when Turley is going to understand Joe is not really the president. Obama is along with Jill and Big Mike.

  3. Sources with knowledge of the investigation are reporting that Biden posts on the website using the pseudonyms Anonymous, Gigi, and Svelaz.

  4. Only in Washington, DC, 2023, can a doddering, drooling, dandruff-shedding corrupt old man get away with blatant crimes while those with the most access play nice with the criminals. Shame on you all.

  5. Any actions short of demanding Biden’s scalp is, in my view, a waste of time, and a slap in the face.

    VP Joe Biden accepted bribes in exchange for policies beneficial to the oligarch who’s paying his son millions.

    Biden’s behavior is beyond the pale, it’s treason, in my view.

    It seems inertia is all that stands between order and chaos. I ask myself why aren’t airplanes falling out of the sky?

  6. Columns like these will not matter much as a full brace of Authoritarianism takes hold. We all know Obama and Rice and Jarrett are running everything. Most of the world already sees this. The media and legal scholars matter little at this point.

  7. “Use of false names by any politician serving the interests of the UniParty are perfectly acceptable. I’m Pierre Delecto, and I approve of this message.”–Pierre Delecto

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