Dozen key revelations from newly released memos in the Hunter Biden criminal probe
The Committee on Wednesday voted to release 700 pages of materials related to potential influence peddling that the panel received from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. Many of the documents appear to support critics who assert that the Biden DOJ covered for him, and his son.
The House Ways and Means Committee released documents Wednesday that Chairman Jason Smith, (R-Mo.), says reveals a deepening pattern of influence peddling by the Biden family and also underscores career Department of Justice officials' efforts to obstruct the investigation into Hunter Biden.
The Committee voted to release 700 pages of materials from the federal investigation into the Biden family that were provided by IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. In prepared remarks, Smith said that Hunter Biden and his family operated a "complex and lucrative enterprise" to "enrich themselves to the tune of at least $20 million."
"It is clear that then Vice President Joe Biden’s political power and influence was, quote, the brand that Hunter Biden was selling all over the world," he added.
Here are a dozen key revelations from the documents released by the committee:
Hunter Biden believed his Chinese energy partner was tied directly to the Communist nation's president.
In an interview with investigators, James Biden—the younger brother of President Biden—said that Hunter Biden "portrayed CEFC to him as Chairman Ye was a protégé of President Xi," according to the memorandum of his interview.
James Biden suggested in text messages it was normal for Joe Biden to be involved in his son's business.
In an affidavit to the committee, Ziegler suggested agents believed there was evidence in a series of WhatsApp encrypted text messages that Joe Biden was involved in the CEFC business deal and others before it, but the FBI's interview with James Biden was constructed to avoid asking those questions.
To back up the claim, Ziegler attached a summary of one text messages between James Biden and Hunter Biden from 2018. "This can work, you need a safe harbor. I can work with you father alone !! We as usual just need several months of his help for this to work. Let’s talk about it. It makes perfect sense to me. This is difficult to fully vet without talking," the uncle wrote Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden believed he could make make $30 million over three years from one China deal alone
Hunter Biden was set to make $10 million a year "for consulting fees and based on introductions alone" from CEFC over 3 years for a total of $30 million, he wrote in an email. He then explained that Chairman Ye Jianming of CEFC changed the deal to a "MUCH MORE LASTING AND LUCRATIVE," a company split 50%-50% between him and Hunter Biden. This proposal by the Chairman was "so much more interesting to me and my family," the younger Biden wrote.
Agents believed Hunter Biden claimed payments were "loans" in a tax evasion scheme
Hunter Biden tried to claim that payments made to him through Hudson West III (HWIII)—the vehicle used to bring in money from Chairman Ye Jianming of CEFC—were loans to him. His accountant later discovered upon investigation that the payments to him, in the form of a $500,000 retainer fee and additional compensation of $100,000, were instead classified as income on the HWIII tax returns.
Law enforcement explored FARA violations
One document confirmed rumors that at one point the FBI and IRS investigated Hunter Biden for possible violations of the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), a federal law requiring disclosure of any lobbying activities on behalf of foreign powers. "Please focus on FARA evidence only," Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf emailed agents in August 2020 concerning a possible search warrant application.
U.S. Attorney David Weiss' team lauded the now-whistleblowing IRS agents
U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss and Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf repeatedly praised the work of the IRS investigative team. “We’ve been able to accomplish so much only because of our efforts as a group (with extra credit to Joe Z [the IRS whistleblower], of course),” AUSA Wolf wrote to the team in December of 2021. “I am always appreciative and mindful of the extraordinary effort the team, and specifically SA Ziegler, have put into the case,” Weiss wrote to Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf ordered a reference to Joe Biden dropped from a warrant
AUSA Wolf ordered the investigative team to remove a reference to Political Figure 1 from a search warrant. Political Figure 1 was identified in the warrant as then-Vice President Joe Biden. “I have included this email I received as a ‘one off example’ of the constant concern with including anything related to former Vice-President Joe Biden,” Ziegler wrote the committee in Affidavit 2, which he provided to investigators.
IRS agents disagreed with Wolf over handling of search warrants
Joseph Ziegler gave the committee a memo of a phone call with AUSA Lesley Wolf where he expressed frustrations over her office's decisions that tipped off the Bidens to a search warrant for Hunter Biden’s storage unit before it could be executed. AUSA Wolf said that her office and DOJ-Tax management agreed that reaching out to Hunter Biden’s lawyers in order for them to voluntarily provide the materials would be the best course of action. Ziegler believed this was the wrong course of action because it allowed the subject of the investigation to "decide" what to turn over to investigators.
Wolf dismissed prospect of foreign accounts
When IRS investigator Ziegler told AUSA Wolf that he was interested in the potential for foreign accounts, Wolf dismissed his concern, saying “there is no indication what‐so‐ever that the Subject has foreign accounts,” according to his notes and that they could rely on Hunter Biden’s lawyers to turn over foreign account information.
Wolf insisted on DOJ approving key interviews
AUSA Wolf told Ziegler that interviews with certain individuals required pre-approval from DOJ-Tax Division Management—senior officials at the department—four days before Ziegler was set to conduct the scheduled interview. He was upset with this because he “planned stuff like this weeks in advance to prevent this from happening,” as he wrote in an email. “I had brought up these interviews on multiple occasions dating back to August 18th, and now we are being prevented from doing it 4 days before,” Ziegler wrote. “I don’t understand why DOJ-Tax Senior Management is needing to approve [redacted] and/ or witness interviews,” Ziegler wrote.
Burisma executives saw 'political weight' in employing Hunter
In an email to Devon Archer, Vadim Pozharksyi—a Burisma executive—writes that “As to the HB [Hunter Biden] I do believe that we have to reach a reasonable balance here. I realize fully that his role… is of long term perspective and taking into account the political weight of our Directors we have to ‘use’ their personality carefully.” Pozharskyi also told Archer that they would put Hunter Biden on the Burisma website, “now or after his father has left our country.” He reminded Archer, “in some sense, we cannot ‘hide’ our directors.”
Blue Star Strategies advised on Zlochevsky investigation
In a strategy document provided to Burisma, government relations strategy from Blue Star Strategies—a firm that Hunter Biden helped Burisma hire to manage crisis communications—confirms that the case against Mykola Zlochevsky and Burisma was "ongoing" in October of 2015. Another document also confirms Just the News previous reporting from the Hunter Biden emails that Blue Star’s work for Burisma was for the “ultimate purpose to close down for [sic] any cases/pursuits against Nikolay [Mykola Zlochevsky] in Ukraine."
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- his prepared remarks
- the memorandum of his interview
- wrote in an email
- tried to claim
- wrote to the team in December of 2021
- wrote to Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley
- ordered the investigative team to remove
- identified in the warrant
- Ziegler wrote the committee in Affidavit 2
- a memo of a phone call
- the potential for foreign accounts
- he wrote in an email
- an email to Devon Archer
- previous reporting