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Tony Bobulinski’s closed-door interview may answer key questions central to impeachment inquiry

A key figure in Hunter Biden's early relationship with CEFC China Energy, Bobulinski is set to appear before the House Oversight Committee at 10AM on Tuesday for an interview as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

Published: February 12, 2024 11:00pm

A former Hunter Biden business partner involved in early contacts with a Chinese energy conglomerate that paid the first son millions is set to appear in a closed-door deposition before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

Tony Bobulinski, who worked with the younger Biden to form an investment company with CEFC China Energy, is a key witness in the House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry because he had a front row seat to the Biden family’s plans for its partnership with the Chinese company. 

Though Hunter Biden would ultimately cut Bobulinski out of the deal and make a much more lucrative arrangement with CEFC—the Biden family received more than $5 million—his early involvement in forming an investment company with Hunter Biden and other partners sheds light on how the Bidens expected to benefit the family patriarch, Joe Biden.

On Monday, a memo circulated among the Democratic members of the Oversight Committee staff pushing back on the House Republicans’ impeachment efforts. It concludes that out of the seven transcribed interviews conducted by the committee, not one brought forward any evidence of President Biden’s involvement in his son’s business dealings.

“Each witness stated they were not aware of any evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden or of President Biden being involved in, profiting from, or taking official actions in relation to family members’ business ventures. Further, not one of these witnesses indicated they ever had any expectation of receiving or ever did receive any political favors from President Biden or his Administration,” the Democratic staff concluded in the memo, obtained by Punchbowl News.

Bobulinski insists that this conclusion is wrong. Bobulinski first made waves in late October 2020 when he emerged ahead of the presidential election claiming that Joe Biden had knowledge of the Biden family’s plans to profit from the arrangements with the Chinese company and put forward evidence that Joe Biden was involved. The president has denied any involvement in his son's business.

Bobulinski also publicly confirmed several emails first published by the New York Post showing Hunter Biden and his associates planned to reserve a portion of a planned joint venture for the benefit of the “big guy,” which Bobulinski said was a reference to Joe Biden.

“In dealings with the Chinese, I have heard Joe Biden say that he's never discussed business with Hunter. That is false," Bobulinski told reporters at a press conference shortly before the final 2020 presidential debate in October. “I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden,” he continued.

Here is what Bobulinski may tell the House Oversight Committee:

Joe Biden was familiar with his family’s plans and stood to profit from them

Following the release of the bombshell email by the Post showing a Hunter Biden and his business partners discussing the “remuneration packages” and equity split for those involved in the proposed deal with CEFC, Bobulinksi confirmed what the email appeared to show, that Joe Biden was an intended beneficiary of the arrangement.

“Chair / Vice Chair depending on the agreement with CEFC (Hunter) 850,” the email reads, detailing the first son’s proposed role and compensation.

“At the moment there s [sic] a provisional agreement that the equity will be distributed as follows,” partner James Gilliar wrote. In the following distribution, Biden family members controlled 40 percent of the venture: “20 H” for Hunter Biden, “10 Jim” for James Biden, and “10 held by H for the big guy ?”, which Bobulinski confirmed was a reference to Joe Biden.

Text messages that Bobulinski provided to the FBI show that the business partners around Hunter Biden insisted on keeping Joe Biden’s alleged involvement quiet and indicated that the the family was “paranoid” about it.

“Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid,” James Gilliar reportedly told Bobulinski according to the one of the text messages.

“OK they should be paranoid about things,” Bobulinski replied.

Bobulinski also said that he met with Joe Biden in May of 2017 before the former vice president was scheduled to speak at a conference in California. This meeting convinced Bobulinksi that Joe Biden was “plainly familiar” with his family’s efforts to secure the deal with the Chinese.

“That night, we discussed the Bidens’ history, the Biden family’s plans with the Chinese, with which he was plainly familiar, at least at a high level,” he told reporters at the October 2020 press conference.

How the Bidens sold their name to CEFC

As a prospective partner in the Biden-CEFC deal, Bobulinski observed first-hand the Biden family’s use of their name to advance the relationship with the Chinese company for which they demanded payment after Joe Biden left office, according to text messages and Bobulinski’s interview with the FBI.

In 2015, CEFC approached Hunter Biden and his business partners for assistance in expanding its global reach, with an eye on the U.S. energy market. As previously reported by Just the News, Biden and his associates also worked to secure investment opportunities for CEFC around the world, including in the Middle East and in Europe.

A 2020 congressional investigation by Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson found that Hunter Biden was “key in relationship set up, messaging the good will around the chairman [Ye Jianming]” according to CEFC corporate documents.

In late 2015, James Gilliar sent a text message to Bobulinski outlining the nature of the deal between CEFC and the Biden family partnership.

“There will be a deal between one of the most prominent families from US and them (China) constructed by me,” Gilliar told Bobulinski.

Bobulinski later told the FBI in an October 2023 interview within days of his public pre-election press conference, that from 2015 to 2016, CEFC was using the “influence attached to the Biden name” to sign deals around the world, yet Hunter and James Biden did not receive any compensation from the company until 2017, when Joe Biden left the vice presidency.

According to Bobulinski, Hunter Biden and his partners met with Chairman Ye Jianming in Miami in Spring of 2017 to discuss the work conducted over the preceding two years.

“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,” the FBI summary reads, quoting Bobulinksi.

“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. It is clear that Bobulinski believes that Hunter and James Biden viewed their last name as the family’s greatest asset, using it to reap millions from a company connected to the Chinese Communist Party.

How the Chinese company planned an interest-free, forgivable loan to Hunter Biden

Bobulinski was also a first-hand witness of CEFC’s attempts to offer the Biden family a $5 million “interest-free” loan. In one July 2017 email sent to Bobulinski, CEFC representative Zhao Runlong outlined some of the remaining questions the energy conglomerate had about its proposed joint venture with the Biden family.

“5 million is lent to BD family in the 10 million charter capital,” Zhao wrote. “How will this 5 million be used (or the 10 million as a whole)?” he continued.

“This 5 million loan to BD family is interest-free. But if the 5 M is used up, should CEFC keep lending more to the family? If CEFC lends more, they need to know the interest rate for the subsequent loan(s),” Zhao added.

You can read the email below:

CEFC’s concerns seemed to have been answered. According to a letter from Senator Grassley, the conglomerate sent the $5 million “loan” to a Hunter Biden-connected firm in August 2017, one month after the email, Just the News previously reported. This figure was later confirmed by the House Oversight Committee in its impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Some of these funds were also listed in Hunter Biden’s now-defunct plea deal with the Justice Department.

Other Hunter Biden business partners, including Rob Walker and Mervyn Yan, already confirmed that money flowed to the Biden family coffers from CEFC in their respective interviews with the House Oversight Committee.