Senators probe: Biden family biz an 'opportunity for blackmail'?

Joe Biden signs H.R. 1192, the Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021 or "PRRADA," Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, in the Oval Office. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)
Joe Biden (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

Does the Biden family’s sale of access to the White House to a firm serving as an arm of Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping’s initiative to spread Beijing’s dominance globally pose “any sort of blackmail opportunity for China against the United States”?

That’s what Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to know as he and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., continue investigating the many business deals in China, Ukraine, Russia and other countries carried out by Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s brother Jim.

“What I and Senator Johnson have done at this point is bring out the facts and the bank records that prove that there was a close relationship between Hunter Biden, maybe James Biden, and business people in China that have close contacts with the Communist Party and with the military there,” Grassley said in an interview Monday with Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“What’s concerning to us is — is there any sort of blackmail opportunity for China against the United States because of those close working relationships?” Grassley said.

“I say it’s concerning.”

In September 2020, Grassley and Johnson issued a report of their investigation of Hunter Biden’s business activities, based largely on suspicious activity reports filed by banks with the U.S. Treasury Department that showed millions of dollars was flowing into Biden family accounts.

Grassley acknowledged that there is no hard proof of blackmail in the form of documents.

“But when you have people high up in the Chinese government and business community, and you know what they want to do is they want ins in the United States for their own political benefit, then that’s concerning,” he said.

Grassley noted that there are records of $5 million going to Hunter Biden from the energy firm CEFC China Energy, which is the capitalist arm of Xi’s “Belt and Road Initiative.”

‘More revelations’ this week
Recalling that the laptop and its contents was dismissed by the Biden administration and establishment media as “Russian disinformation,” “America’s Newsroom” co-host John Roberts asked Grassley how long it might take for him to get an answer to his question.

“We just follow the money and the facts where they lead us, and we aren’t done with this yet,” the senator said.

Grassley said he and Johnson likely will “make more revelations” this week in Senate speeches.

Johnson, in an interview Sunday with Maria Bartiromo on the Fox News “Sunday Morning Futures” program, said the belated acknowledgement by the New York Times and the Washington Post of the authenticity of the laptop prove “how complicit” media have been “and continue to be in the cover-up.”

The leading establishment media outlets are “not impartial,” the Wisconsin senator said.

“They are the defenders of the Democratic Party, of the radical left,” Johnson said. “You know, The Washington Post learned a lot from their coverage of Nixon. When you get caught up in a cover-up—and that’s what happened, the media get caught up in a cover-up. They are caught with their lies.”

Grassley said it’s good that the New York Times and the Washington Post are now acknowledging the authenticity of the laptop, but journalists should not rely only on two senators “to get these facts out.”

“The media should have been working on these over a long period of time,” Grassley said.

“In fact they were in cahoots with Democrats senators that were trying to say Johnson and I were just disseminating Russian disinformation,” he said.

In fact, Grassley emphasized, the media and Democrats “were the ones that were spreading Russian disinformation.”

See Grassley’s interview with “America’s Newsroom”:

‘Corruption at the highest levels’
Johnson said Sunday the media’s strategy regarding the Biden family business is similar to Nixon’s “modified limited hangout” concept of releasing a limited about of damaging information to deflect from or curb the impact of more significant details that might eventually come out.

“We can’t allow our intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice, the FBI, or the media to get away with this,” Johnson said Sunday. “This is serious business. This is incredible corruption at the highest levels of government and within our media.

“We are all being snookered by them. This has been a – from my standpoint – a massive diversionary operation to, you know, to try and take the American public’s attention away from their wrongdoing, their lies, their cover-ups.”

See the interview with Johnson:

The attorney general’s ‘untenable’ position
On the ABC News show “This Week” on Sunday, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the president “is confident that his son didn’t break the law.”

Last Friday, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said the president stands by the statement he made in a 2020 campaign debate that Hunter Biden did “nothing [that] was unethical” and never “made money” in China.

But constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, a lifelong Democrat, wrote in a column for The Hill that those claims “appear demonstrably false,” making the “positions of both the media and Attorney General Merrick Garland absolutely untenable.”

He noted that amid “a long line of witnesses before a grand jury,” the investigation by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware appears to be leading toward an indictment of Hunter Biden.

He said the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and other media face “the embarrassing prospect of an indictment based on a story they previously suggested was either a nonstory or Russian disinformation.”

“Suddenly, in recent days, they all rushed to declare the story legitimate, 18 months after the New York Post reported it in October 2020.”

From that reporting, Turley said, a new narrative emerged that none of the evidence implicates President Biden.

On CNN, for example, White House correspondent John Harwood declared last week there is “zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done.”

But while media figures now are willingly admit the legitimacy of the abandoned laptop story, they are avoiding what the content of emails and messages found on that laptop.

“Hundreds of emails appear to detail a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling enterprise by the Biden family, including Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden,” Turley said.

‘Protect the principal’
Turley noted that the “key in any influence peddling scheme is to protect the principal.”

And emails show people associated with the business deals were told to avoid making references to President Biden.

In one email, for example, Hunter Biden’s business partner Tony Bobulinski was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former VP’s connection to any transactions.

“Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid,” Gilliar wrote.

The emails refer to Joe Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.”

In one, a 10% cut of the deal with CEFC China Energy is set aside for “the big guy,” which Bobulinski has confirmed is Joe Biden.

“Despite President Biden’s repeated claims he knew nothing about these dealings,” Turley wrote. “Bobulinski has said he personally met with the senior Biden to discuss Hunter Biden’s business activities. Bobulinski had been selected by the family to handle these deals.”

Joe Biden’s insistence that he never discussed with his son such business deals is further undermined by the fact that Hunter Biden flew with his father on Air Force Two in 2013 to Beijing, where Hunter signed on to an equity deal with a Chinese-backed investment firm worth more than $1 billion.

And, Turley noted, there are emails of Ukrainian and other foreign clients thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. Photos of Joe Biden at dinners and meetings with his son’s clients add to the evidence.

Turley pointed out that Hunter Biden has claimed in his book that his father repeatedly intervened due to his addictions “and yet we are to believe that Joe Biden did not express curiosity about how his addicted son was raking in millions from foreign sources?”

“The point is that President Biden really did not have to ask: Hunter Biden had nothing to sell but influence,” Turley wrote. “All President Biden had to do to facilitate such schemes was to be accessible — to allow his family to deliver face-to-face meetings and photo ops.”

All of that makes it untenable for Garland to handle the case.

“It is hard to imagine a stronger case for a special counsel. Any effort to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings will lead investigators to encounter repeated references to the president and how he may have benefited from those schemes,” Turley said. “At the same time, the president is ‘absolutely’ standing by his denial that his son did anything wrong or made any money from China.”

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