[Make sure to read Joseph Klein’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Hunter Biden refused to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena to testify in a closed-door deposition on December 13th. Instead, President Biden’s son held a defiant press conference on Capitol Hill in which he bashed the “unrelenting Trump attack machine” against him and his father. And he lashed out at the House Oversight Committee for not allowing him to testify in public.
“I am here to testify at a public hearing today to answer any of the committee’s legitimate questions,” Hunter said at his press conference before snubbing the committee because it insisted on following normal precedent by conducting a private, transcribed deposition before holding a public hearing.
President Biden knew in advance about the media stunt his son intended to stage – once again enabling his son’s conduct.
The Republicans who have sought Hunter’s closed-door testimony in a deposition responded to his defiance of their subpoena by announcing plans to initiate proceedings to hold the president’s son in contempt of Congress. Later in the day, the House of Representatives voted to formally launch an impeachment inquiry to investigate the extent of President Biden’s involvement in his son’s foreign influence-peddling schemes.
Hunter did acknowledge briefly during his press conference that he had made some mistakes in the past and said, “For that, I’m making amends.” But he did not say how he planned to make such “amends.”
Indeed, Hunter is not showing any inclination to take real responsibility for his actions after a sweetheart deal fell apart that would have let him off the hook for his misdeeds with a slap on the wrist. He has since pleaded not guilty to gun-related charges against him and will presumably plead not guilty to the tax felony and misdemeanor charges for which he has just recently been indicted.
The president’s son spent most of his press conference focusing his anger on the “MAGA” Republicans, who he said were trying to use his personal travails to go after his father’s presidency.
Hunter said that he wanted to
correct how the MAGA right has betrayed me for their political purposes. I am first and foremost a son, a father, a brother, and a husband from a loving and supportive family. I’m proud to have earned degrees from Georgetown University and Yale Law School. I’m proud of my legal career and business career. I’m proud of my time serving on a dozen different boards of directors, and I’m proud of my efforts to forge global business relationships.
In reality, Hunter’s “efforts to forge global business relationships” have amounted to nothing more than selling access to his father – while Joe Biden was vice president and then during the years leading up to Joe’s run for president. Hunter’s richly paid service on the Ukrainian energy company Burisma’s board of directors had only one critical purpose as far as Burisma’s senior management was concerned: to enlist Hunter’s help in securing his father’s intervention, as vice president and the Obama-Biden administration’s point man in Ukraine, to pressure Ukraine’s government into firing the prosecutor investigating corruption at Burisma. Mission accomplished.
During his press conference, Hunter played the sympathy card by recalling his years of addiction, which he claimed Republicans were exploiting for political purposes.
“For six years. MAGA Republicans, including members of the House committees who are in a closed-door session right now, have impugn (sic) my character, invaded my privacy, attacked my wife, my children, my family and my friends,” Hunter said. “They have ridiculed my struggle with addiction. They belittled my recovery and they have tried to dehumanize me all to embarrass and damage my father, who has devoted his entire public life to service.”
Hunter fed his drug habit and paid for his lavish lifestyle out of ill-gotten gains from leveraging his father’s “brand” to engage in foreign influence peddling. His alleged tax evasion not only encompassed the years while he was addicted but also stretched into 2020, after he had recovered.
The Defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019, from in or about January 2017 through in or about October 15, 2020, and to evade the assessment of taxes for tax year 2018 when he filed false returns in or about February 2020… Notably, in 2020, well after he had regained his sobriety, and when he finally filed his outstanding 2016, 2017, and 2018 Forms 1040, the Defendant did not direct any payments toward his tax liabilities for each of those years. At the same time, the Defendant spent large sums to maintain his lifestyle from January through October 15, 2020.
For example, sober Hunter signed 2018 Form 1120 in February 2020 that was then filed with the IRS, knowing that it contained false claims for various phony business deductions. These included false deductions for expenditures on luxury vehicle rentals, house rentals for his then-girlfriend, hotel expenses, a New York City apartment rent for his daughter, the purchase of luxury clothing, and payments to escorts and dancers.
In short, according to the indictment, Hunter Biden “spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle at the same time he chose not to pay his taxes.”
Thus, Hunter’s use of his press conference to try to win sympathy for his past addiction as the cause of his legal troubles should be given short shrift.
Hunter Biden also used his press conference to attempt to separate his father completely from his own financial business dealings. “My father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist,” Hunter declared. (Emphasis added)
The story of President Biden’s connection to his son’s shady business dealings has switched over time. First, while running for president, Joe Biden said that he had “never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their business.” Then on July 24, 2023, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that “The president was never in business with his son.” During his December 13th press conference, Hunter Biden moved the goalpost by claiming that his father “was not financially involved in my business.”
Whatever the Biden spin machine says to try to minimize Joe Biden’s involvement in his son’s influence peddling business shenanigans, the evidence gathered so far overwhelmingly points to Joe’s substantial knowledge and involvement along with benefits that he received. Some of that evidence came out of Hunter’s own mouth when he complained that he had to turn over as much of fifty percent of his “salary” to “pop.”
The incriminating evidence also includes bank records of payments from foreign business entities through shell companies to Biden family members and subsequent checks family members gave to Joe Biden for purported repayment of phantom loans. One of these checks was clearly a cut to the “big guy” (identified by one of Hunter’s former business associates as Joe Biden) from monies paid by one of these foreign entities through a shell company to a Biden family member. The evidence also includes first-hand accounts from Hunter Biden’s former business associates describing Joe Biden’s extensive interactions with Hunter’s Ukrainian, Russian, and Chinese business clients.
Here is how Kimberly Strassel of The Wall Street Journal editorial board connected the dots, summarizing evidence released by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of family payments to Joe Biden from monies received from foreign oligarchs and business entities:
The committee’s account is as follows: The first check to Joe was written on Sept. 3, 2017, although the money trail begins earlier with his son Hunter. In the first half of 2017, Hunter and business associates negotiated a joint company with CEFC, a Shanghai-based energy company linked to the Chinese government. One email from a Hunter associate that discussed equity stakes suggested 10% of the joint venture be held by Hunter for “the big guy.”
CEFC was asked to commit $10 million in capital. When the money didn’t come, a frustrated Hunter sent a July 30, 2017, WhatsApp message to Raymond Zhao, a CEFC associate. It said he was sitting with his dad, demanded payment and warned: “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”
A week later, a Chinese company affiliated with CEFC sent $5 million to a joint venture between Hunter and a CEFC associate. The same day, that joint venture sent $400,000 to an entity controlled by Hunter. Less than a week later, Hunter wired $150,000 from his entity to a company owned by James and Sara Biden. On Aug. 28, 2017, Sara withdrew $50,000 from said company. The same day, she deposited it into a personal bank account that belonged to her and her husband. Prior to this deposit, the balance on that personal account was $46.88. On Sept. 3, she cut a $40,000 check from that account to Joe Biden. Graduates of elementary-school math will note that $40,000 is 10% of $400,000.
Moreover, those who still claim that Joe Biden has gained nothing personally from his son’s shady business dealings are forgetting what the federal bribery statute stipulates as an offense. It applies to then-Vice President Biden if he was “influenced in the performance of any official act” in exchange for his corruptly accepting “anything of value personally or for any other person or entity.” That would include any benefits going to his family members. Hunter received millions of dollars from Burisma as a board member while the then-vice president was improperly using the influence of his office to benefit Burisma, for example.
Bribery is a “high crime or misdemeanor,” which merits the president’s impeachment, conviction, and removal from office.
Following the House’s vote to launch a formal impeachment inquiry to enhance its investigatory powers, President Biden issued a statement accusing the Republicans of “attacking me with lies” and “choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt.”
It has become transparently clear that it is the president who has lied repeatedly to the American people, both before and after he became president, regarding both his son’s influence peddling and his own active role in it.
It’s high time for him and his son to face the music.