Air Biden: Secret Service provided security for Hunter Biden on 400-plus trips during Obama years
The son of the vice president went on 29 international trips with Secret Service in tow, according to records released under FOIA to Judicial Watch.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Hunter Biden has already made headlines with his pursuit of global business, raising questions about conflicts of interests by landing lucrative deals in Ukraine and China while his father Joe was vice president.
And now it’s his proclivity for globetrotting travel that is garnering attention.
The son of the former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee in waiting used Secret Service protection on at least 411 international and domestic trips during the Obama years, according to records released this month under the Freedom of Information Act to the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch.
The records show Hunter Biden made at least 29 international trips between January 2009 and July 2014 and hundreds more criss-crossing the United States.
Five of the trips were to China, where the Bidens raised eyebrows in December 2013 as Hunter joined his father on an official government trip and pursued an investment opportunity in the shadows of his father’s work.
Six months later, Hunter Biden landed on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings at a time when his father oversaw U.S.-Ukraine policy and the company was under investigation.
State Department officials testified at last fall’s impeachment proceedings that the Ukraine arrangement created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
While it is normal for the Secret Service to provide family members of a president and vice president with security details, Hunter Biden’s security logs stand out for the sheer volume of travel.
The FOIA covered 1,987 days of the Obama presidency (July 1, 2014 thru Jan. 19, 2017 have not yet been produced), meaning Hunter Biden averaged a trip once every five days or so during the covered period.
The Secret Service did not provide the cost figures for providing security for those trips, but it is likely to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars since Hunter Biden went to places like Kenya, London, France, Spain and China, the newly released records show.
“Given the Burisma-Ukraine-China influence peddling scandals, Hunter Biden’s extensive international travel during the Obama-Biden presidency, including at least 5 trips to China, will raise additional questions,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said after releasing the records.
Indeed, the travel is under additional scrutiny. As part of the FOIA, the Secret service revealed that Senate committee chairmen Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) requested the same records as part of their investigations into possible conflicts of interests in the Biden family.
The Secret Service did not indicate whether Hunter Biden’s travel was on private airliners or on Air Force One, Air Force Two or other government aircraft.
Among the international travel:
- Ethiopia and India — June 14-22, 2009
- Argentina on September — 14-17, 2009
- France and Spain — November 9-13, 2009
- Canada — February 12-15, 2010
- Dominican Republic — February 18-22, 2010
- Puerto Rico — March 20-27, 2010
- China — April 6-9, 2010
- Belgium, Spain, and the United Kingdom — May 5-8, 2010
- U.K., Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Ascension Island, U.S. Virgin Islands — June 6-13, 2010
- Denmark and South Africa — August 9-24, 2010
- Hong Kong, Taiwan and China — April 16-22, 2011
- Mexico — May 15-17, 2011
- Colombia, France, United Arab Emirates — November 1-11, 2011
- U.K. and Russia — February 15-18, 2012
- Germany, France and U.K. — on February 1-5, 2013
- U.K. and Ireland — March 20-22, 2013
- China — June 13-15, 2013
- Switzerland and Italy — July 26-August 7, 2013
- Japan, China, South Korea and the Philippines — December 2-9, 2013
- China and Qatar — May 7-14, 2014
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