Saturday, July 13, 2024

FBI Agents Accused Biden’s Ghostwriter of Obstruction in Interview, but Redacted Transcript Hides Outcome

'I guess I’ll just ask you. Were you trying to obstruct our investigation?...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Bloomberg has published a heavily redacted transcript of the FBI’s interview with Joe Biden’s ghostwriter, Mark Zwonitzer, revealing that agents accused him of obstructing justice.

The FBI accused Zwonitzer of obstruction because he destroyed recordings of his interviews with Biden after learning that Special Counsel Robert Hur was investigating the President’s mishandling of classified documents.

But because of the heavy redactions, it’s unclear how exactly the line of questioning went.  Hur said in a February report that he didn’t charge Zwonitzer, either, because “the ghostwriter offered plausible, innocent reasons for why he deleted the recordings.”

But the FBI agents probing Zwonitzer didn’t seem so sure that his deletions were innocent. In fact, they outright accused him of obstructing their investigation.

“The outside observer is going to look at this and say Mark Zwonitzer—President Biden’s friend, ghostwriter and collaborator—learned of the special counsel’s investigation, saw this was happening and then deleted all these audio recordings,” said an FBI agent, whose name is redacted.

“And I assume—and it’s OK, I just need the truth on this one—but there’s some truth in that. That what was going on. That was part of your motivation, at least something you were aware of when you did this?” the FBI agent asked.

However, Zwonitzer didn’t fall for the agent’s trap.

“I’m not going to say how much of the percentage of it was my motivation. I was aware that there was an investigation,” he said.

The agents continued to press the ghostwriter, but he insisted that his deletions weren’t motivated by a desire to protect Biden.

After the FBI agents apparently failed to trick him into admitting obstruction, they asked him point blank: “I guess I’ll just ask you. Were you trying to obstruct our investigation?”

The ghostwriter responded: “No I was not. And in fact, you know, when I got the subpoena and when I realized that I still had audio that I did not know I had on the laptop, I made sure to preserve that for this investigation.”

The next page is redacted after that answer. The Justice Department cited privacy reasons for the redactions.

Biden sharing documents with Zwonitzer was cited in Hur’s report as an example of him mishandling classified info. That allegation was based on audio of the conversations between Biden and the ghostwriter, in which Biden said he had just come across some classified documents at his home.

According to Hur, Biden said he did not recall the exchange, or that he had actually discovered any documents. Biden said if he had discussed anything questionable with the ghostwriter, it was in referring to a 20-page sensitive memo he had written to then-President Barack Obama in 2009 arguing against surging troops in Afghanistan that he wanted to ensure didn’t make it into publication.

Perhaps the most notable finding from Hur’s report is that he chose not to prosecute the President due to his failing cognitive abilities.

“Mr. Biden’s memory was significantly limited, both during his recorded interviews with the ghostwriter in 2017, and in his interview with our office in 2023. And his cooperation with our investigation … will likely convince some jurors that he made an innocent mistake, rather than acting willfully-that is, with intent to break the law-as the statute requires,” Hur said in his report.

“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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