The new GOP House majority will likely subpoena Hunter Biden as they delve into his business dealings.
Much is still unknown about Hunter Biden’s lucrative work as a consultant and artist.
The Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Hunter Biden is still ongoing.
The majority of the Republican House immediately went on the offensive this week, promising subpoenas-driven commission investigations into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the 52-year-old son of President Joe Biden.
In a joint press conference, GOP representatives Jim Jordan and James Comer, the incoming chairmen of the House oversight and judiciary committees, stormed the table accusing Hunter’s influence and hinting at wider corruption by “the Biden family.”
For those Americans accepting the legal result of the 2020 election, the sight of these two election deniers talking about “whistleblowers,” “plans,” and a dated laptop might bring to mind the Benghazi investigation into the 2012 deaths of four Americans who turned House Republicans into an obsessive math exercise against then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
But Hunter Biden is not Benghazi.
Benghazi was a fake scandal. Hunter Biden’s career, on the other hand, has all the hallmarks of a real one. The fact that Trump-MAGA election deniers are lining up to advance Hunter Biden corruption allegations doesn’t make the evidence underlying those accusations any less disturbing. Nor will it shield the Biden White House from potential fallout from the Justice Department’s own criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, which is still ongoing.
Let’s see what is already known and documented about Hunter Biden. During Joe Biden’s vice presidency, Hunter Biden openly traded on the Biden family name. As an international business consultant, he charged clients six- and sometimes seven-figures for what seemed to be little more than Beltway access and powerful introductions. A potential partner reported that despite reports of Hunter’s womanizing and substance abuse, he could still be a valuable partner due to his alleged “access” to state and treasury departments and to the “highest level” in China.
In 2013, Hunter accompanied his father on an official visit to Beijing, where Joe Biden shook hands with Jonathan Li, a Chinese venture capitalist. Li had already contracted with Hunter and his partners to start a private equity fund. Later, another Chinese magnate gave Hunter Biden a 3-carat diamond. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it,” he told the New Yorker. And yet that is exactly what he did.
Other documents, taken from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, suggest his associates managed some of Joe Biden’s finances and paid the vice president’s utility bills and Delaware home repair bills out of his son’s bills . A New York Times report pointed to a possible link between Joe Biden’s diplomacy in Ukraine and Hunter Biden’s lucrative role on the board of directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. In 2017, Hunter asked his father for his own key to the Washington, D.C. office of his company, Rosemont Seneca.
After his father won the presidency, Hunter reinvented himself as an artist and spoke publicly about his substance abuse. But questions surrounding his business dealings have persisted. The identities of the art patrons who pay six figures for his paintings remain unknown. The process of vetting them — conducted by Hunter’s own legal team, not White House counsel — is opaque. Joe Biden has said there is an “absolute wall” between his policymaking and his family’s business interests. According to the New Yorker, “an informal arrangement was made: Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about it.” What Joe Biden has not What has been done so far is to explicitly prohibit family members from taking money from people seeking influence.
On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee released a 31-page “interim personnel report.” In addition to a recap of public material, the document contained excerpts from alleged Suspicious Activity Reports filed with the Treasury Department regarding some of Hunter Biden’s financial dealings.
Treasury did not respond to a request for comment; a spokesperson for the commission told Insider that the SARs were obtained from a “whistleblower”.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not respond Friday to Insider’s request for comment about the looming possibility of a congressional investigation. In an email, a spokesman for the White House counsel’s office characterized the GOP’s efforts as “politically motivated attacks brimming with long-debunked conspiracy theories.”
Why does this matter?
First, the full extent of Hunter Biden’s dealings with foreign clients remains unclear. With the GOP’s new majority comes the subpoena power, which can be used to track down new documents and compel testimony. On Thursday, Comer said there was “a very good possibility” that Hunter Biden would receive a subpoena.
One thing that is clear, however, is Joe Biden’s approach to the many Hunter Biden controversies – reiterate unconditional love for the anguished son while disavowing any specific knowledge of or involvement in his dealings. That could backfire if hard evidence surfaced that Joe Biden was actually in the Rosemont Seneca loop, rather than just being mentioned by others. But so far that is not the case.
It is also worth remembering that previous attempts by Donald Trump and others to capitalize on Hunter Biden’s vulnerabilities as a political strategy have ended in failure. Trump also tried but failed to force the Ukrainian president to investigate Hunter Biden. That attempt led to his first impeachment.
Much of the influence going on around Washington is both vague and perfectly legal. It remains unclear whether Hunter Biden crossed the line. Even if he did, there is little evidence that Joe Biden had much to do with it. But some still believe that the first family should go beyond avoiding criminal liability and actually serve as an example. As Walter Shaub, who led the administration’s ethics office under President Obama, told Insider last year, “‘Less swindler than Trump’ cannot become the norm.”
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