(Fox News) California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent defense of Hunter Biden against allegations of nepotism and shady business deals follows emails from Biden’s infamous laptop showing the president’s son donated thousands of dollars to Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign and lent his name to multiple fundraisers on his behalf.
Newsom, who is expected to attend Wednesday’s GOP debate on behalf of the Biden campaign, brushed off allegations of Hunter Biden’s corrupt business dealings last week, saying it is “hardly unique” for people to use their family members to get ahead.
“I don’t know enough about the details of that. I mean I’ve seen a little of that,” Newsom told CNN’s Dana Bash when asked if Hunter Biden did anything “inappropriate” leveraging his father’s name in his business dealings.
“If that’s the new criteria, there are a lot of folks in a lot of industries – not just in politics – where people have family members and relationships and they’re trying to parlay and get a little influence and benefit in that respect. That’s hardly unique.”
The recent comments from Newsom, who officially agreed to participate in a Fox News debate in November against Gov. Desantis with Sean Hannity moderating, led to a Fox News Digital review of dozens of emails between Hunter and Newsom and his associates discussing matters such as fundraising, promoting documentaries, and personal conversations over the course of nearly a decade.
In October 2010, Hunter Biden’s business partner Eric Schwerin floated then-San Francisco Mayor Newsom and his sister, Hilary, as “usual suspects” to try to connect with when he’s in California’s Bay Area. About a month later, Schwerin suggested that Newsom, among others, should be invited to a China state dinner. However, it does not appear he attended the dinner.
Earlier that year, Hunter emailed Newsom’s sister about how much “fun” he had in California over the summer and asked her whether she was “interested in White House Easter Egg Roll tickets” for her and her family.
“Also, I may be out in the Bay Area at the end of April with my brother, Beau, and it would be great to see you if time permits,” Hunter added in the email. “In fact, as plans firm up I might like to talk to you about some of the things Beau was thinking of doing out there and get some advice from you.”
Newsom’s sister politely declined the invitation to the White House, saying she was “invited to join some friends on their boat in St. Lucia – given that we have never been to St. Lucia nor on a boat.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, File)
In a March 2011 email, Schwerin suggested Hunter meet with Gavin Newsom, among others, when he traveled to San Francisco and told him he should be “asking any of them to bring together potential other investors in Real Estate.”
On June 11, 2014, a woman who worked with Newsom’s wife on her documentary films reached out to Hunter Biden and told him that she received his contact information from the Lt. Governor’s office and that Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wanted his help strategizing how to get a couple documentary films exposure in Washington, D.C.
“I’d love to tell you about it and get your advice about gaining visibility for the film in DC, and how the work we’re doing on gender stereotypes, especially healthy masculinity, and might align with the work the Vice President is doing,” said Jessica Lee, who was the distribution director of The Representation Project. She then asked him to “let her know” what his schedule looks like.
A little more than 10 days later, on June 23, Lee thanked Hunter for meeting with her and laid out the next steps about how to connect with a contact of Hunter. The email also suggested that they had discussed a White House screening of “The Mask You Live In” documentary film. It is unclear whether there was future communication between Hunter and Lee.
Newsom sent Biden an email two days later with the subject line, “Here’s my direct email” from his personal email address.
In October 2014, Newsom reached out to Biden with words of encouragement following news he was caught with cocaine as a member of the Navy reserves.
“Like so many other things in life ,this will pass and you will come out of the white water stronger — Gavin,” Newsom wrote to Biden an email with the subject line of “hang in there.”
In April 2015, Hunter responded to an email from lobbyist Eve O’Toole, who Newsom referred to as his “best friend and trusted adviser,” according to a report on a Newsom fundraiser. He told her that he was unable to make it to an event in DC, but that Newsom could “count on” a $5,000 donation from him. It does not appear the donation happened, but it is possible Hunter bundled $5K from his network.
A week later, Hunter referred to Newsom as a “good friend” in an email to lobbyist Mike Manatos requesting that he donate to Newsom’s campaign for governor of California.
“Hunter, while we can’t afford $1k, I could come with a $500 check, if that would help,” Hunter’s associated responded. “Understand if that would cause a problem, so just let me know.”
It does not appear that Manatos made the donation.
A year later, an email on July 25, 2016 shows that Hunter Biden’s calendar had him scheduled to attend an event supporting Newsom. It appears the reception was part of the reception circuit at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
In a separate email from a week earlier, Hunter replied to an invite for the event from then-San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. In the email, Hunter asked about adding his brother-in-law, Schwerin, and Joan Mayer, who was the vice president of Hunter’s now-defunct investment firm Rosemont Seneca Advisors, along with her husband, on the guest list for Newsom’s reception.
“Wonderful, thank you for letting us know! I have added you all to the guest list,” Mayor Lee said.
In December 2017, Newsom reached out to Hunter directly and said he heard O’Toole “roped” him into helping co-host a fundraiser in D.C. and told him how “grateful” he was of Hunter’s help.
“I wanted to check in now that we are 6 months out from the primary,” Newsom said. “While we have been performing well so far, as the race heats up and we enter the election year, we are pushing incredibly hard to raise the funds we need to invest early in our digital program and voter contact.”