The House Oversight and Accountability Committee will hold its first hearing on the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on Thursday, September 28.
“The hearing will focus on constitutional and legal questions surrounding the President’s involvement in corruption and abuse of public office,” according to a statement released by a committee spokesperson.
The committee also said it would subpoena Hunter Biden’s bank records along with those of James Biden, the president’s brother. Republican Committee Chairman James Comer told reporters that he sees gaining access to Hunter Biden’s bank records as a key way to advance their probe.
“Everyone in America knows why we need those bank records,” Comer said, “and they can either provide them or we’ll see them in court.”
Earlier this summer, Comer released a bank records memo, which revealed that the extended Biden family and their business associates received more than $20 million from oligarchs in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during the period when Joe Biden was Obama’s vice president, and advising him on U.S. foreign policy
Comer has also sought information from the National Archives related to the Biden family’s alleged misuse of Air Force Two, and all unredacted documents in which Biden used a pseudonym — Robin Ware — to camouflage his communications with his son, Hunter Biden.
This summer, Comer’s committee took a transcribed interview from Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer. He claimed that access to then-Vice President Joe Biden was “the brand” Hunter sold around the world to foreign business partners. Archer also testified that Joe Biden joined conference calls with Hunter’s business partners and attended business dinners with his son’s foreign associates in Washington D.C.
Fox News reported that Comer and his committee will seek transcribed interviews with other former Hunter Biden business associates, including Eric Schwerin and Rob Walker.
Comer also said that next week’s hearing will effectively function as “a refresher course on the existing evidence. . . if for no other purpose than to help educate the Washington, D.C., press corps,” which has been reluctant to report on the evidence of corruption involving Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family, including the president.
LOOKING INTO THE $5 MILLION BRIBERY CHARGE
Comer has said he believes the account of a trusted confidential informant for the FBI. According to a document in the FBI’s archives, the informant claimed that Mykola Zlochevsky, who headed Ukraine’s corrupt Burisma energy company, boasted that he had made well-hidden $5 million bribery payments to Hunter Biden and his father. Joe Biden was then President Obama’s vice president, and had been put in charge of overseeing U.S. relations with the Ukrainian government.
Republicans suggest that in return for the bribes, then-Vice President Biden agreed to help oust Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, at the time that Hunter Biden was being paid about $1 million a year to sit on Burisma’s board.
However, Democrats insist that the Republican-led impeachment inquiry is not justified because the Oversight Committee has yet to find any direct evidence connecting President Biden to any wrongdoing. They also claim that State Department emails at that time indicate that the real reason why Joe Biden and other U.S. government officials wanted Shokin to be fired was because he had failed to address the widespread corruption in Ukraine.
Nevertheless, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy bypassed an expected House vote on the issue, and announced his unilateral decision last week to launch an official impeachment inquiry. McCarthy also appointed Comer and House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, along with Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, to lead the investigation.
THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST JOE BIDEN
To justify his decision to go forward with the impeachment inquiry, McCarthy said that his fellow Republicans have already “uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct. . .
“President Biden did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business deals. . .
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption and warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy added.
House Republicans could have chosen to follow the precedent for impeachment procedures which was established by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The first impeachment procedure that she launched against Donald Trump began after only one hearing by the House Judiciary Committee, which investigated Trump’s phone call to Ukraine’s President Zelensky. Pelosi launched the second “snap impeachment” against Trump over his actions which led to the riot at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, without holding any hearings at all.
Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans, on the other hand, chose to methodically investigate the Hunter Bidden corruption scandal for months before launching a formal, high-level impeachment inquiry.
THE EVIDENCE AGAINST BIDEN IS PILING UP
Contrary to Democrat claims, the Republicans have already uncovered a great deal of evidence to support the charge of large-scale influence-peddling by Hunter Biden and his associates. It includes a money trail involving a labyrinth of dozens of shell companies and accounts to hide the transfer of millions of dollars to the Biden family from Hunter Biden’s foreign clients. There is also ample evidence of Joe Biden’s cooperation, through in-person meetings and telephone conversations with his son’s wealthy clients, proving that Hunter really could provide access “on demand” to the then-vice president.
However, conservative House Republican Congressman Ken Buck disagrees with McCarthy’s decision to launch a formal impeachment inquiry now. In a Washington Post op-ed, Buck argued that his fellow Republicans who are “itching” to impeach President Biden are “relying on an imagined history. . .
“Trump’s impeachment in 2019 was a disgrace to the Constitution and a disservice to Americans. The GOP’s reprise in 2023 is no better,” Buck concluded.
Jonathan Tobin, the editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Service, agrees with Democrat critics who claim that some Republicans want Biden impeached because “the GOP base is still fuming over the Democrat’s impeachment of former President Donald Trump on bogus charges related to his demand that Ukraine investigate Biden family corruption in that country. . .
Tobin adds “They are even angrier at the decision of Democratic prosecutors to deluge Trump with indictments that are transparently political in nature. . . Republican voters believe all these cases have only one purpose: to cripple, if not take down, the likely 2024 Republican presidential nominee.”
Tobin also quotes those who argue that Democrats were wrong to impeach Trump, which “should have remained a rare procedure to deal with only the most egregious crimes.” He also criticizes Democrats for their “determination to mischaracterize [Trump’s] dissent against their rule as a war on democracy and to take a banana republic approach” to trying to prevent Trump from winning a second term as president.
THE INQUIRY IS ABOUT MORE THAN GOP REVENGE
But Tobin also argues that the Republican “rationale for the impeachment of Biden goes beyond the revenge factor. Without an [impeachment] inquiry, hearings, and then an impeachment debate and trial, there’s simply no way to break through the liberal corporate media’s refusal to substantially cover the issue of Biden family corruption. . . [and] the growing body of evidence that Biden participated in and potentially profited from his son’s influence peddling with foreign entities, especially the Burisma energy company in Ukraine.
“There’s a lot more we need to know about this,” Tobin continues. “But since the federal prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden’s misdeeds seem suspiciously incurious about his father’s role in the family business, House Republicans aren’t wrong to think that the only way we’ll get anywhere close to the bottom of this is by launching an impeachment inquiry.”
Tobin notes that “what we already know about President Biden’s son’s influence peddling and then-Vice President Joe Biden’s role in the scheme is clearly corrupt. Even without digging further into the details of the family’s finances, it’s clear that when he was vice president, Biden knowingly took on responsibilities with respect to dealing with Ukraine as well as China that created a conflict of interest with his son’s grifting.
He concludes that “the story of Hunter’s role with Burisma and Vice President Biden’s boasts about using threats of withholding U.S. aid unless a prosecutor investigating the company was fired are enough by themselves to justify an impeachment.”
While acknowledging that “there is zero chance that a Senate run by the Democrats will convict Biden [in an impeachment trial],” Tobin still argues that, “whether or not it helps to defeat Biden’s re-election efforts, Biden’s corrupt activity deserves a thorough investigation and merits impeachment.”
BIDEN WHITE HOUSE IS NOW “IN FACTUAL RETREAT”
Investigative journalist Peter Schweitzer, whose 2018 book Secret Empires first revealed Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and influence peddling, claims that Team Biden has reacted to the gradual accumulation of new evidence of Biden family corruption by continuing to shift its official description of Joe Biden’s involvement with Hunter’s schemes, which amounts to a “factual retreat.”
“First it was he never talked to his son about business, and never met his business partners,” Schweizer said. “Now it is, we talked but it was only about the weather. The reality is there are numerous emails that offer plenty of evidence that Hunter Biden talked to his father about business matters often.
“One has to ask themselves: Why has President Joe Biden repeatedly lied about his knowledge of, and involvement with his son’s business partners over the course of years? What is he trying to hide?” Citing Devon Archer’s testimony and the financial records uncovered by the Oversight committee, Schweizer concludes, “It is becoming abundantly clear now what he has been trying to hide.”
Meanwhile, “Just the News” website reporter Steven Richards argues that Democrat Congressman Dan Goldman was wrong to try to minimize the significance of Devon Archer’s testimony before the Oversight Committee by claiming that Hunter Biden had only sold “the illusion of access” to his father when he was vice president to his foreign clients.
HUNTER BIDEN SOLD MORE THAN THE “ILLUSION” OF ACCESS
According to Richards, “evidence shows Hunter Biden, in fact, provided real access to his father for his business partners, despite the president having claimed repeatedly that ‘I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.’”
Hunter Biden himself confirmed in an interview he gave to the New Yorker Magazine that in December 2013, he introduced his business associate, Jonathan Li, to his father in the lobby of the hotel in which they were staying during an official vice-presidential visit to Beijing.
At that time, Li, Devon Archer, and Hunter Biden were working on forming a new company called BHR Partners that would bring together Chinese capital with Hunter Biden’s existing business enterprises.
The New York Times reported that in 2016, when Joe Biden was still vice president, BHR Partners had “helped secure cobalt for the Chinese.”
Archer also told congressional investigators that he remembered another time in which Hunter Biden called his father, the vice president, while he and Jonathan Li were having a business dinner in Beijing.
But Archer also testified that he could not remember any occasion when he heard then-vice president Biden discuss business matters during the speaker phone conversations with Hunter and his partners.
HUNTER BIDEN’S MEXICAN CONNECTION
There is also evidence from news reports and the visitor logs at the Obama White House that Hunter Biden arranged for Mexican businessman Miguel Aleman Velasco and his son, Miguel Aleman Magnani, Jr. to visit the White House and meet with his father, the vice president, in February 2014.
The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, published official White House photographs of the visit, which captured the vice president giving the Mexican visitors a personal tour of the White House Brady Press Briefing room.
According to an email found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, he also arranged for a visit with Obama’s Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for Miguel Aleman, while he was serving as the CEO of Interjet, the Mexico-City-based low-cost airline that his father owned.
Between 2014 and 2016, Hunter Biden had been working on a business venture with the Aleman family that called for the privatization and purchase of PEMEX, the state-owned Mexican oil company, that included a role for Ukraine’s Burisma energy firm in Ukraine, while Hunter was being well-paid to be a member of its board.
That deal never materialized. During his last visit to Mexico City with his father aboard the official Air Force Two vice presidential jet, Hunter wrote an email to the Aleman family expressing his frustration over the fact that even though, “I have brought every single person you have ever asked me to bring to the White House and the Vice President’s house and the inauguration, and then you go completely silent. I don’t hear from you for months.”
Since then, the Aleman family has fallen apart hard times. Interjet was forced into bankruptcy after Velasco was held liable in 2022 by a Mexican court for $739,891,173. of unpaid taxes, and his son, Magnani, has been living in exile in France since 2021 to avoid a Mexican arrest warrant charging him with tax fraud.
Devon Archer also said in his testimony before the Oversight Committee that he was present when then-Vice President Biden personally attended an April 2015 business dinner at the swank Café Milano restaurant with Hunter Biden and Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi.
Archer also testified to a December 2015 phone call that Pozharskyi and Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky had requested from Hunter Biden. During that phone call, the Burisma executives asked Hunter to “help them with some of [the] pressure” that they were receiving due to an investigation by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.
HOW JOE BIDEN GOT A UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR FIRED
According to Archer’s testimony, Pozharskyi later told him that Hunter responded by making a phone call to his father. A few days later, Vice President Biden flew to Ukraine and gave its president, Petro Poroshenko, an ultimatum threatening to cancel $1 billion in promised U.S. loan guarantees for Ukraine, unless he fired Prosecutor Shokin, which Poroshenko did. In 2018, Joe Biden would retell the story publicly and brag about his success in getting rid of the Ukrainian prosecutor during a recorded interview at a meeting of the Council of Foreign Relations.
Biden’s supporters have argued that the prosecutor deserved to be fired because he was corrupt, but Shokin himself now denies the corruption accusation and the New York Post has reported that just nine days after Joe Biden demanded that he be fired, the European Commission published a report that praised Shokin’s efforts as the recently appointed head of a specialized anti-corruption prosecution office.
Allegedly, Zlochevsky paid the $5 million bribes to Hunter and Joe Biden for their help in getting Shokin fired.
Archer has also testified that in April 2014, Yelena Baturina, the wealthy businesswoman and widow of Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, dined at the same Café Milano with Hunter Biden and his father, just a few weeks after Baturina “deposited $3.5 million into a bank account tied to Hunter Biden’s businesses and committed to investing in a New York real estate project with Biden’s partners.”
This suggests that it may be more than a coincidence that the list of wealthy Russian oligarchs who have been placed under U.S. sanctions for their support of Vladimir Putin since 2014, when Russia invaded and then annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, does not include Yelena Baturina.
According to Archer, Hunter Biden had also invited Kenes Rakishev, an oligarch from Kazakstan, to join him, his father, and Baturina at Café Milano.
HOW HUNTER BIDEN PAID FOR HIS NEW PORSCHE
According to the House Oversight Committee’s bank records memo, at about the same time, Rakishev, who was also involved in a business deal with Hunter Biden and Archer, wired $142,300 to a bank account controlled by Hunter, which was the exact sale price for a new Porsche sports car that Hunter bought from a New Jersey car dealership the next day.
The New York Post has also reported, based upon another email found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, that, Baturina and Rakishev were also invited to attend a spring 2015 dinner at Café Milano with Burisma executive Pozharskyi, Hunter, and Joe Biden, as well as Joe Biden’s long-time friend, Greek Orthodox priest Alex Karloutsos and his son, Michael Karloutsos.
According to investigative journalist Peter Schweitzer, at that time Hunter Biden and Michael Karloutsos were trying to buy TrainOSE, a subsidiary of the Greek national railway in partnership with the Chinese state-owned China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO), which had already gained financial control over the Greek port of Piraeus. However, the plan to purchase TrainOSE fell through when the Italian National Railway outbid Hunter Biden, Michael Karloutsos, and their Chinese partners.
HOW BURISMA MANIPULATED HUNTER BIDEN’S MEDIA IMAGE
The emails and other documents found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop describe how Hunter Biden and his allies carefully constructed a deliberately misleading image of Hunter Biden’s corrupt business ventures. According to investigative reporter Lee Fang’s article on the RealClearInvestigations website, “It was a sophisticated myth-making operation aided by allies in the media who rarely challenged or investigated their false claims. The laptop emails show that the [Biden] team closely monitored critical reporting and pushed to shape coverage with reporters from the New York Times, Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press.
“Their spin informed much of the ensuing coverage in the mainstream press, defusing the issue, even as President Trump and other Republicans insisted that Ukraine was a hotbed of Biden family corruption.”
One of the team’s main efforts was to disguise the true purpose of Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Burisma in May 2014, for which he was paid about $1 million per year, even though Hunter had no background in the energy field and little experience in corporate governance.
The documents found on the laptop show how the Biden team prepared a carefully designed cover story in response to each question from a reporter to camouflage the true intent of Burisma’s executives. That was to sway U.S. government policies to their advantage through Hunter Biden’s access to his father the vice president, and his substantial influence in the Obama administration, and especially over U.S. policy towards Ukraine.
MAKING UP STORIES TO FOOL REPORTERS
For example, in response to questions about Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma from Michael Sherer, who was then a reporter for Time Magazine, Ryan Tooley, an American public relations consultant on Burisma’s payroll, prepared a statement claiming that Hunter Biden will “not be engaged with the U.S. government” on anything related to Burisma.
Scherer included the denial in his article, but to his credit, he also reported on the suspicious circumstances surrounding Hunter Biden’s hiring.
Sherer also wanted to know why Burisma had hired high-powered lobbyist and political consultant David Leiter, a former aide to then-Secretary of State John Kerry. In an effort to close off that line of inquiry, Sherer was told by Burisma officials that Leiter, unfortunately, was “unavailable for comment,” without any further explanation.
In a response to similar questions from Stephen Braun, a reporter for the Associated Press, Burisma’s team of American lobbyists and public relations consultants came up with the claim that Hunter Biden was hired to serve as “an auditor with a special focus on renewable energy sourced from geothermal vents.” Braun was also told that “Mr. Biden will not lobby on behalf of Burisma. His role is to advise the company’s legal and compliance unit, including guidance on corporate governance standards.” Other than that, Burisma provided Braun with “minimum information” for his AP article. But to his credit as well, Braun wrote skeptically about the obvious conflict of interest issues raised by the hiring of Hunter Biden and the denials that he would be doing any lobbying for the company.
On the other hand, the article published by Politico reporting on Hunter Biden joining Burisma’s board was totally uncritical and simply reprinted quotes from the company’s official statements.
An article written in December 2015 by New York Times reporter James Risen was equally naive in describing Hunter Biden’s duties at Burisma. While Risen identified Hunter as “a former Washington lobbyist,” he accepted at face value the denial crafted by Burisma’s high-powered team of American consultants claiming that no lobbying was involved in Biden’s corporate duties.
BURISMA’S EXTENSIVE LOBBYING AND PR OPERATION
The truth was that Burisma had hired Hunter Biden and several other American political operatives with certain specific objectives in mind. One was to obtain a U.S. visa for Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky, who had previously been banned from visiting the United States because of the accusations of corruption against him. Another was to persuade high American officials to intervene with Ukraine’s leaders to stop their government’s corruption investigations into Burisma.
More specifically, shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board, in May 2014, he received an email from Zlochevsky advisor Pozharskyi asking for his “advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message/signal, etc. to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” referring to the investigation of Burisma by prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
In a follow-up email, Pozharskyi asked Hunter to come up with a specific working plan for lobbyists David Leiter and Toohey to intervene against the “politically motivated proceedings initiated against us in Ukraine” and to overcome the “U.S. entry ban” against Burisma’s owner.
Burisma devoted substantial resources to managing both its own reputation and Hunter Biden’s personal image. Pozharsky instructed Burisma’s American consultants to reach out to “the most reputable European and American journalists/newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs,” while monitoring Burisma’s image on Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other online platforms. Pozharskyi also asked them to scrub negative details from Hunter Biden’s Wikipedia page, and to develop a “detailed algorithm on how the Company should act in case of bad publicity.”
According to RealClearInvestigatins reporter Lee Fang, it is not uncommon for companies to hire “specialized ‘crisis communication’ firms to suppress negative coverage and shape desired narratives. What is remarkable about the Hunter Biden episode is how successful it was, and how uncritically most media organizations treated this unorthodox relationship between a [vice] president’s son and a controversial foreign corporation.”
THE BIDEN TEAM COVERUP EFFORT CONTINUES
The comprehensive Hunter Biden mainstream media coverup operation continues to this day. For example, Washington Post columnist Philip Bump continues to dismiss any hint of scandal regarding Hunter Biden’s corrupt business dealings and influence-peddling schemes and insists that Republicans have still found “no evidence” of wrongdoing by Joe Biden. Last month, Bump got up and walked out in anger in the middle of an interview when podcast host Noam Dworman asked him about the email found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, in which he told one of his adult daughters, that “unlike Pop [Joe Biden], I won’t make you give me half your salary.”
It was an indication that at some point, even Joe Biden’s most dedicated boosters will run out of reasonable explanations and denials as the evidence of his corruption becomes overwhelming.
Nevertheless, the Biden team is still trying to suppress the mainstream media’s coverage of the developing scandal. In reaction to House Speaker McCarthy’s announcement that the Republican impeachment inquiry will start next week, the Biden White House issued a memo reminding all of the nation’s major media outlets, in bold type, that the entire Hunter Biden conflict of interest and influence-peddling scandal had been thoroughly “refuted” and “debunked.”
Vox, NBC News, and CNN complied with the memo and adopted that language verbatim in their articles covering the story, but as the impeachment inquiry hearings get started, uncovering more evidence of Biden family corruption and wrongdoing, those media outlets will inevitably be shamed into finally telling their audiences the truth.