Biden OKs search for any records on Reade complaint in Archives, refuses to do same for University of Delaware papers

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday called for a search of the National Archives for any records that might pertain to allegations made against him by former Senate aide Tara Reade — but refused to approve a similar search of his senatorial papers, which are currently stored at the University of Delaware and sealed from the public.

Reade has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. Biden, in a statement and in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," personally denied the claim.

BIDEN DENIES SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATION, IN HIS FIRST STATEMENT ON TARA READE'S CLAIMS

"No, it is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened and it didn't. It never happened," Biden said on MSNBC.

Noting that former Senate staffers have denied Reade complained to them, Biden said in his written statement: "There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be – the National Archives. ... I am requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the Archives to identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document. If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there."

But Biden, in the interview, was pressed on his refusal to approve a similar search of a massive trove of papers from his three-plus decades in the Senate that he donated years ago to the University of Delaware. Biden maintained that the trove would not contain personnel files.

"There is nothing, they're not there ... The material in the University of Delaware has no personnel files ... but it does have a lot of confidential conversations" with other officials, like the president and foreign dignitaries, Biden said.

"That would not be something that would be revealed while I was in public office or while I was seeking public office. It just stands to reason. To the best of my knowledge, no one else has done that either," Biden continued. He said such high-profile conversations and other confidential files could be used as campaign "fodder."

When he was pushed to approve a search for just Reade's name rather than a full search of the records held by the university, Biden responded with silence for several moments before asking, "Who does that search?"

The MSNBC host then suggested that the University of Delaware search the records, or that Biden himself set up a commission. Biden did not directly address the question.

BIDEN SAYS READE SEXUAL ASSAULT CLAIM 'NEVER HAPPENED' DURING MSNBC APPEARANCE

"She said she filed a report. She has her employment records still. She said she filed a report with the only office that would have a report in the United States Senate at the time. If the report was ever filed it was filed there. Period," Biden said, referring to the Senate personnel office.

Notably, Marianne Baker, former executive assistant to then-Senator Biden, rejected the allegations, in a statement provided by the Biden campaign.

"For nearly 20 years, I worked as Senator Biden’s executive assistant and supervised dozens of employees who reported to me. I took very seriously my duties with respect to human resources, following the direction of a Senator whose insistence on a professional workplace was embedded in our culture,” Baker, who worked for then-Senator Biden from 1982 to 2000, said in a statement.

“In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone,” she continued. “I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.”

She added: “These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades."

Reade, however, alleges that back in 1993, she had made informal complaints about the then-Delaware senator's unwanted touching to Biden's chief of staff Ted Kaufman, as well as Baker, but waited until after the alleged assault to file an external sexual harassment complaint.

Soon after, Kaufman, along with deputy chief of staff Dennis Toner, informed Reade that she should find work elsewhere, she told Fox News.

TARA READE SAYS SENATE PERSONNEL COMPLAINT WOULD PROVE BIDEN'S FORMER STAFF 'LIED' TO PRESS

"I was told I was no longer, I was not a good fit. And that I had a month to find a job," Reade told Fox News about a conversation she had with Kaufman and Toner. "And I said, 'Well, you stripped all of my duties. So what do I put?' You know. And Dennis Toner said, 'Put special projects.'"

Reade has said the records at the University of Delaware should be public.

"I'm calling for the release of the documents being held by the University of Delaware that contain Biden's staff personnel records because I believe it will have my complaint form, as well as my separation letter and other documents," Reade has told Fox News. "Maybe if other staffers that have tried to file complaints would come to light -- why are they under seal? And why won't they be released to the public?"

Biden's refusal call for the University of Delaware to open up its records comes as questions have continued to swirl around the secret files, which were set to be made public at the end of last year before the school's policy on releasing the documents changed ahead of Biden's presidential run.

It previously said the records would be released on Dec. 31, 2019, or two years after Biden "retires from public office." In April 2019, just hours before Biden announced his current presidential bid, the university changed its policy on the release of the records to say the papers wouldn't be released until either Dec. 31, 2019 or until two years after Biden “retires from public life,” whichever comes later, according to The Washington Post.

Many, including The Washington Post editorial board, are calling on the presumptive nominee to push for the records' release.

"Insisting on an inventory doesn’t mean one believes Ms. Reade or doesn’t believe her. It signals only a desire for the public to know all that’s able to be known, which ought to be in everyone’s interest," The Post's editorial read.

Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest amplified those calls after the Biden interview.

UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE BOARD MEMBERS, WHO ARE KEEPING BIDEN'S SENATE RECORDS SECRET, HAVE CLOSE TIES TO THE FORMER VP

"Not only did Biden say his documents held at the University of Delaware 'weren't supposed to be revealed,' (which is a lie) Biden admitted that he doesn’t want those records to see the light of day because they could be used against him or reveal what he said to Putin," Guest said in a tweet. "What?!"

The university refused to comment Thursday when asked about the decision-making process that went into changing the release of the papers, and the Biden campaign did not respond to a query from Fox News asking if Biden would be willing to call for the release of the records.

The university previously told Fox News that the "collection of former Vice President Biden's senatorial papers is still being processed, with many items yet to be catalogued. The entire collection will remain closed to the public until two years after Mr. Biden retires from public life."

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But operatives from Biden's campaign have accessed those records since he announced his presidential run last year, according to Business Insider.

The University of Delaware’s charter states that the Board of Trustees has “entire control and management of the affairs of the university," and notes that no university bylaws "shall diminish or reduce the Board’s plenary authority over all matters related to the control and management of the affairs of the University."

The university has confirmed to Fox News that it owns the Biden papers. In the 2017 fiscal year, the University of Delaware, a public university, received $199,621,013 in taxpayer-funded government grants, according to its most recently available IRS disclosure form.

Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.