Joe Biden’s ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer breaks cover in New York City after DoJ report revealed he faced obstruction of justice charges after destroying recordings of his interviews with president

President Joe Biden‘s ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer may not used to being center stage – but that is exactly where the unassuming writer has found himself.

Zwontizer has kept his head down and his mouth shut since it emerged last Thursday that the Department of Justice considered charging the 61-year-old author with obstruction of justice on learning that he had destroyed recordings and notes of interviews during which President Joe Biden shared classified information.

Seen in these exclusive pictures obtained by DailyMail.com, Zwonitzer broke cover Friday afternoon.

He cut a slim and casual figure, dressed in navy jacket and pants, as he left his New York apartment to run an errand.

Joe Biden’s unassuming ghostwriter Mark Zwonitzer was spotted breaking cover in New York City on Friday in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s report

Zwonitzer, an unlikely figure to be embroiled in the president's classified documents scandal, cut a slim and casual figure, dressed in navy jacket and pants

Zwonitzer, an unlikely figure to be embroiled in the president’s classified documents scandal, cut a slim and casual figure, dressed in navy jacket and pants

The Special Counsel's report last Thursday revealed Biden had shared classified information contained in some of the files with Zwonitzer while the two were working on his second book

Joe Biden

The Special Counsel’s report last Thursday revealed Biden had shared classified information contained in some of the files with Zwonitzer while the two were working on his second book

Approached by DailyMail.com Zwontizer was polite but determined, saying only that he ‘could not’ talk when asked about the DoJ investigation into which he has been drawn.

Bespectacled and lightly bearded with greying hair and a professorial demeanor, Zwonitzer is an unlikely figure to be embroiled in a classified documents scandal.

Yet he is so close to the 81-year-old president that Biden has said he would trust the writer with his life.

In a way, he has done just that – twice – by making Zwonitzer ghostwriter of his memoirs, first in 2007 with ‘Promise to Keep,’ and second, ten years later with, ‘Promises to Dad.’

It was during this second project that, according to a report by special counsel Robert Hur released Thursday, Biden was ‘sloppy in his handling of classified material.’

According to Hur, the president saved notebooks that he had kept during his time as vice president and read them aloud to Zwonitzer sometimes for more than an hour at a time. 

The notes contained classified material for which Zwonitzer had no security clearance.

On one occasion, the report states, those notes cited details of a Situation Room meeting in the White House in 2015.

Zwontizer was polite but admitted he 'could not' talk about the DoJ investigation when approached by DailyMail.com

Zwontizer was polite but admitted he ‘could not’ talk about the DoJ investigation when approached by DailyMail.com

Zwonitzer worked with Biden on two of his memoirs, Promises to Keep, in 2007 and Promise Me, Dad, which was published 10 years later

Zwonitzer was the ghostwriter for Joe Biden's memoir, Promise me Dad

Zwonitzer worked with Biden on two of his memoirs, Promises to Keep, in 2007 and Promise Me, Dad, which was published 10 years later

Zwontizer was polite but admitted he 'could not' talk about the DoJ investigation when approached by DailyMail.com

Zwontizer was polite but admitted he ‘could not’ talk about the DoJ investigation when approached by DailyMail.com

‘On February 16, 2017, after he was no longer vice president, Mr. Biden read portions of the same notebook entry aloud and nearly verbatim to Zwonitzer, including portions containing information that remains classified up to the Secret level,’ the report added.

More to the point Biden was well aware of Zwonitzer security status as he was informed that that writer had no clearance when he once suggested Zwonitzer could be hired as a historian for the Office of the Vice President.

Yet one recorded conversation between Biden and Zwonitzer in 2017, recovered by federal investigators, allegedly included Biden saying that he had ‘just found all the classified stuff downstairs,’ in a house he was then renting in Virginia.

Similarly, investigators found a box of materials labelled, ‘mark Z.’

The admission found an uncanny echo in the events of December 2022 when FBI agents discovered classified Afghanistan documents in a cardboard box in the garage of Biden’s Delaware home.

Perplexingly Zwonitzer deleted the 2017 audio recordings during which Biden shared classified information.

Biden flat out denied that he had done any such thing during a press conference Thursday.

But the report released that same day revealed that he had, with officials able to recover most Zwonitzer’s deleted recordings using forensic tools. 

A report released last Thursday by Special Counsel Robert Hur said Biden was sloppy in his handling of classified material found at his home and former office but concluded that no criminal charges are warranted against the president

A report released last Thursday by Special Counsel Robert Hur said Biden was sloppy in his handling of classified material found at his home and former office but concluded that no criminal charges are warranted against the president 

This image, contained in the report from Special Counsel Robert Hur, shows notebooks seized from a file cabinet under printers in first-floor home office of President Joe Biden in Wilmington in January 2023

This image, contained in the report from Special Counsel Robert Hur, shows notebooks seized from a file cabinet under printers in first-floor home office of President Joe Biden in Wilmington in January 2023

According to the report, Zwonitzer deleted his recordings with the president after he learned about the Justice Department's investigation of Biden's mishandling of classified documents, but officials were able to recover most of them with forensic tools (Pictured: evidence photos)

According to the report, Zwonitzer deleted his recordings with the president after he learned about the Justice Department’s investigation of Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, but officials were able to recover most of them with forensic tools (Pictured: evidence photos)

Investigators were, however, ultimately satisfied with the writer’s explanations of why he had deleted the material describing them as, ‘plausible, innocent reasons.’

Zwonitzer is a respected, rather than prolific, author and documentary maker with a handful of titles to his name and two Emmy award nominations – Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction and Outstanding Achievement in Writing – for work for PBS.

He has written two non-fiction biographies, ‘Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone’ written with Charles Hirshberg. 

The biography of tradition American folk music group the Carter family was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2002.

His book ‘The Statesman and The Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain and The Rise of American Imperialism,’ was published in April 2016.

Zwonitzer began his career with a brief stint as a fact checker for Esquire magazine But it was his work as a researcher for journalist Richard Ben Cramer’s book, ‘What it Takes: The Way to the White House,’ that, ironically, put Zwontizer within touching distance of the Oval Office.

FBI agents discovered the classified Afghanistan documents in a cardboard box in the garage of his home in Delaware in December 2022

FBI agents discovered the classified Afghanistan documents in a cardboard box in the garage of his home in Delaware in December 2022

The report is crammed with pictures of documents recovered from Biden's home or an office he used when he was vice president

The report is crammed with pictures of documents recovered from Biden’s home or an office he used when he was vice president

Interviewed for Nieman News about the experience of working with Cramer, Zwonitzer recalled that he was a ’23-year-old kid researcher’ who didn’t know anything, when Cramer, ‘plucked [him] out of’ his life and moved him to Washington to work for him.

It was the Fall of 1986 and Zwonitzer got a house with a friend of his who had just got a job at the Washington Post, Geraldine Hirshey.

Working there turned out to be life changing for Zwonitzer. Personally, he would go onto marry Hirshey, with whom he has a son and a daughter.

Professionally, he would become a key player in the exhaustive account of the 1988 Republican and Democratic presidential primaries of which Biden became a well-known fan.

Biden reportedly reached out to Zwontizer in 2006 when he was first thinking about working on his own memoir.

Interviewed about Zwonitzer – who was a registered Democrat until 2012 and now lists his party affiliation as ‘other’ – Biden said, that the ‘great asset’ of the man whom he described as a ‘great, great guy,’ was that he helped him organize.

Perhaps, with the benefit of hindsight, both men might wish that organization had included clearer separation of classified and non-classified material.

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