Key senators demand DOJ probe Hunter Biden's payments to alleged Russia sex trafficking
Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley ask: "What is the Justice Department trying to hide?"
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
Two senior GOP senators are demanding the Justice Department investigate evidence that Hunter Biden paid money to a "prostitution or human trafficking ring" tied to Russia while expressing exasperation at why it has taken so long for federal prosecutors to wrap their probe into President Joe Biden's son and answer questions from Congress.
"What is the Justice Department trying to hide from Congress and the American people?" Sens. Charles Grassley, of Iowa, and Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, asked in a stinging letter made public Friday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Chris Wray and U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss.
"These findings of potentially criminal behavior must be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement entities according to the highest ethical standards," the senators also wrirte. "Yet, due to your agencies’ continued failure to provide Congress with answers to its legitimate oversight questions, we have serious concerns about your review of this matter as well as the ongoing Hunter Biden criminal case."
The senators said their concerns included questions about ethical conflicts of interest with some of the law enforcement officials involved in investigating or supervising the Hunter Biden probe, which began in late 2018 and is focused on issues that include money laundering, unpaid taxes and influence peddling.
"Most recently, on May 9, 2022, we wrote to U.S. Attorney (USA) David Weiss with respect to our concerns about conflicts of interest infecting the criminal investigation," they told Garland in the new letter, dated Thursday.
"In that letter, we reiterated our concerns about [Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Nicholas McQuaid’s conflicts with the Hunter Biden criminal case in light of his prior working relationship with Hunter Biden’s criminal defense attorney.
"We also asked USA Weiss whether, in light of the Biden family’s connections in Delaware, anyone in his office is recused from the matter. To date, the Biden administration has refused to answer whether there have been any recusals from the Hunter Biden criminal case based on conflicts of interest or other reasons."
You can read the full letter here.
Johnson and Grassley conducted an extensive investigation for years into Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings, concluding they posed serious conflicts of interests and national security concerns that potentially compromised his father's dealings with countries like Russia, China and Ukraine.
They also made public Suspicious Activity Reports from banks to the government flagging certain Hunter Biden-tied transactions for possible money laundering, including to Russian and Ukrainian women tied to a suspected sex trafficking operation.
The senators said in their new letter that recent new allegations suggest Joe Biden sent some money to his son that was then re-directed to pay prostitution, further heightens their concerns.
"In our September 2020 report, we noted that records in our possession indicated that "Hunter Biden paid nonresident women in the United States who are citizens of Russia and Ukraine" and that some transactions are linked to what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring," they wrote.
The senators demanded that Garland, Wray and Weiss answer a half dozen questions including whether the FBI is "investigating Hunter Biden for criminal violations relating to his reported use of escorts linked to human trafficking rings" and whether the U.S. government has "defensively briefed Hunter Biden for counterintelligence concerns raised by his close financial associations with individuals linked to the communist Chinese government and other foreign governments."