GOP refers Hunter Biden, James Biden to DOJ amid accusations of misleading Congress

GOP refers Hunter Biden, James Biden to DOJ amid accusations of misleading Congress

GOP leaders of the impeachment investigation into President Biden asked the Justice Department Wednesday to bring criminal charges against the president’s son and brother, accusing the duo of lying to lawmakers during conversations with investigators.

A trio of House committees released the 65-page referral with little fanfare, even as the move escalates the stakes of an impeachment inquiry that’s grown quiet in recent months amid doubts about support among the conference.

The report accuses the president’s relatives of withholding information as part of “what appears to be a conscious, calculated effort to insulate Joe Biden from the duly authorized impeachment inquiry.” However, the matters in question have limited connection to the president.

“This is not the end of our efforts to hold the Bidens accountable; it’s only the beginning,” House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a release.

The Justice Department declined to comment, while an attorney for Hunter Biden did not respond to a request for comment.

Democrats criticized their colleagues for taking the Biden family to task over minute details about their business dealings that have little overlap with the president.

“This agonizingly protracted and completely fruitless investigation has proven only that President Biden was not part of, did not profit from, and took no official actions to benefit his family members’ business ventures,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, said of the referral.

“Of course, the Chairmen’s 60-page letter is a last-ditch effort to distract from the exoneration of President Biden by offering ‘gotcha’ accusations against the President’s son and brother based on their efforts to recollect years-old financial transactions, text messages, and conversations in the course of this interminable fishing expedition.”

The report accuses James Biden of lying to investigators about President Biden briefly meeting with Tony Bobulinski, a business associate, for a short time. James Biden told investigators Bobulinski “never, to my knowledge, met with my brother.”

While the GOP said that was contradicted by Hunter Biden’s testimony, Hunter Biden said he was having coffee with his uncle and Bobulinski in a hotel lobby when his father briefly shook Bobulinski’s hand. But Hunter Biden said there was “no meeting, per se” between the two to discuss anything of substance.

“This baseless partisan action is a transparent and cynical attempt to distract from and retaliate for Donald Trump’s recent criminal conviction. James Biden testified earlier this year and has always maintained that Joe Biden never had any involvement in his business dealings,” Paul Fishman, an attorney for James Biden, said in a statement.

But the bulk of the report focuses on Hunter Biden, who is on trial on gun charges stemming from a special counsel investigation into his failure to pay taxes.

“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt by Republicans to twist Hunter’s testimony so they can distract from their failed impeachment inquiry and interfere with his trial,” Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, said in a statement.

The panels accuse Hunter Biden of being dishonest about serving as the corporate secretary of an entity called Rosemont Seneca Bohai — one of a series of businesses crafted with his then-business partner Devon Archer through which they conducted their foreign business dealings.

The basis for the claim zeroes in on a brief exchange during Hunter Biden’s six-hour deposition.

Republican investigators asked him during the interview whether he held the secretary role with the company, with Hunter Biden replying, “I didn’t even know that there was such a thing.”

But GOP investigators never had a chance to confront him with a document they obtained after the fact, showing Hunter Biden attesting to serving as its secretary, and when asked to do so during the interview by his attorney, a GOP staff member acknowledged in the moment they had no such document.

And Hunter Biden’s testimony was in line with that of Archer, who answered “no” Hunter Biden never held an official role with the company — “just equity.”

Hunter Biden had a number of different companies with names nodding to various towns in the Finger Lakes region of New York, many of which were used to conduct foreign business dealings.

Still, Republicans argue Hunter Biden didn’t want to be upfront about his role with the company because President Biden has met with some business associates of his son who wired money to the Rosemont Seneca Bohai account.

The referral notes that Hunter Biden was not listed on financial documents associated with Rosemont Seneca Bohai, something they say raises questions about why he had transactions with the account given “when he had his own companies and credit cards.”

In another portion of the report, Republicans accuse Hunter Biden of being dishonest about which Zhao he believed he was texting with when he sent messages that referenced him sitting next to his father and would “forever hold a grudge” if Zhao’s “commitment” was not “fulfilled.”

It’s unclear whom the WhatsApp message reached, but Hunter Biden expressed embarrassment over the message, saying he intended to send it to Raymond Zhao, the head of a Chinese energy company, but may have sent it to another business associate, Henry Zhao.

Republicans wrote that it “strains credulity” that Hunter Biden would struggle to remember the text but believe he may have sent it to the wrong person.

Regardless of the recipient, Hunter Biden denied ever sitting next to his father while drafting the message.

Hunter Biden said the message is “the best indication of how out of my mind I was” during that time period.

“My addiction is not an excuse, but I can tell you this: I am more embarrassed of this text message, if it actually did come from me, than any text message I’ve ever sent,” told committee investigators.

“I can also tell you this: My father was not sitting next to me. My father had no awareness. My father had no awareness of the business that I was doing. My father never benefited from any of the business that I was doing.”

Updated at 5:51 p.m.

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