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Bobulinski testified Biden was involved in son’s business, shielded by ‘plausible deniability’

A key figure in Hunter Biden's early relationship with CEFC China Energy, Bobulinski claims he met with Joe Biden and discussed business, contradicting the Bidens' longstanding assertions.

Published: February 16, 2024 9:00am

Updated: February 16, 2024 1:08pm

Former Hunter Biden business associate Tony Bobulinski has told Congress that President Joe Biden was the “brand” his family sold, made clear that while vice president he was involved directly in his family’s business affairs and that the Biden family relied on “plausible deniability” to insulate the family patriarch, according to the transcript of his testimony reviewed by Just the News and released Friday.

Bobulinski made the allegation in closed-door testimony before the GOP-led House Oversight Committee, which in looking into the Biden family's overseas business dealings, in particular those of first son Hunter Biden. 

Bobulinski worked with Hunter Biden and other partners to form a joint venture with CEFC China Energy in 2017, after the energy company had courted the younger Biden during his father’s vice presidency.

Though Hunter Biden would ultimately cut Bobulinski out of the deal by forming a separate joint venture, a much more lucrative arrangement with CEFC – the Biden family received more than $5 million – his early involvement in forming an investment company gave him a front row seat to the Biden family operations, which he shared extensively with the committee earlier this week.

“I want to be crystal‑clear: From my direct personal experience and what I've subsequently come to learn, it is clear to me that Joe Biden was the brand being sold by the Biden family,” Bobulinski told congressional investigators, drawing on his experience forming two companies with the Bidens to partner with CEFC.

Beyond saying Hunter Biden and James Biden, one of the president's brothers, used the family name as a business tool,  Bobulinski has gone further than many of of the other witnesses in the House's President Biden impeachment inquiry hearings in insisting Biden had knowledge, and even participated, in his family’s business dealings.

In his opening statement, Bobulinski told congressional investigators that he met multiple times with the then-former vice president in Los Angeles and discussed business on the sidelines of the Milken Institute Global Conference.

“I personally met with Joe Biden in Los Angeles in May of 2017 multiple times to discuss the broad contours of business dealings," he said. "The only reason why Joe Biden met with me privately during the Milken Institute Global Conference and seated me at his head table was because I was a business associate of the Biden family."

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.

“And then I saw Joe Biden – well, I saw the security detail first, but Joe Biden was – came across the lobby of the Beverly Hilton. And then Hunter says, ‘Hey, excuse me for a couple minutes, give me five to 10 minutes. I need to read my dad in on things’,” he continued.

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. There was no other reason for me to be, first, in that bar and meeting with him or him meeting with me,” he said.

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

“So then they came into the bar. I stood up. 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,” he testified.

Bobulinski first made waves in late October 2020 when he emerged ahead of the presidential election claiming that Joe Biden had knowledge of the Biden family’s plans to profit from the arrangements with the Chinese company and put forward evidence that Joe Biden was involved. The president has repeatedly denied any involvement in his son's business.

At the time, Bobulinski also publicly confirmed several emails first published by the New York Post showing Hunter Biden and his associates planned to reserve a portion of a planned joint venture for the benefit of the “big guy,” which Bobulinski said was a reference to Joe Biden. He told investigators this week that a reference to “the big guy” in an email among the business partners is “100 percent – Joe Biden.”

Bobulinski told the committee that he specifically approached James Biden while they were in Los Angeles because he developed concerns about the Biden family being in business with CEFC, giving its Chinese connections and Joe Biden’s political status.

“And I was asking him, ‘How are you doing it? It doesn't make any sense. Aren't you guys concerned that if Joe does run for president of the United States in the future that you guys are doing business directly with the Chinese?’,” Bobulinski said, recounting a meeting with James Biden.

“‘How are you guys doing this? It makes no sense to me. Why would you take this risk to yourself, to your family's brand that Hunter screams about, and all that stuff?’, he asked.

“And he looks at me and sort of chuckles and says, 'Plausible deniability’,” Bobulinski recounted, according to the transcript.

Hunter Biden reaped significant financial rewards from his dealings with CEFC after he cut Bobulinski out of the deal when his family formed a joint venture directly with CEFC – known as Hudson West III.

However, Bobulinski was a first-hand witness to CEFC’s attempts to offer the Biden family a $5 million “interest-free” loan.

In one July 2017 email sent to Bobulinski, CEFC representative Zhao Runlong said “5 million is lent to BD family in the 10 million charter capital.”

Hunter Biden would later receive a $5 million loan directly to Hudson West III in August 2017, Just the News previously reported based on documents released by the Oversight committee.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight committee, released a statement following Bobulinski’s testimony, saying the witness “did not provide any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, nor did he provide any evidence at all that President Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings.”

Raskin also accused Bobulinksi of being a "political pawn" of leading 2024 GOP president candidate and former President Donald Trump, who lost to Joe Biden and 2020 and is expected to face him in a rematch this year. 

Biden has long denied any involvement or knowledge of his son’s business dealings.

Bobulinski’s lawyer pushed back on Raskin's statements and expressing frustration over what he called the congressman's “abusive conduct” and “disingenuous mischaracterizations” of his client during the hours-long interview.

According to the testimony transcript, New York Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman sparred with Bobulinski and appeared frustrated by his answers.

“I'm trying to give you guys all the facts – that this came –,” Bobulinski said, attempting to explain how he provided several text messages to the FBI about his business dealings with Hunter Biden and CEFC.

"We understand all the context,” Goldman interrupted.

“I don't think you do, Mr. Goldman,” Bobulinski said. “But they came in to take an image of my phone at –“

“I understand a lot better than you do. I can tell you that much," Goldman interrupted again.

James and Hunter Biden are scheduled to appear for transcribed interviews with the impeachment inquiry investigators in the coming weeks.

Information Bobulinski provided to the investigators is likely to be at the center of their questioning, especially Joe Biden’s alleged involvement in the 2017 business meeting in California.

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