After four months of investigation, House Republicans who vowed to use their new majority to uncover evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden acknowledged Wednesday that they had yet to uncover incriminating material about him, despite their frequent suggestions that he and his family have been involved in criminal conduct and corruption.
At a highly publicized press conference on Capitol Hill to showcase the preliminary findings of their major investigation into Biden and his family, top Republicans released financial documents detailing how some of the president’s relatives received more than $10 million from foreign sources between 2015 and 2017.
Republicans described the transactions as evidence of “influence peddling” by Biden’s family, including his son Hunter Biden, citing some Details previously known, although unflattering. of the business of the young Biden. Those included an episode in which he accepted a 2.8-carat diamond from a Chinese businessman. Republican lawmakers have also produced material suggesting that President Biden and his allies at times made misleading statements in their efforts to aggressively rebuff allegations of misconduct by Hunter Biden.
But on Wednesday, Republicans admitted they had yet to find evidence of specific corrupt action Biden took in office in connection with any of the trade deals his son was involved in. Instead, his presentation underscored how little progress top Republican lawmakers have made in finding clear evidence of questionable transactions that they can link to Biden, his main political rival.
It has not prevented them from accusing the president of serious misconduct.
“I want to be clear: This committee is investigating the shady dealings of President Biden and his family to capitalize on Joe Biden’s public office that puts our country’s national security at risk,” said Rep. James R. Comer, a Kentucky Republican and Oversight President. Committee. He stressed that the president, not just his son, would be the target of his investigation, which he said would now “enter a new phase” in which he would cite specific financial information based on material obtained through bank records.
Federal prosecutors have examined Hunter Biden’s international business activities as part of a criminal investigation. But the only charges being considered, according to people familiar with the case, are unrelated to his work abroad. They include tax charges related to his failure to file tax returns for several years and one count of lying about his drug use on a federal form he filled out to buy a firearm.
To date, Mr. Comer’s committee has issued four bank subpoenas, obtained thousands of financial records and spoken with several people he describes as whistleblowers. Mr. Comer also hired James Mandolfo, a former federal prosecutor with experience investigating foreign corruption, to oversee the investigation.
This is what we know so far.
Companies connected to Hunter Biden received more than $10 million from foreign companies, some with criminal ties.
The House Oversight Committee report focused on payments made to companies connected to Hunter Biden by companies and individuals in Romania and China. Bank records obtained by the committee show the receipt of money from a foreign company related to Gabriel Popoviciu, who was the subject of a criminal investigation and prosecution for corruption in Romania.
In 2015, Popoviciu hired Hunter Biden, who is a lawyer while his father was vice president, to help try to avoid charges. That effort was unsuccessful, and in 2016 Mr. Popoviciu was convicted on charges related to a land deal north of Bucharest, the Romanian capital.
Mr. Comer also focused on John R. Walker, a Hunter Biden partner who participated in a joint venture with executives from CEFC China Energy, a now-bankrupt Chinese conglomerate.
A Shanghai-based company, State Energy HK Limited, which was affiliated with CEFC China Energy, sent millions to Robinson Walker LLC, a company associated with Mr. Walker, who then made the payments. to Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family.
Hunter Biden had cultivated a business relationship with Ye Jianming, the founder of CEFC, who has been investigated by Chinese authorities on suspicion of economic crimes. In 2017, Mr. Ye gave Hunter Biden a 2.8-carat diamond as a thank you for a meeting.
“What would they be bribing me for? My dad was not in office,” Hunter Biden said. The New Yorker in 2019, adding that he gave the diamond to his associates. “I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I felt it was weird.”
CEFC hoped to invest in a liquefied natural gas company in Louisiana, but ultimately failed.
Hunter Biden representatives characterize their business offerings at the time as consulting and legal services.
The payments came at a time when Hunter Biden’s life and finances were spiraling in the midst of his drug addiction, and after the death of his brother, Beau Biden, from brain cancer. Hunter Biden had started a romantic relationship with his brother’s widow. His business partner, Mr. Walker, and his uncle, James Biden, both worked in international business.
Abbe Lowell, a Hunter Biden attorneysaid in a statement that House Republicans had revealed nothing new in their report.
“Today’s so-called ‘revelations’ are misstatements repackaged and retreaded from perfectly appropriate meetings and deals by private citizens.” said Mr. Lowell.
President Biden has falsely denied that his son had ties to Chinese companies.
None of the payments detailed in the report were to President Biden himself, nor has Mr. Comer’s investigation produced any evidence that Mr. Biden ever engaged in corrupt action in connection with his son’s business dealings.
But Mr. Biden has made several false or misleading statements on the matter.
During the 2020 presidential debate, Biden claimed that no one in his family had received any money from China.
“My son hasn’t made any money in terms of this… what are you talking about, China,” Biden said, shifting the blame to his opponent, President Donald J. Trump. “The only guy who made money in China is this guy. He is the only one. No one else has made money in China.”
This year, Mr. Biden also claimed that it was “not true” that family members received more than $1 million from a Chinese company.
Biden aides said he was speaking colloquially and generally rejecting claims that his administration had been corrupted by Chinese money.
The families of presidents have long made money on the surname.
During his press conference, Comer acknowledged that Hunter Biden would have been far from the first relative of a president or vice president to try to make money off the last name.
He invoked Billy Carter, brother of former President Jimmy Carter, who visited Libya and received a $220,000 loan; and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law whose firm has it received hundreds of millions from the nations of the Persian Gulf.
“This has been a pattern for a long time,” Comer said. “Republicans and Democrats have complained that the families of presidents receive money.”
However, Mr Comer has admitted that he has no interest in the investigation of Mr. Kushner’s conduct.
Officials allied with Mr. Biden played a role in wrongly discrediting Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Mr. Comer’s report came as a second Republican-led House committee is investigating a related issue. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released a report on a letter from 51 former intelligence and security officials in 2020 that questioned materials, substantial parts of which were later verified as authentic – from a laptop that Hunter Biden abandoned at a Delaware repair shop and suggested they might be part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Republicans argue the letter influenced the public to dismiss the materials on the laptop, which contained evidence of Hunter Biden’s drug use and sex life, which they believed would hurt his father’s electoral chances against Trump.
The Judiciary Committee report detailed the role played by Antony J. Blinken, now Secretary of State and later a Biden campaign official, in spearheading the letter, saying a CIA employee had been involved in the request for at least A sign.
Intelligence officials maintain that their letter said they had no evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign and were simply expressing an opinion.
Mark Zaid, an attorney representing seven signatories to the letter, said on Twitter that the report simply proved that “private citizens lawfully exercised First Amendment rights” and added that there was “not a single falsehood” in the letter. .
“I don’t know of any signatory who backs down from a single word,” Zaid wrote.