In December 2020, once it was clear his father had been elected president, Hunter Biden grudgingly admitted that the Justice Department had advised that he was the subject of a criminal investigation. Biden representatives said the probe was limited to his “tax affairs.”
Hunter Biden’s taxes are the least important “affair” the Justice Department should be scrutinizing. For that matter, Hunter Biden is the least important person who should be under the microscope. The major question is whether Hunter is a vehicle by which his father, the now-president of the United States, indirectly cashed in on his political influence.
It’s certainly true that Hunter Biden has major tax problems. His ex-wife acknowledged in divorce proceedings that they owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRS, the revenue agency slapped a $112,805.09 lien on the formerly married couple in 2019, and the District of Columbia added a $453,900 lien in July 2020. Kevin Morris, a wealthy Hollywood lawyer and Joe Biden booster, has reportedly extended a $2 million loan to Hunter, in order to pay his back taxes and other debts — obligations he can apparently not yet cover through his latest new career as an artist (or, rather, his newest shady arrangement for huge paydays with no disclosure of where the money comes from and where it goes).
The issue is much bigger than taxes, though. In just the past few weeks, there have been tawdry new revelations about the troubled Hunter’s misadventures with crack cocaine and prostitutes. These include indications that Joe Biden, apparently inadvertently, provided the funds for Hunter’s $30,000 spending spree on “escort” services from November 2018 into March 2019. Joe Biden reportedly provided his son with $100,000 just for the months of December and January.
Where did this money come from? Hunter Biden is known to have stated that his father took half of his salary. There are emails between Hunter and longtime Biden family confidant Eric Schwerin showing that Hunter was expected to pay a number of his father’s household expenses. These disclosures trace to the laptop computer that Hunter abandoned at a Delaware repair shop.
The laptop yielded information about a 2017–18 Biden family venture with a conglomerate known as CEFC, which was patently a Chinese intelligence operation. But it’s not just the laptop. After the New York Post broke the story, a witness came forward: Tony Bobulinski, an entrepreneur the Bidens and their associates recruited to build the corporate structure for a joint liquified-natural-gas venture with CEFC. Bobulinski has publicly stated that he had two face-to-face meetings with Joe Biden about the CEFC negotiations, as well as numerous meetings with Hunter and with Jim Biden, the now-president’s brother.
Hunter admits he was enticed into the transaction by the “gift” of a 2.8-karat diamond by Ye Jianming, the CEFC chairman and protégé of Chinese president Xi Jinping. In the course of negotiations, Hunter (in the accompanying paper trail) said Ye offered him a three-year consulting contract, at $10 million per annum “for introductions alone.” The deal then evolved into a joint venture that Hunter described as “so much more interesting to me and my family,” in which CEFC and the Bidens would be partners. The documentation memorializing the arrangement indicates that Jim Biden was to get 10 percent of the Biden side’s haul, while Hunter was not only to get 20 percent for himself but was to hold 10 percent “for the big guy.” Bobulinski, who was also to get 20 percent, has confirmed that this was the anticipated split, and that “the big guy” was Joe Biden — whose name Bobulinski was admonished not to mention if it could be avoided.
The LNG transaction never materialized, but the money flowed. An investigation (still ongoing) by Republican senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) established that CEFC paid nearly $6 million into accounts controlled by Hunter Biden, from 2017 into 2018. About $1.4 million of this was diverted into accounts controlled by Jim Biden and his wife. And Ye paid $1 million of the CEFC funds to Hunter for legal representation of Patrick Ho, a suspected Chinese spy (as even Hunter acknowledges in a laptop recording) who was under U.S. FISA surveillance and ultimately convicted by the Justice Department on corruption charges.
President Biden continues to insist that he knew nothing of any of this and never discussed his son’s foreign business dealings. Even without Bobulinski’s contradictory account, that assertion was already risible given the mounting evidence that, while vice president, Biden met with some of Hunter’s associates from China, Ukraine, Mexico, and elsewhere. It is even more ridiculous now, given the recent revelation — reportedly due to the hacking of an encrypted back-up of a Hunter cellphone — that Biden left a voicemail for his son on the evening of December 18, 2018, after the New York Times published an article about the CEFC debacle. “I thought the article released online, it’s going to be published tomorrow in the Times, was good,” Biden said. “I think you’re clear.” Joe Biden knew CEFC was a big problem, and he was worried about it.
That, and not Hunter’s taxes, is why the Biden investigation matters. And there’s still more beyond CEFC. Hunter and his longtime partner Devon Archer (who was convicted in a federal fraud case in June 2018) were paid a combined $4 million to sit on the board of the shady Ukrainian energy company Burisma, beginning in 2014. The State Department raised the obvious problem with then-Vice President Biden that the arrangement was frustrating the administration’s anti-corruption message, but Biden took no action and Hunter kept getting paid.
In 2013, Hunter hitched a ride to Beijing with his father on Air Force Two to strike an investment partnership deal with another group of Chinese regime–connected financiers, including the Bank of China, an arm of the communist government whose investments are guided by its objectives. Hunter introduced the then-vice president to Jonathan Li, the point man on the China side of what would become Bohai Harvest RST. China licensed the venture days later, and suddenly Hunter had access to $3 billion in funds and investment opportunities in China unavailable to the unconnected.
This venture worked against American interests. It enabled an arm of the Chinese military to purchase Henniges, a world leader in manufacturing dual-use anti-vibration technologies. Because of the national-defense implications, the deal had to be approved by the Obama/Biden administration. It was, of course. Meantime, Hunter and his Xi regime partners also colluded to help China acquire a coveted Cobalt mine in Congo for a cool $3.8 billion. Cobalt is a key component in batteries that power electric cars, which the Obama and Biden administrations have tried to steer Americans into. But they’re very expensive, in part due to high battery costs. Later, it emerged that Joe Biden had been so busy “not” discussing Hunter’s China business that he wrote a letter of recommendation, at Hunter’s request, to try to help Jonathan Li’s son score admission into Brown University.
But after raking in what NBC News estimates is $11 million in revenue from his foreign partners in just the period from 2013 to 2018, Hunter Biden still apparently could not pay his bills. Lucky for him that his influential father was flush enough to extend thousands of dollars here and there when he was in a bind.
The yeoman’s work of Grassley and Johnson notwithstanding, there are severe limits on what Republicans can do to investigate unless and until they take control of at least one congressional chamber after the midterms. The Justice Department has been at the investigation for over two years, yet nothing has happened. Attorney General Merrick Garland owes the nation an explanation of the probe’s status, of why he has not appointed a special counsel despite federal regulations that would seem to call for one, and why Americans should have any confidence that there will be no political interference in the probe, no matter how high the suspect list goes.