(National Review) Are the Biden investigations serious? Yes, though more for what they portend for national security and the state of our politics than as a matter of potential criminal jeopardy.
As the evidence mounts, ever more risible are the president’s claims of noninvolvement in the Biden family’s leveraging of his political influence for eye-popping paydays courtesy of corrupt, anti-American regimes. Yet the Biden Justice Department remains indifferent, as if the issue were merely the personal peccadillos of the president’s ne’er-do-well son, Hunter.
Even on those — Hunter’s evasion of millions of dollars in personal taxes and a false statement concealing his drug abuse on a federal firearms form — prosecutors have refrained from filing charges, although the apparent crimes are long-standing and uncomplicated. And the evidence is strong: Liens had been placed on various Hunter properties for years, and he recently paid his back taxes with a loan from a Hollywood lawyer friend (a move that does not vitiate the tax evasion but could enable the Biden Justice Department to rationalize not indicting). As for the handgun, Hunter is depicted waving it around on a video from his infamous laptop while he cavorts with a prostitute during a drug binge. A few days later, he lost the weapon when his then-paramour — Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau — disposed of it in a garbage bin across from a school (it was later found; the only real intrigue involves whether Secret Service agents tried to make documentary evidence of the gun’s purchase and loss disappear).
Jaw-dropping, sure, but Hunter’s personal criminal jeopardy is a sideshow. What matters is that millions of dollars have poured into the Biden-family coffers from agents of foreign regimes, including China, which just happens to be the Biden family’s most lucrative cash cow. There is no gainsaying the payments. House Oversight Committee Republicans, under the leadership of chairman James Comer (R., Ky.), have just released an “interim report” detailing over $10 million flowing from foreign sources to accounts of business associates and family members.
This is likely the tip of the iceberg. NBC News reported last year, for example, that Hunter alone raked in around $11 million in just the five years from 2013 to 2018 — i.e., beginning soon after a drug test resulted in his quiet discharge from the armed forces (after the then–vice president’s son, at age 42 and with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, was somehow selected to become a commissioned officer in the Navy’s public-affairs department). From that debacle, Hunter cruised to an exorbitantly compensated sinecure on the board of Burisma, a corrupt Ukrainian energy company. Did I mention that his father happened to be Obama’s point man on American policy in Kyiv?
While the Justice Department has dawdled over the Bidens for years, the House’s Biden-family probe is still in its early stages, with Republicans having had subpoena power for just five months. Comer is building on the yeoman’s work of an under-resourced investigation carried out by Senators Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) in 2020. In Biden’s first two years, his Treasury Department blocked GOP access to over 150 suspicious-activity reports filed by banks because transactions involving Biden-family members either appeared structured to obscure their size and counterparties or included dubious foreign participants. The Bidens have done business, of a sort, with Chinese Communist Party operatives; with Yelena Baturina, the billionaire wife of the now-deceased Moscow mayor and Vladimir Putin crony Yuri Luzhkov; and with a Russian “escort” service, which Hunter appears to have paid with part of the $100,000 his father wired him in late 2018, apparently intended for drug rehab.
The House interim report is based mainly on evidence generated by Comer’s first few bank subpoenas. More digging is under way. Even with the incomplete data set, however, a blaring alarm bell is impossible to muffle: the lack of obvious asset value in exchange for the millions paid to the Bidens.
In legitimate business transactions, it is generally easy to detect the consideration — services, goods, real estate, etc. — swapped for large sums of money. By contrast, the only apparent commodity in many hefty payments to Biden-family members is access to Joe Biden and his political influence. Indeed, in the course of dealings with agents of China, Hunter was heard to brag that they wanted to be in business relationships “with the Bidens” and were willing to pay millions of dollars for “introductions.” Joe Biden, while vice president, met with Hunter’s principal Chinese partner, Jonathan Li, days before Hunter and Li established an investment fund, Bohai Harvest RST, which Xi’s regime backed with substantial funding from the Bank of China as well as from China’s development and postal banks — a venture that enabled Beijing to obtain technology with military uses, as well as a cobalt mine in Congo worth $3.8 billion. (Cobalt is an essential component in the batteries of electric cars, which Biden and the Democrats are pressuring Americans to produce and purchase.) Joe Biden later wrote a letter of recommendation to try to help Li’s son get into an Ivy League school.
The telltale signs of illegitimate business are reticulated payment arrangements featuring shell companies, complex banking channels, and money transfers to people with no clear — and sometimes no plausible — connection to the provision of goods and services. Such practices are strongly suggestive of money-laundering: the intention to obscure the ultimate source of the money and to parse large payments, which would otherwise raise suspicion, into less conspicuous smaller payments.