James Biden testimony transcript released, shows contradictions with other witness testimony

The transcript of James Biden’s testimony shows contradiction with other impeachment witnesses, especially over a key meeting between Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s business partner in Los Angeles.
Joe Biden, James Biden, Aug. 27, 2008, Denver, Colo.

The House Oversight Committee on Friday released the full transcript of its interview with presidential brother James Biden, who testified in late February before the GOP-led chamber's President Biden impeachment inquiry.

According to the transcript, James Biden insisted brother Joe Biden never met with business associates, directly contradicting testimony from other impeachment witnesses, including that of first son's Hunter Biden.

Despite some contradictions, Biden’s testimony did confirm many facts uncovered by the impeachment inquiry investigators, including details related to two “loans” his bother allegedly provided him, though he admitted that there was no documentation associated with them.

Biden’s insistence on his presidential brother’s distance from family business ventures while vice president echo the denials issued by the Biden team over the course of the probe and during the 2020 presidential campaign.

“First of all, I have never discussed with my son, or my brother, or anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses, period,” President Biden said on the campaign trail in 2019.

But, a review of the transcript shows James Biden’s statements conflict with testimony Hunter Biden and his former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, provided to the committee.

Bobulinski, the first of the trio to testify, told the committee about a Los Angeles meeting at the Beverly Hotel which Bobulinski claims Joe Biden attended and spoke with the business parters.

In the hotel, before Joe Biden arrived, Bobulinski told the committee, Hunter and uncle James Biden started “coaching” him about the upcoming meeting, which he said was “slightly odd.”

“And they sort of coached me to say, ‘We're not going to go into a lot of detail. We'll go into your background. My dad will talk about what he sort of chooses to talk about.’ And I sort of just made that note,” Bobulinski said.

Bobulinski told investigators that the meeting had a certain “gravitas” because Joe Biden took “time out of his day after he flew across the country to meet with me in a cleared-out bar.”

“And the only reason why he was meeting there, the only reason why I was there was because I was the CEO of SinoHawk, I was putting together this business, and I was a partner of the Biden family's in this operating business," he continued. "There was no other reason for me to be, first, in that bar and meeting with him or him meeting with me."

After Hunter Biden had finished speaking with his father privately, Bobulinski said, the pair joined him and James Biden at the table. The meeting between the three Bidens and Bobulinski lasted 45 minutes to an hour, Bobulinski said.

“So then they came into the bar. I stood up," he testified. "Obviously, you know, we shook some hands. And I think Hunter made a comment of something like, you know, "Dad, this is Tony who I've told you about," and the stuff we're working on with the Chinese. I don't – it was years ago. I don't remember the exact term, but he sort of set the stage for the meeting."

In his testimony earlier this week, Hunter Biden confirmed that this meeting took place, although he could not recall many of the specifics that were discussed.

When Joe Biden arrived, Hunter said, he and James Biden “were in the lobby bar with Mr. Bobulinski having coffee.”

“[Anyway], my dad went and shook hands with Tony,” Hunter Biden said. “They talked about – I believe at that time, I don't know whether it was Tony's father was suffering from cancer, and his sister was suffering from cancer, and he invited him to the speech at the Milken Conference.”

The investigators asked.“OK, do you remember anything else from that conversation that Mr. Bobulinski had with your dad?”

“No,” Biden said.

Yet, despite this, James Biden testified that Bobulinski never met Joe Biden in his presence.

“Joe Biden never met with Tony Bobulinski … to my knowledge,” James Biden told investigators.

The president’s brother also addressed the circumstances surrounding two alleged loans from Joe Biden that the committee argues he repaid with funds coming from his business ventures: one for $200,000 and another for $40,000.

He repaid the first long from funds that came from the distressed rural hospital operator, Americore. James Biden purportedly served in a consulting role with the company.

The Oversight Committee first identified Americore as the source of a series of loans to James Biden, some of which, the committee argues, were used to send a payment to brother Joe Biden.

In total, the committee found $600,000 in loans to the younger Biden from the healthcare company.

“So the Americore money was used to, in your words, pay back Joe Biden. Is that what you're testifying to?” investigators asked of the money James Biden received from the company.

“Yes,” he said.

The committee alleges James Biden repaid the second loan from a cut of funds he received from the Biden family business venture with CEFC China Energy, the firm headed by Chairman Ye Jianming.

In August 2017, Northern International Capital, a company affiliated with CEFC China Energy, wired $5 million to a company owned by Hunter Biden, according to the committee, which he distributed to his partners, including James Biden.

From there, the $40,000 loan repayment made its way through James Biden’s business, a personal account, and finally ended up as a check from his wife, Sara Biden, to his bother, Joe Biden, according to bank records obtained by the committee.