House Republicans have once again changed their target in an ongoing probe into the family finances of President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, claiming they no longer need to cough up evidence that the president financially benefited from his son’s business ventures to prove his corruption.
In a memo released Wednesday by the Republican-led House Oversight Committee, the majority appeared to drop its long-held target of directly proving the president’s corruption, writing: “President Biden’s defenders purport a weak defense by asserting the Committee must show payments directly to the President to show corruption.”
“This is a hollow claim no other American would be afforded if their family members accepted foreign payments or bribes,” the memo reads. “Indeed, the law recognizes payments to family members to corruptly influence others can constitute a bribe.”
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the law the memo refers to, “companies also may violate the FCPA if they give payments or gifts to third parties, such as an official’s family members, as an indirect way of corruptly influencing a foreign official.”
Despite the bluster, Hunter Biden has not been charged with accepting foreign bribes, and even the committee’s most-hyped whistleblowers and evidence has up to this point fallen flat.
Also included in Wednesday’s memo are records of over $20 million in payments from oligarchs in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan allegedly made to Hunter Biden, as well as other family members and their business associates. But instead of giving any proof of Joe Biden’s personal enrichment, however, the memo argues that Hunter Biden used his dad as “The Brand” around the world “to ‘signal’ their access, influence, and power”—which, though apparently not illegal, Republicans say should be enough to prove their long-held conviction that President Biden personally benefitted from his son’s activities.
“During Joe Biden’s vice presidency, Hunter Biden sold him as ‘the brand’ to reap millions from oligarchs in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine,” Rep. James Comer (R-KY), committee chairman, told CNN in a statement. “It appears no real services were provided other than access to the Biden network, including Joe Biden himself. And Hunter Biden seems to have delivered.”
The White House, in a rare statement on the matter, came out swinging against the innuendo-laden memo just hours later.
Spokesperson Ian Sams issued a lengthy statement in response to the committee, ripping apart the Republicans’ pattern of inflating “self-proclaimed bombshell findings about President Biden” while labeling the Comer’s latest evidence “yet another flop.”
“Today House Republicans on the Oversight Committee released another memo full of years-old ‘news,’ innuendo, and misdirection—but notably missing, yet again, is any connection to President Biden,” Sams said. “So after seven months of wasting time and millions of taxpayer dollars on their evidence-free wild goose chase, Comer is making it clear that he is shamelessly moving the goal posts.”
Last week, Devon Archer, a former business partner of Hunter Biden, testified that the son gave Ukrainian energy company Burisma “the illusion of access to his father” but admitted he was “not aware of any” wrongdoing by Joe Biden.
“There are touch points and contact points that I can’t deny that happened, but nothing of material was discussed,” Archer said.
Besides “the brand,” the only indirect connections the memo makes between Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s business dealings are a trip the former vice president made to Ukraine and dinners he attended after payments were sent.
According to the memo, Joe Biden visited Ukraine in spring 2014 after oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky agreed to pay Hunter Biden and Archer $1 million a year. The memo also says Joe Biden participated in dinners in 2014 and 2015 at Café Milano in Washington, D.C. with his son, Archer, and foreign business associates, which came after Hunter Biden purportedly received millions from Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakhstani billionaires for various services.
Archer previously testified that the 2014 dinner was “like a birthday dinner” and gave a pretty boring description of what it entailed.
“[Joe Biden] came to dinner, and we ate and kind of talked about the world, I guess, and the weather, and then everybody, everybody left,” he said.