|Some dare call it
|What THEY don't want
you to know!
“”Tucker and I have the greatest respect and admiration for you. Always!
|—Susie Carlson, Tucker's wife
Robert Hunter Biden (1970–) is an American attorney, second son of current US President Joe Biden, and a convenient right-wing scapegoat for supposed family corruption. He is at the center of several insane conspiracy theories, including his work for Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which motivated a pressure campaign on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pursued by then-President Donald Trump and his goons. Recently, Hunter has become a featured player in Russian propaganda that justifies its invasion of Ukraine.
To be fair, it's clear that Hunter has taken advantage of his father's famous name to gain access to positions he was minimally qualified for and capital he clearly did not earn, as well as selling art that objectively isn't good, and certainly a trainwreck of a human being. However, most of the worst things about Hunter's decisions don't rise above nepotism or good old American greed, and criticism of his actions is certainly questionable coming from certain right-wing personalities.
A life punctuated by tragedy
Two-year-old Hunter and his older brother Beau were passengers in the fatal car crash that killed his mother Neilia Hunter and his younger sister Naomi, after Joe Biden had won his first Senate race. In his 2021 memoir, Beautiful Things, Hunter indicates that the trauma of this accident played a major role in his future struggles with drug and alcohol abuse. He was in and out of rehab facilities and was discharged from the US Navy Reserve in 2013 following a positive drug test. He also claimed that following Beau's death in 2015 from brain cancer, he consumed crack cocaine frequently.
Hunter was married from 1993 to 2017, when he had three daughters.[note 1] He also briefly dated his brother's widow, before remarrying in 2019 and siring a son.[note 2] He is also confirmed to have had a child with another woman, Lunden Roberts, in 2018, who he described as "my youngest daughter's basketball mentor".
Work in the public sector
Hunter's first public-sector position was with the US Department of Commerce for the Clinton administration. He was later appointed to a five-year term on the board of directors for Amtrak, a position he held until Joe was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. He was approved for a US Naval Reserve program, but was forced to resign following a non-negative drug test. From 2011 to 2015, he was a board member for World Food Program USA, a D.C.-based charity supporting the work of the United Nations World Food Programme.
Work in the private sector
Hunter's first position out of law school was for MBNA, a company that made major contributions to Joe's campaigns. Following his stint in the Clinton administration, he became a lobbyist, a tradition as old as DC itself. In 2009, he formed an investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners. This expansion into investments and consultancy opened the door to some of the work upon which conspiracies are based.
BHR Partners is a China-based private equity fund, controlled by the Bank of China and therefore the Chinese Communist Party. Hunter had a 10% stake,[note 3] and his investment firm had a further 20% stake, in addition to serving on the board of directors. This fund would raise approximately $4.2 million (its goal was $1.5 billion), and during his time on the board Hunter did get a meeting arranged between his father and Jonathan Li, a founding partner.
In April 2014, Hunter joined the board of Burisma, which was owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who was already the subject of an investigation. He joined to help guide corporate governance best practices. He held this position through 2019 and was compensated up to $50,000 a month. Joe played a major role in US policy supporting anti-corruption efforts on Ukraine, and the Obama administration and Ukrainian anti-corruption officials expressed concern regarding Hunter's position.
The bulk of these investigations were triggered by a laptop owned by Hunter. The MacBook Pro was dropped off at a repair shop with liquid damage April 2019, Hunter sought to recover the files on the computer. Work completed, owner John Paul Mac Isaac, attempted to make contact with Hunter but was unable to. In July 2019, as word of possible Ukrainian corruption involving Hunter spread through the media, Mac Isaac made contact with the FBI, who took possession of it in December 2019.
This should have been the end of it, but Mac Isaac made a copy of the files. During Trump's first impeachment trial, where the of dealings Hunter and Burisma were a subject, Mac Isaac attempted to contact members of Congress, then a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani, who responded almost immediately. Copies sent to the New York Post came from Giuliani, who first broke the story. At this point copies of the file seem to have made the rounds on the right-wing, but not to any mainstream outlets until 2021 when they were provided to The Washington Post. The Washington Post also has evidence that information was added by an unknown person to the portable hard drive associated with the laptop both before and after the New York Post story, including three folders titled 'Mail', 'Salacious Pics Package' and 'Big Guy File' (an apparent reference to Joe Biden).
It's critical to note here that the FBI had the laptop in its possession the entire time that Mac Isaac was trying to hawk these files, and because his version of the files is the only version publicly available, and they have made it to multiple right-wing personalities, it allows some to make claims with no way to verify that the emails or documents are authentic. The Washington Post took it upon themselves to attempt to verify a copy that they had received. Two experts looked at the data, and were only able to verify the authenticity of around 20,000 emails. The hundreds of thousands of other emails, in addition to thousands of images, videos, and documents couldn't be authenticated. Mac Isaac, in an interview with Real America's Voice, later indicated that there appear to be files, specifically pictures, that are being reported on that he did not view himself:
During that time, I saw a lot of photos. I did not see a lot of photos that are being reported to be seen...I do know that there have been multiple attempts over the past year and a half to insert questionable material into the laptop as in not physically, but passing it off as misinformation or disinformation as coming from the laptop, and that is a major concern of mine because I have fought tooth and nail to protect the integrity of this drive.
Tax and money laundering
After the 2020 presidential election, counsel representing Hunter announced that he was subject to a federal investigation. The initial investigations seem to have started in late 2018, centering on money laundering accusations from a failed deal with a Chinese energy conglomerate. CEFC China Energy has ties to the CCP and the People's Liberation Army. In August 2017, Hunter agreed to terms with CEFC that would pay $500,000 upfront, $100,000 a month, as well as paying his uncle James Biden $65,000. Five million dollars were deposited into a bank account, and $165,000 was distributed to Hunter monthly.
Transactions totaling $1.4 million from Hunter to his uncle's account were flagged for potential money laundering. It didn't help that when the bank attempted to contact James in regards to the transfers, he ignored their requests, then closed the account. Hunter's primary partners in this venture, Ye Jianming and Patrick Ho, were detained by Chinese and American authorities, respectively. Hunter's agreement officially ended in November 2018, but not after clashing with the remaining partners and collecting an additional $2.4 million. Those familiar with the investigation imply that Hunter's contracts make the payments plausible and are abandoning the money laundering investigation. Instead, the FBI have been probing his tax filing to determine if he failed to claim certain income.
Foreign Agents Registration Act
Hunter may also be under investigation for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by not registering as a foreign lobbyist. This investigation also seems to stem from evidence acquired from Hunter's laptop, especially concerning his work with Burisma and possible influencing American policymakers, namely his father.
Obvious capitalization on the Biden name
Hunter's artistic endeavors are clearly designed to use his family name to capitalize. His aforementioned memoir was released April 6, 2021, less than three months after his father was sworn in as President of the United States. There are no details about how much Gallery Books paid for the rights, but similar memoirs tend to be at least six figures. While critics appreciated the raw view of drug abuse and Biden family dynamics, commercial success was limited.
Later in 2021, Hunter would debut his foray into abstract painting with a solo exhibition titled The Journey Home at Georges Bergés’ gallery in SoHo. You can view the work online, though the quality of work isn't so much the concern as the price. Representatives for the gallery indicate the works are listed between $75,000 and $500,000. Scrutiny around the work forced the White House to negotiate an agreement with Mr.Bergés, that would withhold information about the bidders and final buyers. Mr.Bergés also agreed to reject any offer he deemed suspicious. The agreement has been pilloried by former Executive branch ethics officials Richard Painter, Walter Shaub and Norm Eisen. The opaque nature of the process, which the White House said was meant to protect Hunter, instead seems to make the likelihood a lobbyist or foreign government would purchase the work greater because there would be no public scrutiny. Others who traffic in high art also found the prices exorbitant, especially for an untrained artist who has never had work on the commercial market. It would seem that Hunter doesn't seek to make art for profit:
I don’t paint from emotion or feeling, which I think are both very ephemeral, For me, painting is much more about kind of trying to bring forth what is, I think, the universal truth.
Clearly Hunter has made serious mistakes in his life, and has made questionable business decisions with foreign companies that exposed himself, and his family, to possible influence. His actions demand scrutiny, and careful evaluation, but clearly there is nothing that would indicate that he has any influence over his father, or actually affected any policy decisions made by the Obama or Biden administrations. But following the wild success of attacking Hillary Clinton's leaked emails, and misunderstanding complex business ties, those on the right needed a new bogeyman.
Corruption in Ukraine
The details of this conspiracy started circulating in 2016, centering on a disgruntled and likely corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor named Viktor Shokin. In 2016, Vice President Biden, in his official capacity representing the United States, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, visited with then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The official message being carried by Biden was that Poroshenko must remove Shokin. The prosecutor had been appointed by Poroshenko in 2014, in keeping with the administration's message of a commitment to closer relations to the EU and rooting out corruption. Shokin was not living up to this task, so the VP's official message was that the U.S. would not provide Ukraine with $1 billion of military assistance, even though it was critical to the efforts of fighting two breakaway regions supported by Russia.[note 4] Shokin was removed, and the funds were transferred.
Shokin then began spinning a tale to anyone that would listen: Joe Biden called for Shokin's ouster because he was investigating Hunter and Burisma. This story then made its way to Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who sought meetings with Shokin, and advised Trump of his actions. They sought details about this incident explicitly to damage the elder Biden in his attempts to run for President in 2020. It bears repeating; Shokin's ouster was not a decision made personally by Joe Biden, it was the consensus from the Obama administration, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund, explicitly because Shokin wasn't investigating corruption. Whether or not you agree with the way the message was delivered, or even the way Joe bragged about it after the fact, the fact of the matter is that the West was fully behind removing Shokin.
US bioweapon labs
Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca investment fund financed the Pentagon’s military biological program in Ukraine, said Igor Kirillov, head of the radiation, chemical and biological defense forces of the Russian Armed Forces.
Russia’s assertion that President Biden’s son Hunter was ‘financing … biological laboratories in Ukraine’ was based in truth, according to e-mails reviewed by The Post.
First and foremost, a version of this lie has been around since the Soviet Union. In the 1980s, the KGB accused the US of making "killer mosquitoes". In 2015, state media accused the US of being behind a mysterious disease killing pigs in Ukraine and Georgia.[note 5] The not-so-mysterious disease, African swine fever, was present in the Caucasus (including Georgia) well before Russia first accused the US of deploying the disease as economic sabotage in 2012.
Following the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK, Russian propaganda went into overdrive specifically accusing the US of supporting bio-weapons facilities in Ukraine. Their evidence for this is a 2005 agreement, the terms of which are readily available by the US Department of Defense. Multiple third-parties have verified a similar facility in Georgia is not creating any bio-weapons as late as 2018.
The latest accusation comes from the Russian Ministry of Defense, and it is particularly bonkers. Essentially the only connection is a Pentagon subcontractor called Metabiota, which received an investment from a private equity firm associated with Hunter. For good measure this conspiracy throws in George Soros, and his investment firm that owns share of another Pentagon subcontractor Gilead Sciences. Soros is a frequent target of anti-Semitic attacks, especially from Russian-aligned authoritarians like Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and Belarusian "president" Alexander Lukashenko.
In both cases, the funding received by Metabiota and Gilead was not related any labs. Hunter's firm provided $500,000 of seed money, later purchasing a 13.4% stake in the company to the tune of $10 million in 2014. At this point, Hunter was on the way out following his positive cocaine drug test, and would be formally removed before the company rebranded itself in 2016. Soros Fund Management has literally thousands of stocks in its portfolio, and its most recent SEC filing doesn't have any Gilead shares.
The specific Pentagon program, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), exists and operates in these former Soviet republics specifically because the USSR did produce bio-weapons, and these facilities have them frozen and secure to avoid them spreading to the general population. The DTRA provided $18.4 million to Metabiota between 2014 and 2017, and only $307,091 was specifically for 'Ukraine research projects'.
The Russian Ministry of Defense's presentation was supported by an account from The National Pulse, a right-wing website run by Steve Bannon,[note 6] who referenced several emails mentioning the Metabiota investment and goals.[note 7] Tucker Carlson, referencing the National Pulse article, told his audience this confirmed the US had moved its bioweapon research to Ukraine, also conveniently parroting the exact Russian MoD claim.
The latest insane conspiracy stems from the Biden administrations efforts to reduce oil prices globally. Releasing oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve (United States) [SPR], is a tactic deployed by Presidents since the 1975 when the reserve was created following OPEC's efforts to driver prices up with the 1973 oil crisis. The exact purpose of the reserve is to respond to mitigate responses from an international incident, like the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Biden authorized the drawdown of 30 million barrels, which was sold on April 12. The sale from these reserves used to be limited on only US suppliers, but because energy prices are effected globally, Congress repealed that part of the law in 2015. The Department of Energy [DOE] (which manages the SPR) is required by law to sell to the highest bidder. Of the 30 million barrels, half of the companies were foreign based, including 3.33% which was sold to Unipec a subsidiary of the Chinese Communist Party owned Sinopec. The announcement of this sale attracted the attention of Washington Beacon, a right-wing rag. The articles headline, "Biden Sold a Million Barrels From U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China-Owned Gas Giant", is accurate but lacking necessary context. Included in the article is a reference to Hunter Biden and his relationship with BHR Partners which in 2015 purchased a stake in Sinopec Marketing, a subsidiary that sells oil products. As noted above Hunter had a modest stake in BHR and his lawyers claim he no longer holds those stakes, a fact disputed by Chinese records.[note 8]
It bears repeating here, Hunter currently has no formal or informal role in the Biden White House. He is no longer identified of being on the board of directors for BHR. Sinopec, like fifteen other companies, submitted a bid for just shy of one million barrels, which DOE was legally obligated to accept as the highest price for that amount of oil. Hunter was not involved in the decision to release oil from the SPR nor was the company he was previously a part of given any special treatment. However the Federalist, a Christo-Fascist supporting rag with its own dubious foreign funding, released an article headlined: "Biden Sold Oil From Emergency Reserves To Chinese Gas Giant Tied To His Scandal-Plagued Son.” This is obviously misleading. But GOP congress people insist this is worthy of investigation, or even impeachment.
Now there may be questions as to why the SPR drawdown sold to a Chinese company when you consider the purpose was also to help Europe reduce its dependence on Russia. 2/3 of those thirty million barrels was indeed sold to European suppliers, but multiple industry analysts stated that the sale of oil to China might allow other oil sources to be redirected to Europe. And Chinese companies have already purchased millions of barrels from previous SPR drawdowns in late 2021. The administrations plans for these funds later is to purchase more oil to refill the SPR when oil prices are lower.
The entire premise of this conspiracy is still stupid even without the details. Essentially conservatives are accusing the Biden administration of selling these reserves to a company Hunter was associated with, which would then benefit Hunter through his 10% stake. So the Biden administration authorized selling thirty million barrels of oil to reduce oil prices, then a Chinese company paid the DOE over ninety million dollars,[note 9] for what? Them to resell at a lower price? Make petroleum products which would be cheaper? And then pay Hunter, for a process which he wasn't involved, through a company that isn't active?
HuNtEr BiDeN iS a ThReAt To AmErIcA
With the GOP taking control of the House of Representatives starting Jan 3, 2023 they issued a report titled: A PRESIDENT COMPROMISED: THE BIDEN FAMILY INVESTIGATION. This 31-page screed starts with the following:
During the 2020 presidential campaign, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden assured the American people he was not involved in his family members’ multi-million-dollar global business deals. He assured Americans he had always remained apart from his family’s business interests while he was Vice President.
Evidence obtained by Committee on Oversight and Reform Republicans shows these assurances were false. President Joe Biden has participated in his family’s global business ventures with America’s adversaries. He has misused his public positions to further his family’s financial interests. These actions have created the potential for President Biden to be susceptible to influence, blackmail, or extortion by a malign or foreign entity, including the Chinese Communist Party.
This is an extraordinary claim. To accuse the President of the United States of profiting on foreign business dealings would require evidence like tax documents, or an example of corruption. However, it seems instead the GOP wants to warm up the same rehashed crap that led to Trump's first indictment.[note 10]
The first claim the report throws out there pertains to Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR's) that were generated by financial institutions the family members used. Committee Republicans have sought Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the custody of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) that are related to Biden family financial transactions and accounts. SARs are generated by American banks and submitted to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) within Treasury when customers engage in a range of activities outside the normal course of business, including large, suspicious transactions that may indicate criminal activity. Between Hunter Biden and James Biden, President Biden’s brother, American banks have generated at least 150 SARs. The first thing to note here is that all of these SAR's were generated by accounts attached to Hunter and James Biden, who obviously were profiting on their connection to Joe Biden, but there is no evidence they shared those profits.
Ignore the Orange Man behind the curtain
Most of these allegations of impropriety are lobbed by conservative Republicans, namely Donald Trump and his allies. But any allegations against Hunter Biden pale in comparison to the actual things Trump and his family have actually done.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
While Trump was president, he frequently tweeted about his daughter's business interests, including when he tweeted about Nordstrom pulling items from Ivanka's clothing line, an action that temporarily lowered the stock price. Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner would later join Trump administration with official titles and tax-payer supported salaries. During their time in the White House, they would receive between $172 and $640 million from outside income. Ivanka was also an official representative for the US government for multiple foreign trips, including the W20 women's summit, a US delegation trip to India, and a 2019 G20 summit in Ōsaka, where she was literally at the table with the leaders of the other 19 members, while her father was late. Most recently, Kushner's private equity firm was the beneficiary of a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which is directed by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Donald Trump, heavily influenced by Kushner, would go out of his way to excuse the grisly murder of US resident Jamal Kashoggi, approve multiple arms deals that Congress sought to block, and veto a non-binding resolution condemning the Saudi's actions in Yemen.
The Trump Organization
Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric handled day to day operations for the Trump Organization while their father held office, an arrangement many ethics experts scoffed at. The Trump International Hotel, which is rented by General Services Administration, was among the most controversial. During his presidency, Trump would visit this hotel two dozen times, but it became the go to place to host conservative confabs, and was regularly visited by cabinet members. 150 foreign governments paid to visit Trump properties, and the D.C. hotel received $3.7 million. Trump also visited his own properties over 500 times while in office. His most frequent ventures were to his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida, golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and private club in Sterling, Virginia. His Mar-a-Lago trips cost taxpayers around $3 million for aircraft, not including the cost to cover government officials to stay at his properties, totaling around $2.5 million through his term. Trump properties in Scotland and Ireland made up the bulk of foreign business dealings, totaling $73 million. The Trump Turnberry resort is of particular interest because US Air Force crews stayed there at least forty times starting in 2015.
- The eldest of whom is named after his late sister.
- Who is named after his late brother.
- Which he only received in 2017, after Joe was no longer vice president.
- Which would also later be the pretext for Russia to launch an invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
- The central European country, not the state
- Who had obtained a copy of Hunter's laptop from Mac Isaac.
- Hunter and his business partners were interested in selling insurance policies to companies, using the data from Metabiota's primary business model, helping identify personnel which could assist in high-level biological research labs and provide research mentoring. By identifying where Metabiota's services were required, they hoped to identify where the next major pandemic outbreak would occur, helping companies make business decisions.
- This is insanely complicated, but essentially there is a DC based company, Skaneateles, which Hunter is the sole owner, is still listed as a 10% stakeholder, but the company is also not technically in operation
- The DOE doesn't specifically say the price per barrel it was sold at, but it was above $100 a barrel at that point
- If it got Trump out of office, surely it'll work on Biden as well, right? Right?!
- A look at the time Tucker Carlson asked Hunter Biden for a favor: The Fox News host often ridicules the president’s son, but years ago, the two were close by Matt Viser (May 19, 2022 at 12:43 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- Beautiful Things: A Memoir by Robert Hunter Biden (2021) Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1982151110.
- Now warning about Hunter Biden-laptop disinfo: The guy who leaked it by Philip Bump (April 12, 2022) The Washington Post.
- Here’s how The Post analyzed Hunter Biden’s laptop: Two experts confirm the veracity of thousands of emails, but say a thorough examination was stymied by missing data by Craig Timberg et al. (March 30, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
- Why Was Ukraine's Top Prosecutor Fired? The Issue At The Heart Of The Dispute Gripping Washington by Christopher Miller (September 24, 2019 13:31 GMT) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
- Trump called this ex-Ukrainian prosecutor 'very good.' But he resigned in disgrace. by David L. Stern (September 25, 2019 at 2:47 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.