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Ed Klein: The Story Behind Biden's Decision

Ed Klein: The Story Behind Biden's  Decision
 (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 21 October 2015 02:34 PM

If you listened to the media chatter about why Joe Biden decided to take himself out of the running for president, you’d conclude that it was all about grieving and timing. By the time the Biden family went through the grieving process over the death of Beau Biden, it was just to late for Joe to get into the race.

All of that is true enough as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough, because none of the media’s coverage told the story behind the story—the intrigue and deliberate deception at the highest levels of the political system that ultimately determined Biden’s decision to take a pass on the presidency.

According to sources close to Biden, the vice president and President Obama, who had been urging Biden to run, held numerous discussions about Biden’s chances of taking on Hillary in the Democrat primaries and knocking her out of the presidential race.

In those talks, Biden expressed doubt that he would be able to overcome Hillary’s advantage in timing, money, organization, and ground game. The only way he could see himself getting into the race, Biden reportedly told the president, was if the White House assured him that it would support the FBI’s investigation of Hillary’s improper handling of classified documents on her private e-mail system and encourage Attorney General Loretta Lynch to bring down an indictment against Hillary.An indictment—even a misdemeanor—would almost certainly doom Hillary’s chances of getting the nomination.

In public, Obama has been reluctant to criticize Hillary. For instance, he recently told Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” that he didn’t think Hillary intended to “hide something or to squirrel away information” on her private e-mail server and that she didn’t endanger national security.

Other sources—in this case, those close to the White House—admit that the president was being deceptive with Kroft because, as the head of his party, he had to be careful not to be seen as dissing the Democrats’ leading candidate for the presidency. What’s more, the White House sources say, the president didn’t want to publicize the hidden depths of his blood feud with the Clintons.

In fact, these sources confirm that Obama sings a different tune in private. The president and his senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, have made it clear to James Comey, the director of the FBI, and the prosecutors in the Justice Department who are working in close collaboration with the FBI, that the White House wants a thorough investigation and, if warranted, a vigorous prosecution.

But the operative words were if warranted. The president did not signal Attorney General Loretta Lynch that he wanted her to follow his guidance. Using the attorney general as a sword in a political fight would have left the president open to charges of committing a federal crime.

Therefore, Obama stopped short of giving Biden the assurances that he was seeking. And without the president’s promise, Biden decided he had no choice but to bow out.

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Behind the scenes, President Barack Obama is quietly assuring Vice President Joe Biden he will back him if he decides to run for president, according to journalist and author Ed Klein.
hillary clinton, joe biden, ed klein, barack obama, benghazi, email scandal
Wednesday, 21 October 2015 02:34 PM
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