by Jed Babbin
Last week’s New York Post stories revealed a web of corruption that began with Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, and ended by implicating the presidential candidate in regard to Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company, and CEFC, a Chinese energy company.
The Post’s revelations about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, were derived from emails found on a laptop abandoned in 2019 at a computer repair shop owned by one John Paul “Mac” Isaac. The computer was seized by the FBI but only after Isaac had copied the hard drive. Trump lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani apparently obtained a copy from Isaac and shared its information with the Post.
An email from Hunter Biden reported by the Post said that one of the proposed deals with CEFC would be “interesting to me and my family.”
Neither Hunter Biden nor his father have disputed the authenticity of the emails. A lawyer for the younger Biden reportedly tried to recover the computer from Isaac, asserting Hunter’s ownership.
Hunter Biden became a member of Burisma Holdings Ltd.’s board of directors in 2014 and served until 2019. He was reportedly paid about $50,000 a month during that period. Hunter had no qualifications, experience, or expertise in the natural gas industry when he was hired. The only thing he brought to Burisma was access to his father, then vice president. (A Senate report last week found that in addition to his salary, Hunter was paid several million dollars by Burisma.)
The practice of influence-peddling is as old as the Washington swamp.
Joe Biden has claimed that he knew nothing about the business dealings that his son, Hunter, had with Burisma and had never met with Burisma officials. He said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
One of the emails reported by the Post was from Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi, thanking Hunter for setting up a meeting with his father. The email, dated April 17, 2015, said, “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”
Joe Biden’s campaign first denied that the meeting ever took place and then backpedaled, first saying the meeting wasn’t on Joe’s official schedule and then that it couldn’t guarantee that Joe hadn’t met with Pozharskyi.
Joe Biden’s campaign didn’t renew his insistence that he’d never discussed his son’s foreign business deals with him.
Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin was, beginning around 2014, investigating Burisma’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, for corruption. Shokin was criticized repeatedly for slow-rolling the investigation. Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine and was pressuring its government to end corruption.
In 2016, when $1 billion in loan guarantees had been promised to Ukraine, Joe Biden intervened, insisting that Shokin had to be fired or Ukraine wouldn’t receive the loan guarantees. (You can view Joe Biden’s 2018 statement bragging about his threat to Ukraine here, beginning about 50 seconds into the video.) Shokin was fired at Joe Biden’s insistence.
Shokin’s successor didn’t accelerate the case against Burisma; he dropped it. Biden’s claim that, by insisting on Shokin being fired, he was carrying out Obama’s anti-corruption crusade is clearly untrue.
Joe Biden and his media pals have contended that he was just carrying out Obama administration policy by insisting that Shokin be fired. Right.
It’s neither unusual nor illegal for lobbyists to sell their services because of the access they have to powerful government officials. That’s part of how Washington works. But it is entirely corrupt, and illegal, for the government officials to get kickbacks for doing what the lobbyists want them to do.
CEFC China Energy Company was China’s largest “private” (i.e., not outwardly controlled by Beijing) energy company. Hunter Biden was pushing to be hired by CEFC, which would form a new company for that purpose. An email from Hunter Biden reported by the Post said that one of the proposed deals with CEFC would be “interesting to me and my family.”
One of the emails revealed by the Post was sent to Hunter by James Gillar, an international consultant brokering the deal, on May 13, 2017. It said that Hunter would be either the chairman or vice chairman of the board. In addition, he would be paid “850” — obviously $850,000 — and that 80 percent of the new company’s equity shares would be split equally among Hunter and three other people, “with 10 held by H[unter] for the big guy?”
According to a Fox News report, the “big guy” has been identified by their source as Joe Biden, who may be elected president next month. Was the 10 percent held for “the big guy” intended as a bribe or kickback? And for what?
There are several other emails revealed by the Post, including one from Hunter involving a deal he apparently negotiated with CEFC that would have paid him $10 million annually for three years “for introductions alone.” CEFC reportedly went bankrupt this year.
In Michigan on Friday, Joe Biden refused to answer a reporter’s question about the Post reports, claiming it was a smear campaign.
On Saturday, a Breitbart report by Peter Schweizer said that in 2011, Hunter Biden helped a delegation of Communist Chinese “entrepreneurs” gain access to the White House, including a meeting with then–Vice President Joe Biden.
Let’s step back for a moment. None of the emails prove any illegal actions by either Joe or Hunter Biden. But they are evidence of possible illegal acts that should compel an investigation by the FBI of both Hunter and Joe Biden.
If the FBI does investigate the Bidens — which, given its track record over the past four years, seems highly doubtful — there will be nothing that will come out before the November 3 election. Joe will be protected by the media — and social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, which blocked the Post’s exposés of his and Hunter’s involvement with Burisma and China — at all costs.
What the emails do prove is that as grifters go, the Bidens are rank amateurs compared to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Their amateur status will change if Joe Biden is elected president.
The emails illustrate one of the biggest problems that the election of Joe Biden would cause. Biden has, for decades, been soft on China. His policy statement in the campaign pretends he would be as tough as Trump wants to be. We know from Joe’s record that he will continue to be soft on China with or without trying to tilt U.S. policy to enhance Hunter’s business ambitions. Joe will forget — if he ever knew — that we are fighting a second Cold War against China. He’ll let China continue its global aggression unanswered.
Joe has said his children won’t get White House jobs if he’s elected. Why should they want such jobs when they can get richer by selling access to daddy if he gets elected?
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American Spectator contributing editor Jed Babbin served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H. W. Bush administration. He writes the “Loose Canons” column for The American Spectatorand often appears as a talking warhead on television and radio.