On Monday, Joe Biden announced who he wanted as his national security advisor and secretary of state. 43-year-old former State Department official Jake Sullivan will be the youngest national security advisor in history if Biden is certified as the winner of the 2020 election. Biden also chose longtime Senate and White House aide Antony Blinken to be his secretary of state should he be sworn in on January 20.
Both picks common enormous respect in national security circles, but their past ties to Obama-era scandals could give the Republicans bullets to use during confirmation hearings.
Sullivan was a key figure in the probe of Clinton’s mishandling of classified information on a private email server. At the same time, Blinken had contacts with Hunter Biden and his Burisma Holdings colleagues in the Ukraine impeachment drama.
Emails recovered from Clinton’s private email server show that Sullivan was one of the senior State officials who regularly corresponded with the secretary of state using the insecure communications channel. He even sent her information that was classified at the secret and top-secret level.
One example was when Sullivan emailed Clinton on her personal account a memo about Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on June 7, 2012, about a later determined topic classified at the “secret” level.
Clinton replied several hours later, saying, “I’m even more determined to do this and have some ideas I want to discuss with you.”
During that time, the US-Pakistani relations were going through a difficult time as Khar was then demanding that the United States apologize for an airstrike that killed 26 Pakistanis the previous day.
In April 2019, Sullivan acknowledged in a deposition with Judicial Watch that he had indeed used the private email server frequently, although he claims that he never intended to transmit classified information,
“As Secretary Clinton has said herself, I wish she had used a State Department account,” he testified.
“It wasn’t really part of my job to be thinking about Secretary Clinton’s emails, so I don’t think I fell directly in my job, but do I wish I had thought of it during the time we were at State. Of course. I mean, what human being at this point wouldn’t have thought of that?”
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said his group’s open record lawsuits exposed serious lapses in judgment by Sullivan.“Jake Sullivan is a central figure in the Clinton email scandal and the related cover-up of the Benghazi terrorist attack,” Fitton told Just the News. “That he has yet to be held accountable for misusing classified information is another scandal. He can’t be trusted with the nation’s secrets.”
On the other hand, Blinken’s name came up this summer in a Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business activities. Blinken had served with Joe Biden in the Senate, as national security adviser to the vice president and deputy secretary of state.
On March 22, 2015, Hunter Biden emailed his father’s longtime trusted aide and sought a meeting nearly a year after Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma.
“Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I know you are impossibly busy, but I would like to get your advice on a couple of things; best, Hunter,” he wrote.
Blinken responded on the same day, saying, “absolutely,” and added, “Look forward to seeing you.”
Although it is unclear whether the meeting took place, records indicate that the two men were scheduled to meet on the afternoon of May 27, 2015. Other State Department memos confirm that Hunter indeed met with Blinken for lunch on July 22, 2015, at the State Department.
Just two days later, on July 24, 2015, Vice President Joe Biden called President Poroshenko of Ukraine and raised concerns about anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
Although Biden’s picks are worthy of respect, one can’t deny that they’re both connected to some scandals that the Republicans can use against them during their confirmation hearings.