Salvo 06.20.2023 15 minutes

Scammer in Chief

President Biden Hosts The Annual White House Easter Egg Roll

There is no reasonable doubt that President Biden was an active participant in an unlawful, international influence-peddling scheme.

With the provisos that every American is entitled to a presumption of innocence, and much of what is known of the Biden family crime organization is “alleged,” there is powerful evidence that President Joe Biden committed multiple felonies as a co-conspirator in an international fraud and racketeering scheme, regardless of whether he personally received bribes.

It is only because the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) are weaponized against the right, and give a free pass to Democrat leaders and progressive violence, that the President’s son, Hunter, and brother, James, have not been indicted for their participation in this enterprise, or that the President has not been impeached, though fear that Kamala Harris would replace him also may be at play. The news that Hunter has struck a deal with the DOJ to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and a failure to report drug use on his firearms application in exchange for probation with no jailtime, and a potential partial expungement of his record after two years, is a slap on the wrist that stays far away from implicating the President.

Democrats and the media—which usually functions as an arm of the Democrat Party—defend the President by observing there is no publicly available proof that he received a bribe, and they assert that he has not used his position to benefit the family’s benefactors. This rose-colored analysis fails in at least three respects: (1) there is no reasonable doubt that Joe Biden knew that Hunter, James, and other family members were engaged in influence peddling; (2) Biden assisted these efforts, at a minimum, by creating the appearance that he endorsed the family business; and (3) at least as to Burisma Holdings, there is strong evidence that he acted in his official capacity as vice president to create value for Burisma and its owner. At a trial, there is no distinction between the weight given to direct and circumstantial evidence.

Based primarily on investigations undertaken by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSAC), Senate Finance Committee, and House Committee on Oversight and Accountability (HCOA), and to a lesser extent on reporting by Fox News and The New York Post, we know:

On April 16, 2014, while Biden was vice president, he met with Hunter’s business partner, Devon Archer, at the White House. Five days later, Biden travelled to Ukraine to lobby for increased fracking, a process he has otherwise strongly opposed. Burisma was one of the few companies licensed to frack in Ukraine. After Biden’s trip, Burisma made hundreds of millions of dollars from Ukraine’s acquiescence to his requests. The day after Biden’s return, Archer joined the Burisma board, followed three weeks later by Hunter. Burisma paid more than $4,000,000 for Hunter’s and Archer’s board memberships, including at least $1,450,000 wired directly to Hunter’s accounts.

In 2016, while Hunter and Archer were serving on Burisma’s board, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was investigating Burisma and its owner. In his official position as vice president, Biden demanded Ukraine fire Shokin, and threatened to withdraw $1 billion in U.S. military aid if it did not do so. Shokin was fired.

While serving on the Burisma board, Hunter and Archer sought meetings with senior State Department officials, including then-Secretary of State John Kerry and then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Emails showing cooperation between Blinken and Hunter have been made public.

Since taking office as president, Joe has authorized more than $75 billion of aid to Ukraine.

According to U.S. Treasury reports, Hunter received a $3,500,000 payment in February 2014 from Elena Baturinam, the billionaire wife of the now deceased former mayor of Moscow. It is unknown what services Hunter provided for that payment. That month, Russia invaded Crimea. The U.S. took no significant action to oppose the invasion.

According to a September 2020 report from Republicans on the HSGAC and the Senate Finance Committee, on August 8, 2017, CEFC Infrastructure Investment (US) LLC, a subsidiary of Chinese billionaire and Communist Party-connected Ye Jianming’s CEFC China Energy Company, wired $5,000,000 to HudsonWest III LLC, a New York company that may have been partially owned by Hunter. HudsonWest III then sent a series of “consulting fees” totaling about $4.8 million to Owasco PC, Hunter’s law firm, and a further $1,000,000 in March 2018. During this period, Owasco sent 20 wires totaling $1.4 million to James Biden’s consulting firm, the Lion Hall Group. One payment cites “HW3” as the purpose. Smaller direct payments were made by HudsonWest II to Lion Hall for “expenses.” When contacted by the bank, James’ wife Sara refused to provide supporting documentation. The bank then closed the account and flagged the transfers to Treasury as potentially criminal.

Hunter accompanied his father on both Air Force Two (while his father was vice president), and Air Force One (since his father became president), including a trip to Beijing in December 2013, during which Hunter admits he discussed formation of business partnerships with Chinese investors.

The New York Post reports that the Biden family has done at least five deals in China arranged by individuals with direct ties to Chinese intelligence, intended to generate more than $31 million in fees for the Biden family and their associates. Though the total paid may be less, Hunter and his companies received, in addition to fees, ownership interests in private equity funds that had the potential to generate tens of millions of dollars of additional value. Hunter’s lawyer claims that Hunter has relinquished some of these interests for undisclosed consideration.

Though Joe has spoken assertively about Taiwan’s rights to remain independent, he has carried a very soft stick, backing down on most disputes with China and signaling an intense desire to support President Xi. As a result, there is a growing miliary imbalance in China’s favor; China’s economic power in Africa and South America is growing; and for the first time, multiple countries are pricing and paying for energy products and other goods in yuan, instead of dollars.

White House visitor logs reviewed by Fox News disclosed that four of Hunter’s business partners, as well as a vice president and two assistants at Hunter’s firm, Rosemont Seneca, visited the White House a total of more than 80 times while Joe was vice president. Archer, Rosemont Seneca’s co-founder, visited then-Vice President Biden at least twice, in 2009 and 2014, and played golf with Hunter and the Vice President at least once, in August 2014.

In an October 27, 2020 interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Tony Bobulinski explained that Hunter had arranged for him to meet with Joe Biden in May 2017. The purpose was to make sure they both were comfortable with Bobulinski accepting Hunter’s offer to run Sinohawk Holdings, a new investment company formed by Hunter, Joe’s brother James, and Ye Jianming. One email from Hunter partner James Gilliar to Bobulinski and Hunter described giving a 10 percent share in Sinohawk to “the big guy.” Bobulinski explained, “Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the big guy’ or ‘my chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing.” (Together with a business partner, I have engaged in limited business with Bobulinski.)

There are numerous photographs of Joe Biden with Hunter’s business associates (for example, see here and here). The photographs do not prove that business was discussed, but do show Biden offering his endorsement in support of Hunter’s efforts.

The notion that the President was unaware of Hunter’s business activities is nonsense. No reasonable person could believe that lie.

The HCOA has issued two memoranda summarizing its investigation of Biden family financial activities (see here and here). In a press release, HCOA described the Biden family’s business as an “influence peddling and business scheme.”

Among other activities, the Biden family created at least 20 companies after Joe Biden became vice president that directly, or indirectly through other companies formed by their associates, received more than $10 million from foreign nationals, for no apparent services. At least nine Biden family members then received staged payments over time from these accounts, and Hunter also received money directly from a Chinese-controlled entity.

The use of multiple shell companies, with multiple owners, and staged payments to multiple family members are hallmarks of classic money laundering schemes. I hold securities and law licenses; these are the precise activities we are warned about in mandatory continuing education programs.

The HCOA also found thatthe Biden family’s activities in Romania bear “clear indicia of a scheme to peddle influence.” From 2015 to 2017, while Vice President Biden lectured Romania on corruption and ethics, the Bidens received over $1,000,000 through a Biden family associate from a company controlled by Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian accused of corruption.

According to press reports, Hunter complained to his daughter in texts found on his laptop about financially supporting Joe Biden, and in particular about giving his father half of his salary. While it is unclear whether any such transfers were made, there is evidence that Hunter paid for repairs on Joe’s properties.

After being threatened with a criminal contempt citation, FBI Director Christopher Wray finally permitted the HCOA to review an FD-1023 that summarizes information provided by a trusted FBI informant. According to multiple sources, the informant alleged that he has documentary evidence and recordings of 15 conversations with Hunter and two with President Biden that prove that, with his knowledge, Burisma and its owner paid $10,000,000 in bribes to the Biden family, and imply that Joe Biden may have accepted $5,000,000 of that payment. Democrats have willfully mischaracterized the transfer of review responsibility for the FD-1023 to the appropriate prosecutor in Delaware as a determination that the allegations were not worth pursuing.

“The Bidens made millions from foreign nationals providing what seems to be no services other than access and influence.” said HCOA chairman Representative James Comer, adding that they “engaged in many intentionally complicated financial transactions to hide these payments and avoid scrutiny. In at least one instance, the Bidens’ CCP-linked associates took steps to conceal the source of the payment to the Bidens.”

By relying on uncertainty about whether he directly received bribes for specific official actions, the President’s supporters falsely suggest that a pay-for-play transaction is a condition to Joe Biden being guilty of a crime.

The evidence, however, shows that President Biden is part of a conspiracy, along with Hunter, James, and other Biden family members. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 – 1968) provides criminal penalties for acts performed by the participants in a criminal organization. While a RICO case is complex, Joe’s involvement in bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering satisfy the predicates. Conviction does not require that Joe personally perform every element of each crime; it can be sufficient if he knowingly played his part in the greater enterprise.

Influence peddling by public officials, or authorized by public officials, is a crime even if no influence is actually sold. It is fraudulent for a public official to accept payments, or to assist others in soliciting payments for the purpose of influencing a public official, even if those engaged in soliciting funds knew the public official might not, or would not, be influenced. If President Biden provided material support for the Biden family crime organization’s influence peddling scheme – such as meetings or pictures with those solicited for payments and Hunter’s team, chauffeuring Hunter on Air Force One and Two, facilitating Hunter’s team’s communications with the State Department and White House – Joe can be found guilty of the crimes committed by the criminal organization.

In addition to RICO, the following are some of the felonies for which publicly available evidence credibly supports indicting Hunter, James, and Joe:

Money laundering is the crime of concealing the identity, source, or destination of money. To be convicted of money laundering under the main federal money laundering statute, the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (18 U.S.C. § 1956 and § 1957), generally, the Government must show the defendant participated in concealing or disguising the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of an unlawful activity. An individual also can be convicted of similar offenses for failing to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which requires transparency in reporting the source and purpose of transfers, and related banking laws, even if the initial source of funds was not unlawful. If Joe is convicted for being part of a criminal organization that violates these laws, he could be found guilty of laundering, even if he did not directly receive payments.

The federal bribery statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201, makes it unlawful for someone “directly or indirectly” to give, offer, or promise anything of value to a public official to influence an official act, or to “collude, or allow any fraud, or make opportunity for the commission of any fraud, on the United States” or to do or omit to any act in violation of that official’s duty. The same statute makes it unlawful for a public official to seek, receive, or agree to receive anything of value to do any of the foregoing.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1 et. seq. (FCPA), makes it a crime to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Though the central purpose of the FCPA is to prohibit bribery of foreign officials, 1998 amendments could make Hunter, Archer, the Biden family crime organization, and its participants, liable for any payments made to government officials or their associates by Burisma or its owner, including a $7,000,000 bribe apparently paid by Burisma’s owner to Ukrainian prosecutors to end the investigation of Burisma. There may be similar exposure for payments made by HudsonWest III, or its Chinese partners.

The federal mail and wire fraud statutes (18 U.S.C. § 1341 and § 1343), prohibit the use of mail, wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce to defraud, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses, representations or promises. For example, if Hunter or James falsely represented or promised to someone that following payment, they would arrange for President Biden to do or refrain from doing something, Hunter and James could be guilty of criminal fraud. Ironically, their principal defense might be to shamelessly argue that the statutes don’t expressly cover fraudulent promises of unlawful acts.

If the President actively assisted the family effort by, for example, meeting with duped third parties, or enhancing Hunter’s credibility by flying him to meetings on Air Force One or Two, Joe could be directly liable for his actions, or at least indirectly liable as a participant in the criminal organization.

The Biden family, including the President, also could be liable for honest services fraud pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1346, which defines a “scheme or artifice to defraud” to include taking payment for services not performed, or for corrupt services. In the leading Supreme Court case of Skilling v. United States (2010), the Supreme Court explained that public services fraud can occur even when Government is not financially harmed; for example, if a contract on identical terms is awarded to the qualified party offering the bribe, rather than to another no more qualified third party. The essence of the offense is tampering with the official’s relationship so that he breaches his duty. However, the Skilling court also held that “undisclosed self-dealing by a public official or private employee—i.e., the taking of official action by the employee that furthers his own undisclosed financial interests while purporting to act in the interests of those to whom he owes a fiduciary duty” does not constitute a crime under § 1345.

If the family took a payment and Biden took or changed an official act for the payment, that would seemingly fall within § 1346. But, if Biden merely pretended that he would take an official act, or if his official act helped the Biden family, without harming the United States, the outcome is less clear.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) requires certain persons who represent foreign interests to register with the DOJ. After years of seldom enforcing FARA, the DOJ obtained convictions for violating FARA against Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his deputy, Robert Gates, and Trump finance committee co-chairman Elliott Broidy. Despite representing Ukrainian and Chinese interests, among other things, in conversations with the State Department and White House, apparently none of Hunter, James, or Archer have registered under FARA.

In a country with equal justice for all, Hunter and James would have been indicted for at least some of the felonies described in this essay; based on credible reporting, Hunter also would have been indicted and subject to meaningful consequences for lying on his federal gun application, tax evasion, and potentially drugs and pimping. Long-standing DOJ doctrine holds that a sitting president may not be prosecuted. Instead, the remedy is impeachment. Aside from his corruption, Joe Biden is the most racist, and autocratic president in at least a century. He should be impeached and removed from office. Further, regardless of when or why he leaves office, based on the precedent set by his administration, Joe Biden should be prosecuted for his participation in the Biden family crime organization. As the President correctly observes, “No one should be above the law.”

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

The American Mind is a publication of the Claremont Institute, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to restoring the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. Interested in supporting our work? Gifts to the Claremont Institute are tax-deductible.

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