A close friend of Hunter Biden’s — who got a job as then-Vice President Joe Biden’s legal counsel thanks to his pal’s influence — was at “the center of various discussions” relating to the president’s handling of classified documents, the White House has acknowledged in a letter to special counsel Robert Hur.
In 2016, John McGrail was Biden’s main legal adviser on how classified materials from his vice presidency should be managed once he left office, according to a joint letter from Richard Sauber, White House special counsel, and Bob Bauer, the president’s personal counsel.
McGrail landed his job as deputy counsel and later counsel to then-Vice President Biden in 2014, just weeks after Hunter Biden personally lobbied his dad to give his friend the position, according to emails found on his abandoned laptop.
“Before you fill position pls talk to me — J. McGrail very much wants to serve,” Hunter wrote to “Robin Ware,” one of his father’s email pseudonyms, in a message headed “Counsel.”
“Re Johnny call me right away,” Biden responded.
The connection was disconcerting, said Jim Hanson, an information strategy expert who has studied the laptop messages.
“At the same time when Hunter is raking in satchels of cash from the Chinese, these classified documents are showing up at the house where he’s partying with hookers and doing blow,” Hanson said. “And it happens to be his good buddy from back in the day who is transporting the documents.”
Sauber and Bauer’s letter, which was attached to Hur’s scathing report on Biden’s mismanagement of classified materials, attempted to rebut its explosive characterization of the president as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”
But it also spotlighted the central role of McGrail, a longtime Hunter Biden chum who, emails show, joined him in yoga classes, in jokes about “hot staffers” on Capitol Hill, and at his father’s inaugural balls — and who, in 2016, hosted Eric Schwerin, Hunter’s business partner, in two White House meetings. It’s unclear where Hunter Biden and McGrail first met.
McGrail told Hur’s investigators that in January 2017, in the final days of the Obama administration, he oversaw the transportation of Biden’s classified papers to storage in the National Archives.
“It was just, ‘Your records are going to the Archives,’” McGrail testified. “That was it.”
He claimed to have no knowledge of how so much classified material — including notebooks, diaries, note cards, and memos — from Biden’s time as vice president came to be squirreled away in his boss’s Wilmington, Del. home, and stonewalled investigators with multiple claims of memory lapses.
When Biden left office in 2017, McGrail returned to the Department of the Treasury, where he previously worked. In 2022, he became lead counsel for finance at the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, according to LinkedIn.