September 23, 2020
The son of former Vice President Joe Biden engaged in millions of dollars in “questionable financial transactions” with associates and foreign individuals, including the wife of the former mayor of Moscow and people with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, according to a new congressional report.
Hunter Biden’s dealings raise conflict of interest concerns as well as concerns about crimes, counterintelligence, and extortion, according to the joint report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Finance Committees.
“The records acquired by the committees show consistent, significant, and extensive financial connections among and between Hunter Biden, James Biden, Sara Biden, Devon Archer, and Chinese nationals connected to the communist regime and PLA [People’s Liberation Army] as well as other foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds,” according to the report, which was released Wednesday.
James Biden is Joe Biden’s brother; Sara Biden is James’s wife; and Archer is one of Hunter Biden’s business partners.
Biden was vice president until 2016. He is now the Democratic presidential nominee.
Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) headed the investigation.
Key findings included learning that George Kent, a former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, raised concerns to officials in Joe Biden’s office in early 2015 about the perception of a conflict of interest in Hunter Biden being on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian company.
“The presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine,” Kent wrote in an email the next year to colleagues.
The concerns were not addressed, according to the report.
In October 2015, State Department official Amos Hochstein raised concerns with Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden that the Burisma position enabled Russian disinformation efforts and risked undermining U.S. policy in Ukraine, according to the report.
Hunter Biden was serving on Burisma’s board when the company’s owner allegedly paid $7 million to officials working under Ukraine’s prosecutor general to shut the case against the owner. Kent said the bribe was paid in December 2014 and that he reported the allegation to the FBI when he learned about it.
Hunter Biden and Archer received $4 million for being on Burisma’s board. They and other Biden family members also received millions of dollars from foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds, the Senate committees said.
Archer, for instance, received $142,300 from a Kazakhstan national, purportedly for a car, the same day Vice President Biden addressed Ukrainian legislators in Kyiv.
Hunter Biden received $3.5 million from Elena Baturina, the widow of the former mayor of Moscow, and millions of dollars from business transactions with individuals linked to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army.
Hunter Biden also “paid nonresident women who were nationals of Russia or other Eastern European countries and who appear to be linked to an ‘Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring,’” the report stated.
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation took time away from oversight of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Why? To subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars—an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore right-wing conspiracy theory that hinges on Sen. Johnson himself being corrupt and that the senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s reelection campaign,” Bates said.
The chairmen defended the investigation in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, they wrote that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is authorized to study or investigate “the efficiency and economy of operations of all branches of the government, including the possible existence of… corruption or unethical practices… [and] conflicts of interest.” The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over the U.S. government and the Department of Treasury, which includes oversight jurisdiction over potential financial crimes, they added.
Hunter Biden in October 2019 defended his work with Burisma and in China.
“I think that it was poor judgment on my part. I think that it was poor judgment because I don’t believe now when I look back on it—I know that there was—did nothing wrong at all. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is … a swamp in many ways? Yeah,” he told ABC News.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake. So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”