He ‘closed the deal': Biden role in son’s deals with foreign clients exposed in testimony

"Joe the Closer?" Oversight Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Friday that President Joe Biden played a specific role in his son’s business dealings.
Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Washington, D.C., April 10, 2023

Witness testimony from the ongoing impeachment inquiry has indicated there is a key role in Biden family business dealings that Joe Biden played: showing that his son had access to him to close deals with characters from unfriendly countries.

The latest in a string of interview transcripts released by the House Oversight Committee, bolsters this claim from Republicans. Jason Galanis—a former business partner of Hunter Biden—testified to Joe Biden’s special role in their deals, which he described as the “Biden Lift.” Galanis, along with another impeachment witness, Tony Bobulinski, claims the Biden name and the perception of influence were key for Hunter Biden to secure deals.

“I would say his role…was the person who closed the deal, Hunter and Jim would initiate the deal. They would make their pitch, their business model was to be able to what I call influence peddle, but what they were doing is selling access to Joe Biden. And then Joe Biden would get on the phone or have lunch with them or do something and make it known in a plausible deniability kind of way that, that he was involved,” Oversight Chairman James Comer said on the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show on Friday.

“But wink wink he really wasn't involved. And at the end of the day, the Biden family got tens of millions of dollars from our enemies around the world. And everyone should be ashamed that our President of the United States has sold access to our two biggest enemies, China and Russia, among other adversarial nations around the world for over a decade,” Comer added.

Indeed, Galanis’ testimony provides the latest example in a string of accounts that show major payments to or agreements with Hunter Biden came in close proximity to a contact with his father, whether in person or over the phone.

Neither Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell nor the White House responded to requests for comment from Just the News.

President Biden has long denied any involvement in his son’s foreign business dealings, repeatedly and publicly. "I never talked business with anybody,” Biden told Fox News reporter Peter Doocy last August. “I knew you would have a lousy question,” he added. The Washington Post published a clip reel of Biden making similar claims over and over. Yet, Galanis’ testimony is just the latest in a string of witnesses who have testified to just the opposite.

Galanis described vividly one instance to congressional investigators: a phone call from Joe Biden to an assembled meeting of business partners and Russia oligarchs. He reported the call took place at a May 4, 2014, restaurant meeting in Brooklyn, New York.

“I was present when Hunter called his father on a cell phone and put the call on speaker. Present for the call were Yelena Baturina, an investor in Rosemont projects; her husband Yuri, the former mayor of Moscow; and Devon Archer,” Galanis said.

“During the May 4th party, we were told to go to an area of the restaurant to gather because Hunter was going to call his father,” he added. “Hunter called his father, said, ‘Hello,’ and ‘Hold on, Pops,’ then put the call on speaker phone and said, 'I'm here with our friends I told you were coming to town, and we wanted to say hello.'”

Galanis said the then-vice president delivered pleasantries to the assembled group, but when he was ready to end the call, he delivered a message directly to his son’s partners.

“Okay, you be good to my boy,” Joe Biden reportedly said.

“Everything is good, and we're moving ahead,” Hunter responded, according to Galanis’ recollection.

“I recall being stunned by this call, to actually hear the Vice President’s voice on the phone. It was clear to me that this was a prearranged call with his father meant to impress the Russian investors that Hunter had access to his father and all the power and prestige of that position,” Galanis recounted of his experience.

Only a few days after this spring 2014 gathering, business partner Devon Archer confirmed that Yelena Baturina was committed to a “hard order of 10 to $20 million in a Burnham investment banking client,” Galanis told investigators.

Baturina, the widow of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov who died in 2019, also attended an April 2014 dinner hosted by Hunter Biden at the posh Cafe Milano in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., according to testimony from Devon Archer. Mere weeks before, Baturina had deposited $3.5 million into a bank account associated with a Hunter Biden-connected business for the purpose of investing in a real estate deal in New York City. Archer told the committee Joe Biden attended the meeting.

Burnham was a firm acquired by the trio of business partners to serve as the “focal point” of marrying the Biden family name and a financial company with international influence, Galanis told the committee. Hunter Biden would use Burnham to enter into agreements with Chinese businessman Henry Zhao and to seek investments from wealthy oligarchs from Russia and Kazakhstan.

A similar role for Joe Biden—his presence for a meeting or a phone call before a deal is closed—can be found in other projects pursued by Hunter Biden both during and after his father’s vice presidency.

Kazakhstani oligarch Kenes Rakishev—being pursued by the Burnham partnership for investments—also attended the same dinner with Baturina and Joe Biden . Shortly after the gathering, Rakishev wired a Hunter Biden-connected entity $142,300 on April 21, 2014. The following day, the same amount was wired to a New Jersey car dealership to pay for a Porsche sports car for Hunter Biden, according to a report by the Oversight Committee.

A similar pattern is found in an earlier venture with a Chinese businessman, Jonathan Li, who joined with Hunter Biden and his associates in forming BHR Partners, a private equity firm that was backed by several Chinese state owned enterprises, including the Bank of China.

In December 2013, Hunter Biden flew to Beijing aboard Air Force Two with his father on an official government trip. During the trip to China, Hunter Biden arranged a meeting between Joe Biden and Jonathan Li in the lobby of their hotel. “How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” Hunter Biden told The New Yorker magazine. Twelve days after the visit, BHR Partners was officially registered in China.

According to recent testimony by Hunter Biden business partner Rob Walker, in early 2017, Hunter Biden and his business associates met with a CEFC China Energy delegation, including its Chairman Ye Jianming, at a lunch in Washington, D.C. At the time, Hunter Biden was courting the company to develop a joint venture to invest in energy assets, specifically in the United States. CEFC had been on a buying spree of energy assets in Europe.

A private citizen at the time, Joe Biden joined his son and the delegation of CEFC officials at the lunch and even spoke to the assembled group. Shortly after that lunch where Ye Jianming met the former vice president, a CEFC affiliate wired $3 million to Walker’s company, Robinson Walker LLC, the first transfer in the deal between the Chinese energy company and Hunter Biden’s group, Walker told the Oversight Committee. According to NBC News, "In 2018, Chinese prosecutors accused Ye Jianming of “economic crimes,” including alleged fraud and bribery, and detained him for questioning. He hasn’t been seen in public since."

One aspect of this pattern which has raised alarms in Congress is the countries from which Hunter Biden’s myriad partners hailed. Among them, Russia and China have raised the most concerns.

Rep. Scott Perry, R., Pa., who sits on the Oversight Committee, believes access to Joe Biden was the business model based on sworn testimony his committee has received and highlighted the security implications of Hunter Biden’s business relationships on the "John Solomon Reports" podcast Monday.

"Hunter Biden had no ability or authority, he had no way of making anything go away," said Perry. "He's not elected to anything. He's not appointed to anything. In a position of authority. The only way that that could be done was by having his father or somebody he knew, based on his last name and access, do it,” Perry continued, responding to reporting from Just the News that Galanis testified Hunter Biden solicited $5 million from a Ukrainian oligarch in an effort to quash a U.S. indictment against him.

“The Navy and the U.S. government and our Armed Forces compromised itself and every other member of of the Navy that was serving of the armed forces that was serving honorably compromised all of them for the sake of Hunter Biden, the Biden family and what they were seeking to do, which was clean up their corrupt sons, you know, image, and they were using the United States Armed Forces and the goodwill that that has garnered over years and years of sacrifice and service to do it,” Perry said.

“It is it is the height of immorality and disrespect for the uniformed services,” he added.