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Impeachment inquiry zeroes in on origin of Hunter Biden's China deals while Joe Biden was VP

Witnesses, emails suggest funds paid to Hunter Biden in 2017 from CEFC China Energy was for work done much earlier.

Published: December 14, 2023 11:00pm

Updated: December 15, 2023 6:48am

Congress has assembled a growing body of evidence that Hunter Biden’s dealings with a Chinese energy company that landed the family millions of dollars in 2017 actually began in 2015 and may have involved a meeting with his father before he left office as vice president, according to documents reviewed by Just the News.

The new evidence includes statements made to the FBI by a longtime Biden family friend who was involved in the deal with CEFC China Energy executives like its Chairman Ye Jianming, contemporaneous emails from Hunter Biden and testimony recently released from two IRS whistleblowers.

Those whistleblowers alleged they were kept from investigating evidence that payments from China to the Biden family that began in March 2017 may actually have been deferred from work done while Joe Biden was still vice president.

“The significance of the March 2017 was that they withheld payment from that Chinese company until then-Vice President Biden was no longer in office,” whistleblower Gary Shapley told the House Ways and Means Committee in testimony released a few days ago.

The revelations are taking on greater significance in the House impeachment inquiry after the release of a report from money laundering investigators monitoring Hunter Biden’s bank accounts. The bank investigators warned that payments from the CEFC deal bore resemblance to Chinese influence operations, according to an email made public recently by Congress.

The head of the House impeachment inquiry said Thursday night that congressional investigators are probing whether the Chinese payments were delayed to the Biden family avoid legal, intelligence and political scrutiny about why. sitting vice president's family was getting money from sources inside a communist country.

"I mean, they knew you weren't supposed to be negotiating with the Chinese while you're sitting in the vice presidency. I mean, that's a given," House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show.

"Even the Bidens, even as arrogant and entitled as they are they knew they were doing a big no no negotiating with the Chinese, but that's what it appears they were doing. So, you know, they tried to always make sure that Joe had plausible deniability. That's a term that continues to come up, especially when Joe Biden's brother, Jim is talking plausible deniability, meaning that you really can't prove Joe knew anything about it. And that's their whole case here," Comer explained.

"With our investigation, yeah okay, the Biden family are bunch of crooks. But Joe didn't know anything about it. Of course, he did. Joe Biden was the brand. And this money didn't just mysteriously start appearing right after Joe Biden left office, there were deals that were made, while Joe Biden was vice president," he added. 

Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Just the News on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Hunter Biden held a news conference on Capitol Hill even as he defied a congressional subpoena, saying he wanted to ensure "illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence and lies" while issuing a narrow denial that his father "was not financially involved in my business."

The younger Biden also alluded in his statement to the apparent deal with Ye and CEFC, calling it a "partnership with a private Chinese businessman." His emails, however, show that partnership was regularly discussed as a deal with the CEFC company, the CEFC executives were involved in its crafting and that the payments flowed to Biden connected accounts from a Chinese company associated with CEFC.

Comer told Just the News on Thursday night he is prepared to enforce the subpoena and ask a court to compel Hunter Biden's testimony. "He just basically gives the U.S. Congress a middle finger and says that he's a Biden. The rules don't apply to him. He would love to answer their questions and then he gets in his car and drives off without answering any questions," Comer said.

"We we will hold him in contempt of Congress. This will not stand, and we expect to see Hunter Biden in here for a deposition with respect to the vote," he added, 

Just the News first reported on Hunter Biden’s dealings with CEFC and its chairman Ye Jianming three years ago. Those stories have since been corroborated by congressional inquiries, federal prosecutors and other major news media like The Washington Post.

James Biden, the president's brother and Hunter Biden's uncle and occasional business partner, told the FBI last year that the first family assisted CEFC with efforts to try to buy Western energy assets, including natural gas facilities in Louisiana, according to a copy of the interview made public by Congress. James Biden said the family under CEFC had connections directly to the communist leader of China, President Xi Jinping.

"James B noted (Hunter) portrayed CEFC to him as Chairman Ye was a protégé of President Xi," FBI agents wrote in the report.

The relationship between James Biden, Hunter Biden, Ye and other partners resulted in at least $9 million in payments to Biden-connected companies in 2017 alone after Joe Biden returned to private life. The payments included a $3 million “thank you” in March 2017, a $5 million loan in August 2017 and a $1 million legal retainer fee to Hunter Biden from CEFC official Patrick Ho after he was indicted on bribery charges, according to documents gathered by Congress and federal prosecutors.

Ho would later be sentenced to three years for international bribery and money laundering, according to the Department of Justice.

In recent weeks, congressional investigators have sharpened their focus on evidence indicating that Hunter Biden may have consummated the CEFC relationship much earlier than previously known, while his father was still Barack Obama’s vice president.

Of particular interest is an email from March 2016 in which Hunter Biden appeared to approve of an initial business agreement with CEFC. That email was found on Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop seized by the FBI in late 2019.

On March 22, 2016, Rob Walker—a Hunter Biden business partner who was involved with the CEFC business deals—wrote another partner, James Gilliar, and attached a document entitled “H to Zang.” “H” is often used by the business partners to refer to Hunter Biden and “Zang” is the name of Zang Jianjun, the executive director of CEFC China Energy, who worked directly for its Chairman, Ye Jianming.

Walker forwarded this email to Hunter Biden, asking him to review the attached document. “Take a look and let me know. Very simple. Once ok'd. I'll send to Joan to sign?” Walker asked.

“Yes,” Hunter Biden wrote back the same day.

Congress has the email but not the attached agreement, a document that could become more important to obtain as the impeachment inquiry heats up. Comer confirmed Thursday night his investigators intend to use subpoenas to get the attachment.

 

Congress also recently obtained two important documents from FBI files: A summary report and a transcript of an interview that agents conducted with Rob Walker on Dec. 8, 2020, one of the earliest events in the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden that resulted in two indictments on gun and tax evasion charges.

In that interview, Walker told agents he believed Joe Biden met with CEFC officials twice, once after he left the White House in 2017 and once while he was still vice president.

“Any times when he was in office or did you hear Hunter say that he was setting up a meeting with his dad with them (CEFC) while dad was still in office?” an FBI agent asked Walker.

“Yeah,” Walker responded. After this admission, the investigators inexplicably changed course and did not follow up on what Walker had just told them.

You can read Walker’s FBI interview transcript below:

 

Walker’s account matches statements another business partner in the CEFC business deal, Tony Bobulinski, gave the FBI indicating the CEFC business relationship was hatched in 2015-16 but the monies paid from China were delayed until 2017. Bobulinski said he learned of that timeline as a result of a spring 2017 meeting in Miami with key players in the deal.

“The work conducted by CEFC, GILLIAR, WALKER, HUNTER BIDEN, JAMES BIDEN and YE over the preceding two years was discussed in detail at the Miami meeting,” the FBI quoted Bobulinski as saying. “In particular, CEFC was closing significant investment deals in Poland, Kazakhstan, Romania, Oman, and the Middle East during this period of time. CEFC had used its relationship with HUNTER BIDEN and JAMES BIDEN – and the influence attached to the BIDEN name – to advance CEFC’s interests abroad."

“HUNTER BIDEN and JAMES BIDEN did not receive any monetary compensation for their assistance in these projects,” the FBI interview report added. “HUNTER BIDEN and JAMES BIDEN did not receive any compensation because JOSEPH BIDEN was still VPOTUS during this time period. There was a concern it would be improper for payments to be made to HUNTER BIDEN and JAMES BIDEN by CEFC due to its close affiliation with the Chinese government. HUNTER BIDEN and JAMES BIDEN both wanted to be compensated for the assistance they had provided to CEFC’s ventures; in particular, they believed CEFC owed them money for the benefits that accrued to CEFC through its use of the BIDEN family name to advance their business dealings.”

Just the News has learned that Bobulinski wasn’t at the Miami meeting but was told about the discussions from the participants, who were courting him to be the venture’s CEO.

In their most recent testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, Shapley and fellow IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler said they believed the timing of the millions of funds from a CEFC-affiliated company known as State Energy HK Limited was significant and potentially showed Joe Biden’s involvement. But the whistleblower added that the investigative team was prevented by federal prosecutors from following such leads.

“So the money that comes in from State Energy HK March of 2017, the timing of that is so significant, I think, looking back at everything that it makes sense that maybe there was some sort of agreement there that they weren’t going to pay it while -- pay that money while the former Vice President was in office,” Ziegler testified.

You can read the whistleblowers’ testimony below:

 

Text messages obtained by the FBI between Gilliar and Bobulinski show the two businessman began discussing a deal between CEFC and a prominent political family in late 2015.

On Dec. 24, 2015, Gilliar sent a text to Bobulinski explaining his plan for a deal that would bring together CEFC and the Biden family. “There will be a deal between one of the most prominent families from US and them constructed by me, I think this will then be a great addition to their portfolios as it will give them a profile base in NYC then la ect,” Gilliar wrote, according to the text obtained and authenticated by Just the News.

 

Bobulinski told the FBI in his interview for the Hunter Biden tax case that he later learned that the prominent American family was the family of Joe Biden and that Hunter Biden and his uncle, James Biden, would be “active participants” in the deal, according to the memo of the FBI interview.

Emails obtained from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop confirm the overtures from CEFC in fact began in the fall of 2015 and continued throughout 2016, during his father’s last year in office as Vice President.

The first overtures in October 2015 from CEFC came to Hunter Biden by way of Scott Oh, who sent him a proposal to introduce the younger Biden to the Chinese company. In the email, Oh describes the China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC) as “an impressive group of Chinese business leaders” who had close connections with Chinese President Xi Jinping worked to advance China’s “national industrial interests.” Hunter Biden’s secretary identified Oh as the father of a classmate of Hunter’s daughter Finnegan.

“CEFC China is very interested in exploring humanitarian initiatives of mutual interest to the World Food program USA and discussing investment opportunities with Burnham,” Oh wrote in the proposal to Hunter Biden. At the time, Hunter Biden served as the Chairman of the World Food Program USA’s board. Burnham is an asset management firm with which Hunter Biden inked a previous $5 million deal with the Chinese firm Harvest Global.

“Topics for discussion would include a donation to the WFP, establishment of a joint humanitarian fund, and extending invitations for the B's to speak in China, etc.,” Oh explained. In addition to donations and work with Hunter Biden’s philanthropic organization, CEFC also appeared interested in bringing members of the Biden family to speak to Chinese audiences.

Hunter Biden previously used WFP events to facilitate meetings between his father and his business partners, according to evidence gathered by Congress, from Hunter Biden’s laptop, and reported last year by Just the News. These included an April 2014 and an April 2015 meeting at the Washington, D.C. restaurant Cafe Milano, where Kazakhstani businessman Kenes Rakishev, Elena Baturina who is the widow of Russian oligarch, and a Burisma Holdings official all met with then-Vice President Biden.

According to another email from the laptop, Hunter Biden scheduled a meeting with Scott Oh and Chairman Ye Jianming of CEFC on December 7, 2015 to discuss Oh’s proposals.

Two months later, on Dec. 1, another Hunter Biden associate reached out to Eric Schwerin to pass a message to the younger Biden. Vuk Jeremic, the former Serbian foreign minister, President of the U.N. Assembly and acquaintance of Hunter Biden wanted to invite the Vice President’s son to a private dinner he was hosting in Washington, D.C. with Chairman Ye Jianming, the Chairman of CEFC. Jeremic also coincidentally served on the advisory board of CEFC, according to emails from the laptop.

“On Sunday, December 6th, I will have a private dinner in DC with an old friend from China - Ye Jiemaing [sic] - one of the 10 wealthiest Chinese businessmen,” Jeremic wrote.

“I would like to invite Hunter to join me at this private dinner (small dinner - this is not an event of any kind). I am confident that many interesting projects may come out of that in the future,” Jeremic continued, dangling the prospect of future business deals.

“It is interesting that you raised the CEFC Chairman. We actually were approached by an acquaintance of Hunter’s about setting up a meeting for Hunter with the same gentleman for next week as well,” Schwerin wrote back.

Hunter Biden was unable to attend Jeremic’s dinner, however, according to another email from the laptop, he scheduled a meeting with Scott Oh and Chairman Ye Jianming on December 7, 2015 to discuss Oh’s proposals.

 

Evidence from the laptop indicates that Hunter Biden began connected CEFC with business opportunities as early as February 2016, while his father was still vice president.

In February of 2016, Hunter Biden sent a note about a potential investment opportunity for CEFC to Rob Walker. “Hey- buddy- take a look at this and fed to James. We talked about presenting this as one investment opportunity for CEFC in U.S.,” Hunter Biden wrote. He attached a document entitled “Alevo Investor Presentation,” according to the email obtained from the laptop.

 

Later the same month, Hunter Biden was copied on an email from James Gilliar to a representative from Bernhard Capital outlining his plans to present a proposal to the CEFC board in Beijing for a potential deal involving Westinghouse.

“Good to see you a couple of weeks ago, further to our discussions we have prepared a deck for my visit to CEFC board on Monday in Beijing, It has been made clear to me that CEFC wish to engage in further business relations with our group and we will present a few projects to them,” Gilliar wrote.

“I attach the decks and a covering letter that lay out the principals as I see of a Westinghouse play, we have been a little presumptuous that you wish to be included, but we hope so ?,” he continued.

“P.S Im sure H can give you the heads up on the play if you need more details,” Gilliar concluded, showing Hunter Biden’s central role.

 

By July of 2016, Eric Schwerin sent Hunter Biden a draft document entitled “RSP-CEFC.” This document is not accessible on Hunter Biden’s laptop and is a potential avenue for the House’s impeachment probe into President Biden. Comer told the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show on Thursday that the text of this agreement is "absolutely" a piece of evidence that his committee plans to track down in the newly established impeachment inquiry. 

The Oversight Committee was scheduled to depose Hunter Biden this week, however, the first son refused to show up and delivered a statement where he asserted that “My father was not financially involved in my business.” Hunter Biden also announced that he would “make sure that the House committee's illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence and lies.”

House Republicans have indicated that they will move forward with contempt proceedings in order to acquire Hunter Biden’s testimony.

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