Effort to squash Biden family stories long predated Hunter laptop, newly released emails reveal

Aide to VP Biden in 2015 bragged she got reporter to admit she would "only use" negative information on Hunter Biden "if her editors hold a gun to her head."

Published: March 23, 2023 11:14pm

Updated: March 24, 2023 12:30pm

Records newly released by the National Archives show efforts to suppress negative stories about the Biden family's business deals long predate the Hunter Biden laptop controversy, dating back to 2015 when an aide to then-Vice President Joe Biden boasted she got a reporter to "only use" negative information "if her editors hold a gun to her head."

The emails come from the Obama administration archives and were forced into the public through litigation by the America First Legal nonprofit public interest law firm. They chronicle efforts by Biden's then-aides in the vice president's office to suppress stories about Huter Biden's relationship with the Ukraine energy compamy Burisma Holdings during a Biden trip to Ukraine in December 2015.

Stephen Miller, the president of America First Legal, said the records suggest the news media has been complicit in burying negative news about the Biden family for at least a decade.

"Joe Biden and the Biden vice presidency were intimately involved in the Hunter Biden Burisma affair," Miller said on the Thursday edition of the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show. "They were intimately aware of it. They were intimately aware of the ethical objections, and they were intimately involved in trying to spin and control the press about it."

You can read the full set of released documents here:


The records obtained by Miller's group reveal that Joe Biden personally approved quotes in December 2015 to address his son's overseas business dealings even though the president has claimed he had no knowledge about what his son did.

"VP signed off on this — will give this quote to both reporters in my name shortly," then- vice presidential press official Kate Bedingfield wrote in one of the emails. 

That email corroborates an audio tape released last year that captured Joe Biden calling his son to reassure him the White House had managed to quiet the story about the foreign business deals.

The emails cover a frantic month in December 2015 as reporters began asking questions about Hunter Biden's business relationship with Burisma just as Joe Biden was heading to Ukraine for a key U.S. policy meeting. The emails show the White House was using a strategy designed to stop some reporters from publishing by offering them quotes that downplayed the questions.

"Really frustrating," Bedingfeld wrote as she approved some statements to be released to the inquiriung press. "That said, so long as it doesn't elevate and trigger someone else to write, it's actually a good and straightforward response."

One of those media outlets, The Wall Street Journal, wrote about Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company deemed corrupt by the U.S. State Department, while his father was vice president and was overseeing U.S. policy to combat corruption in the country.

The reporter asked if Hunter Biden holding this position was contradictory to Joe Biden's anti-corruption messaging.

This resulted in Hunter Biden's business partner Eric Schwerin giving the White House quotes from both Hunter Biden and former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who was on Burisma's board with him. 

"Hunter Biden joined the Board to strengthen corporate governance and transparency at a company working to advance energy security for Ukraine," a spokesperson for Hunter said in a quote. "These are also goals of the United States. Far from being out of sync with the policies of the United States, the Board is working to bring this privately held energy company into the kind of future that is critical for a free and strong Ukraine. These are goals that attracted not just Hunter to the effort, but respected American and European political and business leaders."

The vice president's press office was notified via email when the story ran. Bedingfield responded negatively with "ugh" in an email. Her tone changed after Schwerin responded, "All good here."

In another exchange, Schwerin asked Bedingfield to urge Bloomberg reporter Margaret Talev not to run a negative story on Hunter Biden with details that included his dismissal from the Navy for cocaine use.

The New York Times had previously run a story headlined "Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch," and the Vice President's press office wasn't too thrilled about it. Schwerin asked Bedingfield if there were any follow-ups from other outlets regarding the story. 

"You mean from other outlets?" Bedingfield answered in an email. "None yet. But VP just finished an interview with the Bloomberg reporter traveling with us and she asked about it, though she assures me she's doing everything she can to not use it. I will have a transcript soon but my quick notes on his answer are: No one has any doubt about my record on corruption, I don't talk to my son about his business and my children don't talk to me about mine. I have complete faith in my son."

Schwerin responded: "I would just urge her (as I know you are doing) that there is no new news there. And even if she uses it — she should avoid getting into past stories (Navy, etc.) that have nothing to do with this."

Bedingfield assured Schwerin that she had been in touch with the Bloomberg reporter who was doing "everything she could" not to include the information about Hunter and his Ukraine connections.

"Absolutely — we have had two conversations about it — she will only use if her editors hold a gun to hear head," Bedingfield wrote. "She absolutely will not do the second thing."

Stephen Miller slammed the National Archives for its long concealment of these records from public view. 

"What we are now all learning is that the National Archives has a deep state that is radically committed to stopping the public from accessing these documents, and also clearly is radically committed to attacking anything or anybody that they believe is contrary to their agenda," Miller told Just the News. 

Bedingfield, Talev, Schwerin and the White House could not immediately be reached for comment. 

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News