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Latest evidence in Hunter Biden probe turns attention to Joe Biden, informant claim of bribery

Subpoenaed memo records allegations from a confidential human source in mid-2020 about a foreign pay-to-play scheme when Joe Biden was Barack Obama's vice president, multiple officials said. They did not identify the informant.

Published: May 4, 2023 12:31am

Updated: May 4, 2023 11:36am

The hunt for answers in the long-running Hunter Biden investigation is returning to questions that prompted the scandal four years ago: did Joe Biden trade U.S. policy for money his family was receiving from overseas sources like Ukraine.

Prompted by a whistleblower, House and Senate Republican investigators on Wednesday issued a subpoena for an FBI memo they say documents allegations of a pay-to-play bribery scheme involving the current president and a foreign national.

The memo, known as an FD-1023, involves allegations the FBI recorded from a confidential human source in mid-2020, just months before Joe Biden won the presidency. It involves transactions and policy tied to Ukraine that date to when Biden was Barack Obama's vice president, multiple officials said. They did not identify the informant.

Senate Budget Committee ranking member and long-time whistleblower advocate Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) wrote in a letter to the FBI that they learned of the document from a whistleblower and have concerns the bureau did not fully investigate the allegations.

"The information provided by a whistleblower raises concerns that then-Vice President Biden allegedly engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national," Comer said in announcing a subpoena his committee issued. "The American people need to know if President Biden sold out the United States of America to make money for himself. Senator Grassley and I will seek the truth to ensure accountability for the American people." 

Congressional investigators "believe the FBI possesses an unclassified internal document that includes very serious and detailed allegations implicating the current President of the United States," Grassley said in a press release from House Oversight. "What we don't know is what, if anything, the FBI has done to verify these claims or investigate further. The FBI's recent history of botching politically charged investigations demands close congressional oversight." 

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), a prominent member of Comer's Oversight Committee, told Just the News the whistleblower's allegations are some of the most serious to emerge in the four-year Biden family saga and need to be verified.

"It doesn't get much more serious than that, that the top diplomat, the President of the United States, is doing the bidding of foreign countries or foreign entities on the backs of American policy and American taxpayers, and our sovereignty," he said.

Perry urged the Biden White House to pressure the FBI to release the document. "What I would hope to hear is, look they're going to cooperate fully," he said. "And they're going to urge the FBI to make sure that the documents are released to the House, because if you haven't done anything wrong, you certainly want that information to be out there to prove that you haven't done anything wrong.

"This is a very significant allegation the American people need to know. But what I suspect is that the FBI is going to stonewall and not want to provide this information." 

The emergence of the document and its allegations come at a sensitive time for the Biden White House, which is bracing for the possibility that Hunter Biden may soon face criminal tax charges related to his overseas business dealings. Hunter Biden also faces a demand from a judge in Arkansas to divulge new information about the source of his income and gifts in a paternity case.

Two Cabinet secretaries — Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken — also face questions about whether earlier assurances they gave Congress about issues related to the Hunter Biden investigation were accurate. Both men deny wrongdoing.

The Biden family has faced questions about alleged influence peddling since spring 2019, when it was revealed that as vice president Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine in 2015 to force the firing of Ukraine's chief prosecutor, who was investigating the Burisma Holdings energy company that employed Hunter Biden, paying the future presidential son hundreds of thousands of dollars as a board member.

Biden admits he forced the firing of the prosecutor, but has strongly denied it had anything to do with his son's business. He's insisted he simply carried out U.S. policy and that he did not have any dealings with Hunter Biden's company or his business partners. The allegations played a central part in the first impeachment and acquittal of Donald Trump.

Evidence began emerging in fall 2020 that called into question Joe Biden's narrative, but it was contained on an old Hunter Biden laptop that surfaced just before the 2020 election and for months was censored and falsely portrayed as Russian disinformation.

Officials eventually acknowledged the laptop was authentic and had been in the FBI's possession since 2019, and Hunter Biden disclosed he was under federal criminal investigation related to taxes. 

That investigation has lingered for years since. Some emails have since shown Joe Biden met with Hunter Biden business partners when he was vice president, undercutting one of the Biden family's claims.

And an April 2014 email first reported by Just the News in December 2020 shows Hunter Biden and a business partner sought to take credit with Burisma for comments Joe Biden made about Ukrainian natural gas in an official U.S. speech.

Hunter Biden suggested in the email that his father's comments about natural gas in the speech be sent to a top Burisma official because it "makes it look like we are adding value."

You can read that email here:

In an earlier email in April 2014, Hunter Biden even suggested his father's trip to Ukraine was part of the consulting work he was doing with Burisma. "The announcement of my guys upcoming travels should be characterized as part of our advice and thinking — but what he will say and do is out of our hands," the email stated. "In other words, it could be a really good thing or it could end up creating too great an expectation. We need to temper expectations regarding that visit."

You can read that email here:

The White House on Wednesday dismissed the announcement by Grassley and Comer as "anonymous innuendo."

"When it comes to President Biden's personal finance, anybody can take a look," spokesman Ian Sams said. "He has offered an unprecedented level of transparency."

Comer's subpoena demanding FBI Director Chris Wray turn over the document lawmakers seek by mid-May gives tantalizing hints about the memo: Its description as an FD-1023 reveals it included information from a confidential human source and it was "created or modified in June 2020."

Confidential human sources, or informants as they are better known, come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from foreign intelligence operatives like ex-MI-6 agent Christopher Steele, whose dossier played a major role in the Russia collusion probe of 2016-18, to researchers, academics, and on rare occasion even journalists.

Congressional officials did not provide any detail about the alleged informer or the whistleblower. But Comer and Grassley in their letter to Wray made clear they believe the document will divulge information about weakness in current public disclosure laws involving presidents and vice presidents that jeopardize national security.

"The Committee's independent and objective review of this matter will inform potential legislative solutions that the Committee is exploring," the lawmakers wrote. "Specifically, the Committee is considering legislation aimed at deficiencies in the current legal framework regarding disclosure of financial interests related to Vice Presidents and Presidents (and the family members thereof) — deficiencies that may place American national security at risk."

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