WASHINGTON ― House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) announced Monday that Republicans had discovered evidence of direct payments from one of Hunter Biden’s businesses to his father.
The way Comer made the announcement may have said more about the ongoing effort to impeach President Joe Biden, however, than it did about the president’s alleged corruption.
“Payments from Hunter’s business entity to Joe Biden are now part of a pattern revealing Joe Biden knew about, participated in, and benefited from his family’s influence peddling schemes,” Comer said in a press release.
But the release and Comer’s statement omitted some details, such as the amount of the payments and their apparent purpose. The release linked to a grainy redacted document indicating that in September 2018 Hunter Biden set up a recurring transfer to his father for $1,380 per month ― a tiny sum compared to the multimillion-dollar scale of the bribery and influence peddling schemes Republicans have alleged against Joe Biden.
That same dollar figure has turned up in previous reporting, based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, indicating his father had taken on some of his expenses as addiction wrecked his personal and business life. A 2019 email from his personal assistant indicates Hunter Biden was paying that amount as “Reimbursement to JRB” for a Ford Raptor truck. (JRB stands for Joseph Robinette Biden.)
“The truth is Hunter’s father helped him when he was struggling financially due to his addiction and could not secure credit to finance a truck,” Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, said in a statement. “When Hunter was able to, he paid his father back and took over the payments himself.”
Lowell’s office said the records show only three payments in total.
Republicans have said they suspect Joe Biden of receiving millions in bribes through his son, who had financial relationships with foreign nationals in China, Ukraine and elsewhere, including when his father served as vice president and was involved in foreign policy.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) attends a news conference on the impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 29.
Comer on Monday portrayed the monthly payments as evidence Joe Biden directly benefited from his son’s business schemes, though he did not characterize them as bribes. Nor did he dispute that the monthly payments might have been loan reimbursements. Instead, he suggested that any money from Hunter Biden was fundamentally illicit.
“There is now a pattern of members of the Biden family using their bank accounts that have been funded by Chinese and other foreign entities to send money to Joe Biden,” an Oversight Committee spokesperson said in a statement responding to Lowell. “Based on witness testimony, Joe Biden knew and participated in his family’s influence peddling schemes. The checks and payments we’ve uncovered reveal Joe Biden benefited from them.”
Comer previously accused Joe Biden of improperly receiving funds from his brother, who had himself been paid by a bankrupt health care company that only hired him due to his last name. Records suggested those payments were also loan reimbursements; Joe Biden made millions from a memoir after leaving the vice presidency.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said on social media that Comer is “digging up old public reporting, distorting the facts” and recycling theories about Joe Biden’s alleged corruption first promulgated by former president Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
“If Chairman Comer had any actual evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, he would not repeatedly resort to distorting the facts and recycling Trump-Giuliani conspiracy theories,” Raskin said.