FACT CHECK: Is There No Evidence That Joe Biden Was Involved In His Son’s Business Affairs?
The Associated Press (AP) claimed in a Sept. 12 tweet that House Republicans have claimed “without evidence that they engaged in an influence peddling scheme.”
Since gaining the House majority, House Republicans have aggressively investigated Biden and his son, claiming without evidence that they engaged in an influence peddling scheme.
Here’s what comes next: https://t.co/4Qxz6C2IXY
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 12, 2023
While there is no direct evidence that Biden benefited from his son’s business affairs, there is evidence that Joe Biden was knowledgeable about them. Circumstantial evidence — in the form of witness statements and other reports suggest that the president may have been aware of his son’s activity. He met and dined with Hunter’s business partners and clients, though witnesses said nothing business-related was discussed. There is also an unclassified FBI document detailing unverified allegations that the two accepted bribes from a Ukrainian businessman.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called on House committees to start an impeachment inquiry into the president, according to CNN. In his remarks, McCarthy said that there were “allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption” that “warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” the outlet reported.
AP published a tweet stating that House Republicans’ claimed “without evidence” that the president and his son “engaged in an influence peddling scheme.” House Republicans have alleged that the president has benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings, according to USA Today.
AP’s claim the House Republicans are “without evidence,” however, is incorrect. While there is no direct evidence that Biden benefited from his son’s foreign business dealings, there is evidence that the president had knowledge about them and an unclassified FBI document, released by Republicans, detailing an unverified allegation of bribery. (RELATED: Viral Image Of Costco’ Blame Joe Biden’ Gas Pump Screen Is Digitally Edited)
Internal Revenue Service whistleblower Gary Shapley testified about an alleged WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden sent to an official of CEFC, a Chinese energy company, from 2017, after Joe Biden left the vice presidency. In the message, Biden allegedly said that he was sitting with his father, according to CNN. The claim was first made public from a June 2023 private interview between whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congress, the outlet stated.
“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand. And now means tonight. 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. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father,” the message from Hunter Biden allegedly said.
President Biden denied that he was present during the alleged message, the outlet reported. Hunter Biden’s lawyer said that the message was fake, NBC News reported. The Washington Free Beacon reported that photos taken from Hunter Biden’s laptop show that he was at his father’s Wilmington, Delaware, home the day he allegedly sent the message.
Politico reported that Rob Walker, a Hunter Biden business partner, said in an FBI interview that Joe Biden appeared at a lunch meeting between Hunter Biden and CEFC executives in 2017 after he left the presidency. Walker, though, said that he “certainly never was thinking at any time the V.P. was a part of anything we were doing,” according to the New York Times. The investigator also found records from 2018 indicating a two-night hotel stay in an unnamed location under Joe Biden’s name that was paid by Hunter and deducted as a business expense, Politico reported.
Devon Archer, one of Biden’s business associates, said in testimony to the House Oversight Committee that Biden spoke with his son’s business partners at least 20 times, though he did not state that Biden spoke about any business. Archer recalled Joe Biden dining with foreign client Elena Baturina, who also wired money to an LLC connected to Hunter Biden, according to bank records released by the House Oversight Committee. Archer, though, did not state that they discussed business at this dinner.
Archer said that Hunter Biden and his companies benefited from the Biden “brand” and that Joe Biden was part of the brand.
“Yeah, that’s fair to say. Listen, I think it’s — I don’t think about it as, you know, Joe directly, but it’s fair. That’s fair to say. Obviously, that brought the most value to the brand,” Archer said.
Archer also told Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson in an Aug. 4 interview that it was “categorically false” that Joe Biden was not aware of Hunter Biden’s business dealings. (Disclaimer: Daily Caller Inc. is the parent company of Check Your Fact.)
“That’s categorically false. He was aware of Hunter’s business. He met with Hunter’s business partners. You found a letter that illustrates that he knew me. In the same breath, I don’t think that Joe Biden’s looked at a balance sheet, or you know, a cap table or what have you, or any financial document, probably ever,” Archer said to Carlson.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley released an FBI FD-1023 in July 2023, containing allegations from a confidential human source that Hunter and Joe Biden were involved in an “illegal foreign bribery scheme,” though the informant did not note whether the allegations were accurate or not, according to CNN. The document contains allegations that Burisma CEO Mykola Zlochevsky made two $5 million payments to the Bidens, the outlet reported.
“For the better part of a year, I’ve been pushing the Justice Department and FBI to provide details on its handling of very significant allegations from a trusted FBI informant implicating then-Vice President Biden in a criminal bribery scheme. While the FBI sought to obfuscate and redact, the American people can now read this document for themselves, without the filter of politicians or bureaucrats, thanks to brave and heroic whistleblowers,” Grassley said in a July 20 statement.
Archer said in his testimony that he was unaware of any $5 million bribe to the Bidens. Zlochevsky also appeared to refute the FD-1023 information in testimony in January 2020, noting that “no one from Burisma had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him” when Hunter Biden worked for Burisma, according to CNN. This assertion that “no one from Burisma had contacts with VP Biden” appears to be misleading. An April 2015 email, hosted from the website bidenlaptopemails.com, from Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma’s board, said that he met with Hunter and Joe Biden.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure. As we spoke yesterday evening, would be great to meet today for a quick coffee. What do you think? I could come to you office somewhere around noon or so, before or on my way to airport,” Pozharskyi wrote. The email’s authenticity was confirmed by the Daily Caller News Foundation and The Washington Post in 2020 and again in 2022.
The White House pointed The Washington Post to denials the Biden campaign made in 2020 about Biden meeting with Pozharskyi. Archer, though, told the House Oversight Committee that Pozharskyi did go to a dinner that was attended by others such as Alex Karloutsos and the Bidens.
“I remember just a regular dinner where there was a table of conversation and — you know, talked about the World Food Program probably,” Archer said. Archer also stated that “there was no business-deals specifics discussed ever at any of these things.”
A May 2017 email from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, also hosted on bidenlaptopemails.com, shows that former Hunter Biden business associate James Gilliar wrote “10 held by H for the big guy?” in a potential business deal with a Chinese firm. Tony Bobulinski, another former business associate of Hunter Biden, said in October 2020 that the “big guy” was Joe Biden, according to The Washington Post. Gilliar told The Wall Street Journal that Joe Biden never participated in the potential deal.
“I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure. I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former Vice President. The activity in question never delivered any project revenue,” Gilliar said.
A House Oversight Committee spokesperson told Check Your Fact that “mounting evidence reveals that then-Vice President Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his family sold around the world to enrich the Bidens.”
“Then-Vice President Biden spoke over 20 times by speakerphone with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates, dined with corrupt oligarchs who funneled millions to Hunter Biden, had coffee with one of his son’s associates in Beijing, and may have engaged in a bribery scheme,” the spokesperson said.
The House Oversight Committee also has a page titled “Evidence of Joe Biden’s Involvement in His Family’s Influence Peddling Schemes,” which cites the various dinners attended by Joe Biden, the alleged text message from Hunter Biden to the CEFC official and reporting from Fox News about Hunter Biden’s business associates visiting the White House.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a tweet that the GOP’s investigations “have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing by POTUS. In fact, their own witnesses have testified to that, and their own documents have showed no link to POTUS.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Embellishes Fire Story In Recent Remarks In Hawaii)
Will anyone ask Speaker McCarthy *why* an impeachment inquiry is the “next logical step?”
The House GOP investigations have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing by POTUS. In fact, their own witnesses have testified to that, and their own documents have showed no link to POTUS
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) September 12, 2023
Check Your Fact reached out to the White House and the Associated Press for comment.