Archer testified Hunter Biden a lobbyist who leveraged ‘very powerful name’ for foreign deals
Joe Biden helped son reinforce a “brand” that “people would be intimidated to mess with," former business partner says.
In his bombshell testimony, Devon Archer told Congress he considered former business partner Hunter Biden to be a “lobbyist” who leveraged a “very powerful name” to score millions in deals with foreign oligarchs and businesses, including a Ukrainian energy firm that was seeking protection from corruption probes and other legal woes, according to the official transcript released Thursday.
Archer said during the transcribed interview Monday with the House Oversight Committee that Joe Biden as vice president helped his son reinforce a family “brand” that brought value to foreign clients seeking influence in Washington. That value at times included the current president attending dinners or coming on the phone to make small talk with suitors from China, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
In the case of the Ukrainian-based Burisma Holdings – one of Hunter Biden’s most controversial clients – the Biden brand brought a sense of protection from legal threats and investigations that the energy company was facing, Archer stated.
“How would that work?” committee member Rep. Dan Goldman, a New York Democrat, asked Archer at one point in the interrogation.
“Because people would be intimidated to mess with them,” Archer answered.
“In what way?,” Goldman inquired.
“Legally,” Archer explained.
You can read the full transcript here:
Archer said Hunter Biden started with Burisma in 2014 by doing legal work but quickly joined the board and began to offer “lobbying, you know, soft lobbying help” with contacts in Washington where his father presided as Barack Obama’s vice president.
“So why do you think they were asking Hunter Biden for D.C. help? I mean, why? I mean, what did you take away from that?” he was asked at one point.
Archer answered: “Well, I mean, he was a lobbyist and an expert and obviously he carried, you know, a very powerful name. So I think it was – that's what they were asking for.”
In Hunter Biden’s value proposition of the family brand, Archer said, his father was the “most value to the brand.”
The testimony provided Chairman James Comer’s team several new leads, including the identification of contemporaneous documents that Archer’s lawyers and a New York storage firm may possess.
But Archer’s claim that he considered Hunter Biden to be a lobbyist is certain to renew Republican concerns that the president’s son never registered as an agent for foreign interests and was never prosecuted by his father’s Justice Department for any violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
In the testimony, Archer said he was unaware of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden but acknowledged it was unusual how Hunter Biden would put his father – a sitting U.S. vice president – on the phone while he was overseas courting potential business partners. He estimated it happened about 20 times over an decade, including with one of Hunter Biden’s Chinese suitors.
“That is a little odd. I mean, it's not odd – I mean, it's quite obvious what we're talking around,” Archer said of the phone call routine.
“So what are we talking about?” he was asked in a follow-up.
“I think, at the end of the day, part of what was delivered is the brand. I mean, it's like anything, you know, if you're Jamie Dimon's son or any CEO. You know, I think that that's what we're talking about, is that there was brand being delivered along with other capabilities and reach. … I think 'brand' is the best way to describe it,” he answered.
Archer also confirmed Joe Biden attended two dinners at the ritzy Cafe Milano restaurant, in Washington DC: one in 2014 with Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina and some Kazahk businessmen and another the next year with a group that included Burisma executive Vadym Pozarsky.
The former partner also acknowledged Hunter Biden reaped significant financial benefit from his family name, recounting at one-point how a Kazakh businessman named Kene Rakishev wired $142,300 in April 2014 to a one of the companies in which Hunter Biden and Archer were involved after Joe Biden had dinner with them.
Shortly after the money came in, it went right out to buy an expensive car for the first son.
“I believe it was a Fisker first, and then a Porsche. But it was for an expensive car,” Archer conceded.