Did you read the blustery letter sent by Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, or at least our comments about it on Wednesday? That letter didn’t make much of an impression on the House Committee chairmen.
Kentucky Rep. James Comer (Oversight), Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (Judiciary), and Missouri Rep. Jason Smith (Ways and Means) have all issued statements demanding that Hunter comply with the subpoena to appear for a behind-closed-doors hearing on December 13.
In demanding a public hearing only, Lowell had written, “We have seen you use closed door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and mislead the public...A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements.” But he offered no examples, and we can’t think of any, either.
Lowell was using the Democrats’ well-worn strategy of accusing your adversaries of doing what you yourself are doing. Why, we can think of plenty of examples of the Democrats’ January 6 committee doing exactly the things Lowell accused the GOP-led committees of doing; more about that later when the discussion turns to a master of the technique, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Anyway, Comer explained at a House leadership press conference that the way it works is, their committees will first interview and depose witnesses, and then they “would welcome Hunter Biden to testify at a public hearing at a future date.” Jordan said that having Hunter participate in both will “be great.” But the deposition must come first.
That’s the way it was done with IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who testified behind closed doors in July about “special handling” of the Hunter case they before appeared publicly. (Recall that Ziegler, a gay Democrat who risked retribution for coming forward, remained anonymous until it was time for the public hearing.) And legally, their testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee HAD to be behind closed doors, because it involved confidential financial records. Ways and Means had to see that before allowing it to be released outside their committee.
At the press conference, Rep. Smith sounded a lot like legal expert Jonathan Turley when he said, “The congressional subpoena [Hunter] received was not a suggestion…” Since Smith chairs Ways and Means and Hunter’s testimony might also involve confidential financial information, his words carry additional force.
Others involved with the Hunter case have already testified behind closed doors, including various DOJ and IRS officials and former Hunter business partner Devon Archer. As reported by the DAILY CALLER, the committees are still seeking depositions from Hunter’s uncle, James Biden, and other former business partners Eric Schwerin and Rob Walker. They also have yet to depose Hunter’s “art” dealer, Georges Berges, and “art” patron Elizabeth Naftali. All have been subpoenaed.
Here’s video of Rep. Comer at the press conference, outlining what they’ve found so far about the Biden family’s very concerning financial activities.
John Solomon and Steven Richards at JUST THE NEWS have an update on those activities, reporting that, according to congressional investigators, money ending up in Joe Biden’s account was part of a 2017 Chinese “loan” flagged by a bank investigator for potential money laundering and political influence. (Solomon reported in September that banks had started raising alarms about some of the Biden transactions as early as spring 2015 --- even a Morgan Stanley report to the SEC --- when Joe was still Vice President.)
This 2017 loan was the $5 million transfer from a CEFC-associated company we’ve seen in Comer’s handy chart, which showed that $400,000 went to Hunter, Hunter sent $150,000 to Jim and Sara Biden, and $40,000 of that (10 percent of what Hunter had held for the Big Guy?) was written out in a personal check to Joe. The “breaking” part of this story is that the original transaction had been flagged by a bank investigator as “high risk” for money laundering “or other illicit financial activity” and was possibly tied to efforts by the communist government of China to gain influence through Hunter Biden.
The bank investigator had identified Hunter Biden as what they call a “Potentially Exposed Person (PEP),” which is a term used in the finance industry to classify a person who is “either entrusted with a prominent public function” or an immediate family member of one who is.
Financial institutions like to see paper trails, and this “loan” had no paperwork at all, at any stage. Also, the recipient firm (a law firm) belonging to the Biden family “did not appear to have any investments in need of a loan,” according to the bank investigator.
Read through this explanation of the factors that tend to label someone a “PEP,” and it’s easy to see why a bank might choose to identify Hunter as one, considering the large amount of money involved, Hunter’s close familial relationship to someone of very high political status, the particular countries with whom he and his family did business, and the lack of anything tangible given in exchange. No wonder this transaction raised eyebrows...
According to the bank investigator’s memo, they’d even looked into Hunter’s personal life, citing “financial concerns about his extravagant spending on his own interests (drugs, strip clubs, prostitutes, etc.) which may have put his family in a deep financial hole.” More generally, it even mentions “China targeting children of politicians and [the] purchase of political influence through ‘sweetheart deals.’”
And there’s this, which really spells out the problem: “Specifically, Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion deal with the Chinese-State [is] to establish a private equity firm in which they manage the funds over time and make huge fees. The management company’s purpose is to invest in companies that benefit [the] Chinese government. Thus, the activity on the account appears unusual with no current business purpose and along with the recent negative news (...regarding Dr. Patrick Ho Chi Ping’s trial…) may require re-evaluation of [redacted] relationship with customer.” Here’s the full memo.
Here’s the full report at JUST THE NEWS, including video of Rep. Andy Biggs from the House Judiciary Committee, briefly explaining what’s important about this finding. The bank records are going to be the backbone of this case.
Finally, we promised examples of Democrats pointing fingers at Republicans for doing what they themselves had done, with emphasis on Jamie Raskin. In a new column about Hunter’s attorneys essentially flipping-off congressional investigators, Jonathan Turley mentions Raskin’s over-the-top reaction to the Oversight Committee’s rejection of Hunter’s demand for a public hearing only.
Raskin declared that their position on this was an “epic humiliation” and “a frank confession that they are simply not interested in the facts and have no confidence in their own case or the ability of their own Members to pursue it.”
The humorous part of this otherwise pathetic tirade is that Raskin and his colleagues on the left insisted on the exact same practice when they controlled the House and exercised it to a remarkable degree. Recall that Raskin sat on Pelosi’s January 6 “select” kangaroo kommittee that conducted extensive closed-door hearings with witnesses before trotting out a few “select” ones to testify at the Democrats’ tightly scripted and professionally produced public hearings. And they specifically refused an offer from key witness Stewart Rhodes (who now sits in jail) to testify in public. So anything Raskin or any of the Democrats have to say on this subject should be met only with giant eye rolls.
Here’s the rest of Turley’s column, highly recommended, on Hunter’s upcoming testimony. The kid-glove treatment is over for Hunter and, indeed, the Biden family. As Turley says, the alarm Democrats feel right now at the prospect of Hunter testifying is justified. His lawyers’ objections are not.