A longtime aide to President Joe Biden with links to his son Hunter is being scrutinized by Justice Department and Congress investigators as part of their inquiries into the handling of classified documents.
Kathy Chung, who is now a Pentagon official, has emerged as a key individual as she oversaw the transport of materials to the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., after Biden left the vice presidency in early 2017. Multiple reports said Chung has already been interviewed by federal investigators as part of the Justice Department’s probe. The House Oversight Committee sent her a letter over the weekend seeking documents and information as part of a congressional inquiry led by Chairman James Comer (R-KY).
In early November, Biden’s attorneys found about 10 documents marked classified while clearing out Biden’s office at the center, according to his legal team, after which the FBI searched the think tank’s offices, per CBS News. Classified documents dating back to Biden’s time as vice president or even as a U.S. Senator were also discovered at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, leading Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint former U.S. Attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to examine whether “any person or entity violated the law in connection with this matter.”
While Chung does not appear to have any involvement with the documents found at Biden’s residence, she reportedly did lead a small team at the end of the Obama administration who placed folders into boxes in the vice president’s White House office that made their way to a transition office, and then to another temporary location in Chinatown leased by the Penn Biden Center before they finally arrived at the think tank.
On January 4 of this year, federal agents reportedly interviewed Chung. The Washington Post, which relied on a “person familiar with her account,” reported Chung told investigators she was surprised any classified records might have been left in the vice-presidential office as it had been standard procedure to immediately return such materials to a safe following a briefing by national security or intelligence aides. An insider who spoke with the newspaper noted Chung, who had a top-secret security clearance at the time, did not check the folders upon packing them up.
Chung appears to have received her job — as an executive assistant to Biden while he was vice president — thanks to Hunter Biden. The Washington Post reported Chung overlapped with Hunter Biden while working at the Commerce Department in the 1990s. In the spring of 2012, when Chung was a scheduling director for Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), she apparently got a call from Hunter Biden about a new opportunity, as described in emails found on the abandoned laptop believed to have belonged to the younger Biden.
“Thanks for calling and thinking of me,” Chung said in an email addressed to Hunter Biden on May 14 of that year, according to Fox News. “After the initial shock of taking in what you said … how could I pass up an opportunity to work for the Vice President of the United State [sic]!!!!”
About a month later, on June 13, Chung sent another email to tell Hunter Biden that his father offered her a job as an assistant. “I cannot thank you enough for thinking about me and walking me thru this,” Chung said. “What an incredible opportunity! Thanks, Hunter!!”
Hunter Biden is under investigation over his shady foreign business dealings, tax affairs, and more. Though Hunter Biden has said he expects to be cleared of wrongdoing, Republicans have raised concerns about influence peddling, particularly when it comes to his Chinese business dealings, and his access to areas where classified documents have been located.
As noted by Fox News, other emails found in the abandoned laptop show Hunter Biden in communication with Chung over the years after Chung was hired to work for his father. These emails include a message to Biden family members about attending a State Department luncheon honoring Chinese President Xi Jinping and a suggestion by Hunter Biden to Chung in February 2017 that she come work with him and his business partners.
President Biden has said he was “surprised” government documents were found at his private office space. Asked by a reporter on Monday whether he takes any blame for the mishandling of documents, he said, “No.”