When Hunter Biden joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company in 2014—while his father, Joe Biden, was Vice President and directing U.S.-Ukraine policy—it was controversial even within the Obama Administration. That the Vice President’s son received $50,000 per month for this work, while Vice President Biden was responsible for anti-corruption work in Ukraine, was opposed by Obama Administration officials aghast at the obvious conflict of interest.
Now, the scandal involving the younger Biden and Burisma is even worse than anyone realized. That’s the truth revealed by the Majority Staff Report and released by the joint Senate Homeland Security Committee, Government Affairs Committee, and Finance Committee last week.
Hunter Biden not only received millions of dollars from Ukrainian oligarchs. He not only did so while his father was coordinating anti-corruption efforts for the Ukrainian government, which was teetering in the midst of a low-intensity war with Russia. According to the Senate report, British corruption investigators found that Hunter’s investment firm also accepted a wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina, the wealthiest woman in Russia and ex-wife of the former mayor of Moscow.
The question is what actions did the Obama Administration take to prevent the Vice President from imposing a nepotistic conflict of interest on America’s Ukraine policy. As the Senate report explains, the “Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine.” Even George Kent, the State Department official who later appeared in Adam Schiff’s secretive congressional hearings on Ukraine during the Trump Administration, told the Senate committees that he relayed his concerns to Vice President Biden’s office in early 2015, recommending that Hunter Biden step down from his role on Burisma’s board. Another Obama Administration official, Amos Hochstein, went directly to Vice President Biden himself, citing concerns over potential conflicts of interest.
As we know now, neither Kent nor Hochstein received any response or follow-up from the Obama Administration. For his part, Kent remained so concerned that he raised the matter again more than a year later in an email to his superiors, calling Hunter Biden’s connections “very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine.”
The Senate report revealed even more. Hunter Biden’s lucrative ventures from his father’s high office were not limited to Ukraine, and the Biden family’s profiteering from the patriarch’s position in the White House was not limited to Hunter.
While Americans were counting on Vice President Biden to hold China in check, Hunter and his partners were reportedly involved with Chinese nationals linked to the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army. These connections netted Hunter and his family millions of dollars from “foreign nationals with questionable backgrounds.” One Chinese business partner even opened a line of credit with Hunter Biden that he, his uncle James Biden, and his aunt Sara Biden used “to purchase $101,291.46 worth of extravagant items, including airline tickets and multiple items at Apple Inc. stores, pharmacies, hotels, and restaurants.”
The Senate report is the deepest investigation yet into one of the biggest business-political scandals in recent American history. It’s not a mystery why it took so long, and why it took Republican Senate majority staffs to reveal the information. The reality of the Biden family’s profiteering from official corruption exceeds even the false accusations made by the political opponents of President Trump. Given the choice between facts which harm them and a fantasy which serves them, it’s no surprise that House and Senate Democrats—to say nothing of the mainstream news media—have repeatedly chosen the former.
But the full extent of the Biden family’s corrupt and lucrative involvement from Eastern Europe to China remains unknown. Expect more revelations in the coming months.
Richard A. Grenell is the former Acting Director of National Intelligence and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany.
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