Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden, who this week was revealed to be caught up in the Obama administration’s “unmasking” scandal, said during an interview on Thursday night that if he is elected he will not stop the Department of Justice from investigating President Donald Trump and will not offer him a pardon.
During an interview on left-wing MSNBC, Biden had the following exchange with a questioner:
QUESTION: Would you be willing to commit to not pulling a President Ford and giving Donald Trump a pardon under the pretense of healing the nation? In other words, are you willing to commit to the American ideal that no one is above the law?
BIDEN: Absolutely. Yes, I commit.
Biden later said that it would be “hands off completely,” saying “that will not happen, I guarantee you.”
Biden’s remarks come after declassified government records from the Obama administration were released this week by the U.S. Senate that showed that Biden was one of several Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of then-incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The Daily Wire reported that the list showed that Biden requested to “unmask the identity of former National Security Adviser, Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn (USA-Ret)” on January 12, 2017. That same day, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius published Flynn’s identity, revealing that he was unmasked in response to a phone call that he had with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29, 2016. Ignatius wrote:
According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The declassified documents that were released noted that officials did not know whether those who requested the unmasking of Flynn actually saw Flynn’s identity once they made the request.
Fox News reported in 2017 that the disclosing of Flynn’s identity to the media could be “a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison” because “rules state that if an American with Constitutional protections is collaterally caught in such surveillance, his or her identity must be protected.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) responded to the bombshell revelations this week by noting that Obama officials were spying on the content of Flynn’s phone call with the Russian ambassador, which Attorney General William Barr has already stated was “a perfectly legitimate and appropriate call he made as a member of the transition.”
“Unmasking involves revealing the identity of an American’s private phone conversation without a constitutional warrant, to eavesdrop on that conversation,” Paul explained. “What makes this even more troubling is that this American was a high-ranking adviser to an incoming president of the opposite party. This is incredibly troubling and shocking that the previous administration, under President Obama, under Vice President Biden’s specific instruction, was eavesdropping on an American, an American adviser to the next president.”
“There’s been much conjecture in recent days that President Obama was specifically directing this, we now know at the very least, Vice President Biden was in this up to his eyeballs,” Paul continued. “They have now found that Vice President Biden is guilty of using government to go after a political opponent.”
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