Eric Schwerin, Hunter Biden subpoenas may be key to showing Joe Biden's business benefits while VP
New witnesses subpoenaed by House Republicans are poised to answer open questions in the Biden impeachment inquiry, especially about how Joe Biden personally benefitted from his family's business.
As House Republicans advance to the next stage of the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, there are still open questions.
Last week, Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., of the House Oversight Committee released a flurry of new subpoenas and interview requests to witnesses in the nearly year-long investigation into the Biden family's pattern of possible tax evasion and violation of rules regarding foreign agents, referred to as FARA.
These newly subpoenaed witnesses, which include Rob Walker, Eric Schwerin and Hunter Biden himself, may possibly answer the questions that still remain about what House Republicans allege is a Biden family influence peddling scheme around which their impeachment inquiry is built.
Chairman Comer and Chairman Jim Jordan, R.-Ohio, of the Judiciary Committee notified Hunter Biden’s lawyer in a letter about the subpoena, explaining that Hunter Biden likely has information that is relevant to the impeachment inquiry. “In particular, your client has personal knowledge of whether and how President Biden has been involved in his family’s business dealings,” the chairmen wrote.
The chairmen also wrote that the younger Biden could provide information on whether President Biden took any official acts or effected policy because of benefits provided to him, provided access in exchange for benefits, or participated in his family’s enrichment scheme using access as currency.
Former Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah — who led House investigations into the Obama administration— said that there are many important questions for Hunter Biden to answer, but that if he could, he would ensure that Hunter Biden was interviewed at the latest stages of inquiry.
“I would want to interview Hunter Biden last,” Chaffetz told Just the News on Monday. “Others can provide relevant information and documentation that you’d want to press Hunter Biden on under oath,” he continued.
House Republicans previously secured testimony from Devon Archer, a former business partner and friend of Hunter Biden who was at the center of Rosemont Seneca’s operations and served alongside the younger Biden on the board of Burisma.
In the latest round, the committee subpoenaed both Rob Walker and Eric Schwerin as well as the first son. Walker and Schwerin are former business partners who worked with Hunter Biden during some of the key years under investigation by the House.
After securing testimony from the other witnesses, former Rep. Chaffetz said that he would ask Hunter Biden specific questions about what the material the committee has uncovered so far. For example, why did Hunter Biden use 20 different shell organizations to move payments he received from foreign sources?
Chaffetz also believes that the influence peddling scheme is bigger than just Joe Biden. “I think he needs to answer for the interaction with the Vice President’s staff and how doors were opened for Rosemont Seneca and others,” Chaffetz said. “Who was he talking to in the Vice President’s office?”
Here are some of the key questions that remain about Hunter Biden’s business model and payments to the Biden family that Hunter Biden and Eric Schwerin will be asked to answer:
For Hunter Biden: What loans did your father give to family members? Did you, or any other family member, give loans to him?
Last month, the House Oversight Committee uncovered bank records that showed a $200,000 payment from James Biden to his brother, Joe Biden. The check was labeled as a “loan repayment” and was uncovered after the committee subpoenaed Hunter and James Biden’s bank accounts.
Before James Biden sent the payment to his brother, he had received $600,000 in loans from a failing hospital operator Americore, which later declared bankruptcy. According to bankruptcy court documents, James Biden was given loans “based upon representations that his last name, ‘Biden,’ could ‘open doors’ and that he could obtain a large investment from the Middle East based on his political connections.”
The $200,000 loan was sent to James Biden’s personal bank account, from which he forwarded the payment of the same amount to his brother the following day.
Weeks later, the committee released another transfer labeled “loan repayment” from his brother for $40,000. The committee traced the payment from a group affiliated with CEFC China Energy.
So far, the committee has not yet released evidence to show whether Joe Biden lent money to his brother in the first place or if he was repaid for any other loans.
Given this pattern, investigators are sure to ask if Joe Biden provided any other loans to his family, especially to his son, Hunter. Additionally, investigators will likely try to determine if any family members returned the favor and loaned money to Joe Biden. Evidence from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop suggests that this might be the case.
For Hunter Biden: Did you pay any of his father’s expenses while he was vice president or immediately after he left office?
One of the main focuses of the House Republican impeachment inquiry is whether or not Joe Biden benefited personally from any Biden family business deals. Given Hunter Biden’s central position in the Biden family businesses, he is well positioned to answer the question.
Evidence from his abandoned laptop show that, in fact, Hunter Biden likely paid some of his father’s expenses while Joe Biden was vice president. For example, in one email with the subject “JRB Bills” to Hunter Biden, Eric Schwerin — Hunter Biden's partner in Rosemont Seneca — told the younger Biden about some outstanding bills, which included invoices from a contractor who worked on Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware lakefront home. “$1475 to Ronald Peacock for back wall and columns at the Lake house…$2600 to Earle Downing for a stone retaining wall at the Lake,” the email reads.
The letter “JRB” are most likely the initials of Joseph Robinette Biden and have appeared in a known alias email of the then-vice president.
You can read the email here:
In another email, Hunter Biden and Eric Schwerin discussed Joe Biden’s tax returns after his first year as the vice president, and specifically diverted his refund to Hunter Biden because he owed money to his son.
“I am depositing it in his account and writing a check in that amount back to you since he owes it to you," Schwerin wrote to Hunter Biden in June 2010. "Don't think I need to run it by him, but if you want to go ahead."
You can read the email here:
For Eric Schwerin: Did you facilitate any payments from Hunter Biden to his father while he was vice president?
Eric Schwerin was subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee among the others. Another business partner who was also subpoenaed, Rob Walker, told the FBI that he understood Schwerin was the one who “kept him [Hunter Biden] organized,” according to an interview Rob Walker gave to investigators in the Hunter Biden tax probe.
In addition to keeping track of the bills that Hunter Biden seemed to be paying for his father, Schwerin also fielded at least one call from Joe Biden discussing the vice president’s mortgage.
In an email titled “JRB Future Memo,” Schwerin wrote to Hunter Biden explaining that a draft about Joe Biden’s future had been written by someone named “Mike” and wanted to know if Joe Biden had time to talk about it. Joe Biden had just called Schwerin about his mortgage, and Schwerin thought it was a good time to discuss “future earnings."
“Your Dad just called me (about his mortgage) and mentioned he'd be out a lot soon and not really back until Labor Day so it dawned on me it might be a good time (also he could use some positive news about his future earnings potential!),” the email reads.
You can read that email here:
The question remains: why was Eric Schwerin — a business partner of Hunter Biden — facilitating communications about Joe Biden’s mortgage while he was vice president?
For Eric Schwerin: Did you ever discuss Hunter Biden’s business dealings with anyone at the White House or the Naval Observatory during your 36 separate visits?
Eric Schwerin, who worked closely with Hunter Biden at Rosemont Seneca and apparently helped Hunter Biden pay some of his father’s bills is also documented as repeatedly visiting the White House and the vice presidential residence at least 36 times during Joe Biden’s tenure from 2009 to 2017.
Schwerin served as the managing director of Rosemont Seneca Partners, the home base that Hunter Biden used to ink deals with Chinese communist party state-owned corporations and where he worked alongside Devon Archer while they both held board positions at Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
White House visitor logs revealed that Schwerin visited the White House or the vice president’s Naval Observatory residence at least 36 times during Joe Biden’s time as Vice President. In one instance, Schwerin was a guest at a holiday reception on Dec. 12, 2015 immediately after Vice President Biden’s infamous trip to Ukraine where he threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee if Ukrainian Prosecutor Viktor Shokin was not fired. Shokin was investigating Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board.
This summer, America First Legal uncovered over 1,000 emails between Rosemont Seneca and Biden’s Office of the Vice President in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the National Archives. The communications show that Hunter Biden and Schwerin’s company had a profound level of access to the vice president’s staff at the time that Schwerin recorded his visits. America First Legal is a 501(c)3 dedicated to investigating the Biden administration and is led by "senior members of the Trump Administration who were at the forefront of the America First movement."
Given the high levels of access to the vice president’s office that Rosemont Seneca and Schwerin too advantage of, congressional investigators likely want to know if Schwerin discussed with Joe Biden any of the many business ventures that he was privy to at Rosemont Seneca. Earlier this year, Chairman Comer reported that Schwerin was cooperating with the House investigation.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, sent an 12-page letter to newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., calling on him to put a stop to the Republican subpoena of his client. “We write today to urge you, Mr. Speaker, to use your newly minted leadership post responsibly and ask you to think twice before joining this spectacle,” Lowell wrote in his letter, according to USA TODAY. “Even in the era of ‘alternative facts,’ your colleagues’ manipulation and disregard for the truth is breathtaking.”
Lowell declined to respond to a request for comment from Just the News.
Despite Lowell’s public relations efforts to avoid the subpoenas, any witness’ appearance before the Oversight Committee is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, Hunter Biden’s attorneys can refuse to respond to the subpoena or refuse to show up to the hearing. This would force the committee to go to court to enforce its subpoena, Chaffetz told Just the News. “The only way to enforce it right now, is through the Department of Justice,” Chaffetz said.
If a witness refuses to respond to a congressional subpoena, they can be held in contempt of Congress. However, this measure may have no teeth under a Biden Department of Justice, which would be responsible for prosecuting anyone accused of this charge, according to the Congressional Research Service.
In 2012, then-Attorney General under President Obama Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress for his stonewalling legislators about the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal, but was never subjected to the potential enforcement process.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- the House Oversight Committee
- referred to as FARA
- Rob Walker
- Eric Schwerin
- showed a $200,000 payment from James Biden
- the committee subpoenaed Hunter and James Bidenâs bank accounts
- the bankruptcy court documents
- another transfer labeled âloan repaymentâ
- have appeared in a known alias email
- an interview Rob Walker gave to the FBI
- Schwerin visited the White House or the Vice Presidentâs Naval Observatory at least 36 times
- he threatened to withhold a $1 billion loan
- America First Legal uncovered over 1,000 emails
- America First Legal
- Comer reported that Schwerin was cooperating
- Lowell wrote in his letter, according to USA TODAY
- would be responsible for prosecuting
- Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress