According to Republicans, President Biden has been complicit in a long-running scheme to profit from his position in public life through shady dealings around the world engineered by his son, Hunter. Taking a first step in their long-promised investigation, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday demanded information about the Bidens’ banking transactions from the Treasury Department. Laying the groundwork for hearings they plan to hold, they said they had evidence “demonstrating deliberate, repeated deception of the American people, abuse of the executive branch for personal gain, use of government power to obstruct the investigation” and more, reports the New York Times. After his father became vice president, Hunter Biden, a 52-year-old Yale-educated lawyer, forged business relationships with foreign interests that brought him millions of dollars, raised questions about whether he was cashing in on his family name, set off alarms among government officials about potential conflicts of interest, and provided Republicans an opening for years of attacks on his father. After the death of his brother, Beau, in 2015, Hunter descended into a spiral of addiction and self-destructive behavior. He is sober now and no longer entangled in foreign business deals. He is a visible presence in his father’s life, his oldest daughter was married at the White House in November, and he attended a state dinner last month. However, his travails remain front and center in ways both legal and political.
David Weiss, the U.S. Attorney for Delaware, is closing in on a decision about whether to prosecute Hunter on charges stemming from his behavior during his most troubled years. Investigators have pored over documents and questioned witnesses about his overseas business dealings. They include his role on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company led by an oligarch who at the time was under investigation for corruption, a position that Hunter accepted while his father, as vice president, was overseeing Obama administration policy in Ukraine. They also include his equity stake in a Chinese business venture, and his failed joint venture with a Chinese tycoon who had courted well-connected Americans in both parties — at one point he gave Hunter a large diamond as a gift — but was later detained by Chinese authorities. Investigators have similarly sought information about interactions between Hunter Biden’s business associates and his father. Weiss appears to be focusing on a set of possible charges stemming from his failure to meet filing deadlines for his 2016 and 2017 tax returns, and questions about whether he falsely claimed at least $30,000 in deductions for business expenses. Weiss is also said to be considering charging Hunter Biden with lying on a U.S. government form to purchase a handgun in 2018. He answered that he was not using drugs, an assertion that prosecutors might be able to challenge based on his erratic behavior, and witness accounts of his drug use. Hunter Biden’s lawyers argue that even if prosecutors believe they can prove those charges they are almost always dealt with through civil actions without bringing criminal charges. Republicans who control the House intend to intensify their scrutiny of Hunter Biden in a bid to inflict damage on his father as he prepares for a 2024 re-election bid.