Now that the House of Representatives is back in business under the leadership of their new Republican Speaker, Louisiana congressman Mike Johnson, we can expect new developments in the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden that had been launched by the previous Speaker, Kevin McCarthy.
House Republicans will further explore whether and to what extent the president was involved and aware of his troubled son, Hunter’s, influence-peddling scheme. It has already been established that nine members of the Biden family had collected at least $20 million from operatives of at least four foreign countries, by selling access to and influence over Joe Biden during the eight years he served as Barack Obama’s vice president. In addition, a deliberate attempt had been made to hide that money by making the payments to a web of accounts held by 20 different Biden family-controlled shell corporations.
In one of his first interviews after being elected Speaker, Johnson told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that he and his fellow House Republicans have a “constitutional responsibility” to follow the truth where it leads.
“We’re the rule of law team,” Johnson declared. “We don’t use this for political partisan games like the Democrats have done and did against Donald Trump twice. We are going to follow the law and follow the Constitution, and I think we have a suspicion of where that may lead, but we’re going to let the evidence speak for itself. . .
“We’re trying to move forward on some of this very aggressively. I think the American people are owed these answers. And I think our suspicions about all this, the evidence that we’ve gathered so far, is affirming what many of us feared, maybe the worst…
“As (House Oversight Committee chairman) Jamie Comer likes to say, ‘Bank records don’t lie.’ We already have a lot of this evidence. The dots are being connected, and we’ll see where it leads. . .
“I look forward to rolling that out over the coming days and weeks and letting the American people see exactly why we’re taking the next steps and where it’s headed,” Johnson added.
EXISTING EVIDENCE OF THE PRESIDENT’S INVOLVEMENT
Despite the many elements of the Biden family influence-peddling scheme that have been revealed so far, supporters of President Biden still vigorously deny that he has been directly implicated in the scandal.
But a recent review by Politico “of recent congressional testimony and exhibits, along with court filings and media reports casts doubt on several statements made by Biden and his representatives.
“They include the president’s claim that he has never discussed his relatives’ business dealings with anyone, and his suggestion that the appearance of emails apparently belonging to his son was the result of a Russian plot, as well as Biden’s denials that his son made money from China and that his relatives have profited off of the Biden name.”
The primary source for many of the accusations regarding Joe Biden’s personal and direct involvement with Hunter Biden’s business clients were the emails and other documents found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. When the New York Post began publishing those accusations in October 2020, a few weeks before the presidential election, the Biden campaign had Antony Blinken, who now serves as Biden’s Secretary of State, organize the publication of a public letter signed by fifty former national intelligence which discredited the evidence found on the laptop as “Russian disinformation.” That letter was then used as a justification by the mainstream media to censor all mention of the allegations in the Post story and based upon the evidence from that laptop, which prevented it from becoming a factor in the outcome of the election.
However, since that time, the Politico story noted, the evidence from the abandoned Hunter Biden laptop has been validated, not only by the FBI, which received the incriminating data in late 2019 from the owner of the Wilmington, Delaware computer shop where the laptop had been abandoned, but also, independently, by investigative reporting by the New York Times and the Washington Post.
JOE BIDEN HAD DINNER WITH A BURISMA EXECUTIVE
Congressional testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, has also confirmed the emails found on the laptop. They indicate that on April 16, 2015, Joe Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice president at the time, did attend a private dinner at Washington DC’s exclusive Café Milano restaurant with Vadym Pozharskyi. He was an executive of Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian energy company which was paying Hunter Biden handsomely at that time to sit on its board of directors. In one of the emails, sent the morning after the dinner, Pozharskyi wrote, “Thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together.”
In addition to being verified by of Politico’s own forensics experts, the thank you email was also authenticated by an affidavit produced by an IRS investigator on the Hunter Biden case, which was released by House Republicans in September.
Joe Biden’s alleged contact with the Burisma executive is a sensitive matter because at the time of the dinner, Joe Biden was heading U.S. anti-corruption initiatives in Ukraine. Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign claims that Joe Biden subsequently demanded the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating Burisma, because of his son’s position with the company.
A subsequent congressional investigation found that Biden’s demand that Shokin be fired was consistent with U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine at that time. However, the allegation that Joe Biden acted corruptly in getting the prosecutor fired has resurfaced, based upon recently revealed testimony from a highly trusted confidential FBI source. According to Politico, the source said that Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, had told him privately that “he was pressured by Joe and Hunter Biden into bribing them for help resolving Burisma’s legal issues, including Shokin’s firing.”
After the FBI reinterviewed the confidential source in 2020 to confirm his earlier testimony about the alleged bribe, then-attorney-general Bill Barr forwarded it to the U.S attorney in Delaware for use in the Hunter Biden investigation, but instead, it was just ignored.
While, according to Politico, the evidence refuting Joe Biden’s previous denials that he ever had any knowledge of or involvement with his son Hunter’s business associates is now overwhelming, Biden’s supporters still insist there is still “no evidence” of Joe Biden’s direct knowledge of and cooperation with the Biden family-operated influence-peddling schemes, or that he personally profited from them.
BIDEN’S DENIALS ARE NO LONGER BELIEVABLE
However, the Politico article notes that the president’s track record of initially denying any involvement in or knowledge of his son’s corrupt business dealings, and then being forced to backtrack when clear evidence emerges to the contrary, has made it much more difficult to give Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt.
When the issue of questionable Biden family business dealings first came up in August 2019, Joe Biden issued a sweeping denial that distanced himself from his family’s commercial pursuits: “I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period,” he told reporters.
Joe Biden’s claim of total ignorance of his son’s business dealings was refuted just two months later in October 2020, when Hunter Biden former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, said that he discussed their Chinese business ventures with Hunter’s father and his uncle, James Biden, in Los Angeles in early May 2017.
“At my approximately hour-long meeting with Joe that night, we discussed the Bidens’ history, the Bidens’ family business plans with the Chinese, with which he was plainly familiar, at least at a high level,” Bobulinski said. In an interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, Bobulinski also said that it was “crystal clear” that Hunter Biden had discussed the deal with his father before the meeting in Los Angeles.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden also refuted an accusation by Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson that “Hunter Biden, together with other Biden family members, profited off the Biden name.” When asked by a local Milwaukee television reporter, “Is there any legitimacy to Sen. Johnson’s claims?” Joe Biden replied, “None whatsoever,” and then added, “Ron should be ashamed of himself.”
However, after Devon Archer’s congressional testimony this July that “a large part of the value” Hunter Biden brought to Burisma was the Biden family “brand” — and that Joe Biden “brought the most value to the brand,” it became too hard for even the most gullible media reporters to accept Biden’s flat denials at face value. To retain any credibility, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, was forced into a retreat. When asked by a reporter whether the White House still stood by its claims that Joe Biden had never discussed his business dealings with his son, she responded with a much more limited claim, that, “The president was never in business with his son,” implicitly admitting that Joe Biden’s prior claims of total ignorance of Hunter’s schemes was no longer tenable.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel notes that Biden and his supporters have been steadily moving the goal posts back as each new piece of evidence emerges to contradict the president’s claims of innocence and ignorance. But the Politico story, cataloging all of the evidence that has surfaced to date, indicates that the mainstream media is finally beginning to take the Republican allegations of Biden family corruption mor seriously.
Meanwhile, James Campbell, in a commentary published on the RealClear Politics website, claims that the evidence that has already been collected is sufficient to justify Joe Biden’s impeachment by the Republican majority in the House. That includes the revealing emails and text messages on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, 170 bank reports of suspicious foreign payments to Biden family members, direct testimony before Republican-led congressional committees, and the complaints from FBI and IRS whistle-blowers describing the deliberate attempts by their superiors to suppress the evidence against the Biden family and to sidetrack the criminal investigation into Biden’s son.
While the evidence makes it clear that the Biden family influence-peddling operation was both real and extensive, the most crucial question raised by these activities — to what extent Joe Biden knowingly participated in and profited from the schemes — remains unanswered.
POTENTIAL GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT
The president’s defenders argue that the Biden family members were selling only the “illusion of access” to Joe Biden when he was vice president. But if it can be proven that Joe Biden did participate knowingly in his family’s influence-peddling schemes, then, according to Campbell, he would be subject to impeachment and removal from office by Congress on a charge of bribery solicitation, whether he profited personally from the foreign payments or not.
However, because no such evidence of direct participation by Joe Biden has yet been uncovered, constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley says that the congressional inquiry must continue until there is enough such evidence to justify Republicans launching a formal impeachment procedure to remove Biden from office.
Nevertheless, according to Campbell, the evidence suggesting Joe Biden’s guilt is actually much stronger than the mainstream news reports, which are based mostly upon the claims of the president’s supporters, would suggest.
In fact, the evidence does show that on many occasions, Joe Biden was directly and physically involved with both Hunter Biden’s business partners and his foreign clients in the influence-peddling schemes. These include meetings with Joe Biden at the White House and at his official vice-presidential residence, as well as Joe Biden’s presence at dinner business meetings at Café Milano, on business conference calls, and golf outings. It is also clear that these contacts with Joe Biden were not accidental, but rather deliberately staged to enable Hunter Biden to demonstrate to his foreign clients that he was capable of supplying access to his father, the vice president.
There are also the recently uncovered financial transactions in which Joe Biden himself received two direct payments of $40,000 in September, 2017, and $200,000 in March, 2018, which have been described by Joe Biden’s lawyers as the repayments of his “loans” to his brother Jim and Jim’s wife, Sara, who were apparently acting as financial go-betweens to make the payments to Joe Biden seem more innocent. The $40,000 represented 10% of the $400,000 that had just been received by Hunter Biden from a joint venture with a Chinese company. The $200,000 check was apparently a Joe Biden’s cut from a $600,000 loan that James Biden received from Americore Health, which owns a chain of rural hospitals across the country. According to a later corporate bankruptcy filing by Americore, the loan was “based upon representations that [James’] last name, ‘Biden,’ could ‘open doors’ and that he could obtain a large investment from the Middle East based on his political connections.”
According to legal authority Jonathan Turley, over the years the Biden family has frequently used transactions that they have labeled as loan payment or repayments in order to camouflage their shady financial dealings. It was as if they were running their own private family savings and loan bank association to avoid questions that they would not want to answer, such as what the original purpose of the loans was, what the repayment terms were, and how much interest was paid on the borrowed money. According to IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, who had been deeply involved in the Hunter Biden investigation, labeling the transactions as loan payments and repayments is a classic tax-evasion move.
JOE BIDEN’S SELF-INCRIMINATING BOAST
The most incriminating evidence of former Vice President Biden’s involvement in the influence-peddling scheme was his public boast at a recorded January 23, 2018, event in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. Biden bragged that he had forced Ukraine’s government to fire state prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma for corruption, the company that was paying Hunter Biden handsomely at the time to sit on its board. Then-Vice President Biden had threatened to block a billion dollars in badly needed American financing for Ukraine, if its government did not promptly comply with his demand that they fire the prosecutor.
From a legal point of view, the impeachment crime of bribery basically consists of a quid pro quo financial transaction. In this case, Burisma’s generous payments to Hunter Biden comprised the “quid” of the transaction, which paid for the “quo” delivered by his father, the vice president when he successfully pressured Ukraine’s government into firing the prosecutor. By contrast, congressional Democrats launched an impeachment process against President Trump for merely asking Ukraine’s President Zelensky in a telephone call to look into the allegations of corruption in the relationship between the Bidens and Burisma.
EVIDENCE FROM HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP
Then there is the email found on Hunter Biden’s laptop which described the distribution of profits from a proposed deal with a Chinese energy company. It included the following cryptic reference: “10 held by H for the big guy” which was interpreted by one of Hunter Biden’s former business partners to mean that 10% of the profits from the scheme would be held by Hunter Biden, (H) for his father, Joe Biden (the big guy).
Yet another revealing document found on the laptop was a text message Hunter sent to his adult daughter telling her “Don’t worry, unlike Pop (Joe Biden), I won’t make you give me half your salary.” This message supports other evidence suggesting that Hunter Biden was regularly forwarding as much as half of the income from his corrupt influence-peddling schemes, through a variety of covert payments, that were dedicated to paying for his father’s living expenses. It makes it very difficult to believe his defender’s claim that Joe Biden was, in fact, ignorant of his son’s corrupt business activities, from which he was receiving so much direct benefit. It also undermines Joe Biden’s claim to “plausible deniability,” regarding questions about his own direct involvement in the influence-peddling schemes from which he and nine members of his family reaped so many millions of dollars in foreign payments.
For years, Joe Biden and his supporters repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of his troubled son’s corrupt business dealings. Even the Biden White House now concedes that in light of all of the confirmed evidence to the contrary, that claim is no longer credible, and has fallen back to the claim that Joe Biden has not personally profited from his son’s business dealings.
JOE BIDEN’S CLAIMS OF INNOCENCE ARE HARD TO BELIEVE
Whether that claim will be able to stand up in the face of further investigations by Republican-led congressional committees in the weeks and months ahead remains to be seen. But Campbell notes that just based upon the evidence that has already surfaced, the president’s continued denials of knowledge of and complicity in his family’s influence-peddling schemes are difficult to believe.
Campbell then asks a series of troubling questions:
“Are we to believe that a number of powerful influence-seekers in large nations would pay multiple millions of dollars in different transactions over a number of years to Hunter Biden and his associates for the ‘illusion’ of influence lacking ‘deliverables’ from the ‘Big Guy’?
“Are we to believe Joe Biden was frequently around activities and participants in the enterprise, including close family members and somehow had no knowledge about what was going on right under his nose?”
“Can we believe that Joe’s son and brother, Hunter and Jim, two devoted members of the tight-knit Biden family, would have (or could have) both been so reckless as to have undertaken an extensive, long-running, and politically dangerous influence-peddling scheme on their own, without having Joe’s approval?”
All of this prompts Campbell to raise the same question about Joe Biden which was posed during the Watergate impeachment hearings fifty years ago by Republican Howard Baker, and ultimately led to the resignation in disgrace of President Richard Nixon: “What did the president know, and when did he know it?”
MORE DETAILS OF THE FBI’S BIDEN COVERUP
In addition to pursuing the inquiry into the extent of Joe Biden’s involvement in the family’s influence-peddling scheme, Republicans, led by Chuck Grassley, who is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will continue their investigation into charges that senior members of the FBI, the Department of Justice and the IRS engaged in an attempt to derail the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s corrupt activities both before and after the 2020 presidential election.
Two weeks ago, Senator Grassley sent a blistering letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland referring to an ongoing plot “among certain Justice Department and FBI officials to improperly delay and stop full and complete investigative activity into the Biden family.”
Former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Scott Brady became the latest federal official to testify before Grassley’s committee about internal efforts to sidetrack the investigation into Hunter Biden’s corrupt dealings that had been led by David Weiss, the U.S. Attorney in Delaware since it began in 2018. Brady’s testimony was also consistent with Grassley’s claim that over 40 confidential human sources had, over the years, given information to the FBI about potential criminal activity involving the president, his brother James, and his son Hunter.
In January 2020, Brady had been assigned by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to screen the evidence against the Biden family from those sources to determine how much of it was legitimate. But his efforts to review that evidence were deliberately obstructed by senior FBI officials “mostly at the headquarters level” by creating bureaucratic “choke points” that repeatedly delayed his simple requests for cooperation and briefings on the progress of the Hunter Biden investigation for weeks at a time. The FBI officials had also withheld from Brady the fact that they had possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop and all of the incriminating evidence that it contained.
SENIOR OFFICIALS SUPPRESSED THE EVIDENCE
In particular, Brady testified that his efforts to independently vet the evidence against the Bidens were repeatedly stymied by Weiss’ deputy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf. In separate testimony, IRS supervisory agent and whistleblower Gary Shapley said that he had been present at a meeting at which Wolf had said that she was not cooperating with Brady’s effort. As a justification, Wolf had claimed that all the information that Brady was working with was not credible because it all came from Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, but that was not true.
According to Shapley’s testimony, Wolf had also violated standard Justice Department procedure by giving Hunter Biden’s attorney advance notice that he would be served with a search warrant. In addition, Shapley testified, she had also prevented FBI investigators from following up on newly uncovered evidence that might have more directly implicated Joe Biden in Hunter Biden’s scheme.
Brady also met resistance when he asked the FBI to re-interview its highly paid confidential human source in order to confirm that source’s allegation that he had been told by Burisma owner Myukola Zlochevsky that Hunter Biden and then-Vice President Joe Biden had each taken $5 million bribes from him in order to get Ukraine prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired.
Yet, even after that bribery allegation was confirmed, when the source was re-interviewed on June 30, 2020, senior officials at FBI headquarters refused to act on the information.
Instead, according to Grassley’s letter to Attorney General Garland last week, to protect the Bidens, those senior officials deliberately withheld the bribery allegation from the IRS and FBI criminal investigators working on the Hunter Biden case, and then had an assessment issued that officially discredited it as foreign disinformation.
INTERFERING WITH THE 2020 ELECTION
By their deliberate efforts to withhold and discredit important evidence in the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden and limit its scope, those senior FBI officials were clearly attempting to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Furthermore, by continuing the cover-up after the election, these politically motivated FBI and Justice Department officials have been desperately trying to prevent President Biden from being directly implicated in the influence-peddling scandal, and possibly impeached because of it.
However, thanks to the diligent efforts of Senator Grassley and House Republicans, much of that cover-up has now been exposed. In the weeks and months ahead, we can look forward to even more revelations as Republican-led investigations in the House and Senate renew and intensify their efforts to get to the bottom of the Biden family’s corruption scandals.