A whistleblower tip about a document allegedly putting President Biden at the center of a bribery scheme triggered a guessing game across Washington Wednesday — as journalists and politicians pored over Biden’s extensive history of interactions with his family’s overseas business associates.
Biden, 80, regularly met with his son Hunter and brother James’ international connections during and after his eight-year vice presidency, including citizens of China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
However, the tip pertains to alleged wrongdoing by President Biden, a source said, meaning that it may not necessarily involve figures linked to his relatives.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed the whistleblower information Wednesday, saying the tip involves “an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.”
“If it’s as explosive as what we heard, we expect it to be very difficult to get it,” Grassley told Fox News Wednesday afternoon, “but we know it’s unclassified now, and the American people deserve transparency from the FBI, and that’s what this is all about.”
Comer set the FBI a deadline of May 10 to produce the document — leaving at least a week for speculation to mount about the dealings, and countries, involved.
Here are a few possibilities:
Natural gas company Burisma paid then-second son Hunter Biden up to $1 million per year to serve on its board beginning in April 2014, shortly after then-VP Biden assumed control of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy in the chaotic aftermath of the Maidan uprising that deposed Kyiv’s pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Just three days after Hunter joined the board, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, then a vice presidential aide, told reporters on Air Force Two en route to Kyiv that Joe Biden would push for US support to Ukraine’s natural gas industry, which later that year was awarded $50 million by Congress.
Former White House stenographer Mike McCormick, who recently outed Sullivan as the anonymous US official who briefed reporters on the flight, tells The Post he did not contact the FBI in June 2020, ruling him out of involvement in the latest disclosure due to the date specified in Comer’s subpoena.
Obama-Biden administration visitor logs show Joe Biden met with his son’s business partner Devon Archer, a since-convicted felon, in 2014 around the time both Hunter Biden and Archer joined Burisma.
And Joe Biden raised eyebrows by visiting the island of Cyprus, where the gas firm’s corporate headquarters were located, on April 21, 2014.
About a year later, then-VP Biden attended an April 16, 2015, dinner at DC’s Cafe Milano with a group that included Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi, who emailed Hunter the next day to thank him for the “opportunity to meet your father.”
Former President Donald Trump was impeached by House Democrats in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Biden family, allegedly using US military aid as leverage.
Although some Republicans focus on Joe Biden’s public boast about getting a Ukrainian prosecutor fired as a condition of Ukraine receiving $1 billion in US aid, Democrats have countered that the prosecutor’s ouster was sought by NATO allies as well as the American administration.
Joe Biden as vice president also was closely linked to his family’s Mexican pursuits as both Hunter and James Biden courted the country’s business elites.
Hunter Biden visited Mexico at least six years in a row — from 2011 through 2016 — while his father was vice president, according to laptop records, and communications include references to Joe Biden, though details remain vague on the amount of money that changed hands and the then-VP’s specific involvement.
In November 2015, Joe Biden hosted billionaire Carlos Slim and members of the wealthy Alemán family, whom Hunter Biden and his associate Jeff Cooper were courting, at the vice president’s official residence in Washington.
Pictures of the meeting show Joe Biden with Cooper, Hunter Biden, Carlos Slim, Miguel Alemán Velasco, and his son Miguel Alemán Magnani, the founder of the airline Interjet.
Hunter and Cooper sought Slim’s investment in Cooper’s online gaming company Ocho Gaming and digital wallet firm ePlata, in which Hunter had a 5.25% stake.
In addition, the then-second son earned $80,000 a year on the board of Cooper’s venture capital firm Eudora Global, in which he held a 3% stake and from which received a “one-time payment” of $300,000 in 2015.
Laptop records show Hunter Biden facilitated access to Obama-Biden administration figures, but it’s unclear what policy changes would have been at play.
Hunter set up two meetings for Alemán Magnani with then-Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for March 17, 2014, and Jan. 23, 2015, as well as a meeting with the Federal Aviation Authority’s administrator, according to laptop emails.
James Biden, who also was seeking business in Mexico, emailed Hunter on May 7, 2015, about a proposed deal that would involve Slim and oil and gas company Pemex.
“Have a very real deal with Pemex (Carlos Slim) need financing literally for a few days to a week,” James Biden wrote. “Have the seller (refinery /slims) and buyer major being delivered from pipeline in (h/ USA) Nothing is simple but this comes very close. As always the devil is in the detail! Any interest on the long skirts part?”
Joe Biden allegedly met with one of his son’s Russian associates, billionaire Yelena Baturina, and her husband, former Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, at the same April 2015 DC dinner attended by Pozharskyi.
Baturina allegedly wired $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter more than a year prior on Feb. 14, 2014, and allegedly met with Hunter and his associate Devon Archer that April in Lake Como, Italy.
It’s unclear what policy matter Joe Biden would have influenced on Baturina’s behalf, though she did evade US sanctions over the Donbas War between Russia and Ukraine that broke out in April 2014.
Baturina, who sought out US property investments with Hunter, and fellow Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, who met with Hunter in March 2012 and January 2013 to discuss real estate options, according to laptop documents, have avoided increasingly severe US sanctions against Russia’s business elite since last year’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Biden family’s links to the two billionaires remain murky, as does the scope of their eventual US property purchases.
Because the underlying FBI document dates to June 2020, it would not pertain to Biden’s actions toward Russia, or lack thereof, while president.
Hunter Biden began working for Romanian businessman Gabriel Popoviciu in early 2015 to help him challenge a corruption conviction.
Laptop emails show Hunter managed the relationship for law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, but a person familiar with the arrangements told The Post Hunter made a side agreement directly with Popoviciu that raked in “millions” more for himself and associates.
Popoviciu also hired former FBI director Louis Freeh — and Freeh called Hunter Biden directly in July 2015, just two hours before Hunter was scheduled to meet with his dad, emails show.
Hunter also flew to Romania on Nov. 15, 2016, for a two day trip to represent Popoviciu before the National Anticorruption Directorate.
The then-second son was booked for “breakfast with dad” two days after his return.
Although one of The Post’s sources said the whistleblower complaint is not believed to deal with China, the world’s most populous country was a source of Biden family riches through two separate business ventures that involved additional countries.
The first venture — the Hunter Biden-cofounded BHR Partners — was registered 12 days after Joe and Hunter Biden arrived in Beijing aboard Air Force Two in December 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Hunter introduced his father to BHR CEO Jonathan Li during the trip and Joe Biden later wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children.
In 2016, BHR facilitated a deal in which a Chinese firm bought a Congolese cobalt mine from US and Canadian companies.
Cobalt is used in electric car batteries.
The Journal reported that Hunter Biden’s “paid-in capital” to establish BHR was $425,000, according to corporate registration records, and a purported Suspicious Activity Report flagged wires totaling nearly $2.5 million among the Chinese and US BHR partners between 2014 and 2019.
One week after Joe Biden’s November 2021 virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hunter Biden’s attorney Chris Clark said his client’s stake in BHR had been divested.
However, records don’t reflect a new holder of Hunter’s 10% stake and neither Clark nor the White House provided further information on the supposed transaction, such as the dollar amount or buyer’s identity.
The second Biden family venture in China involved a relationship with CEFC China Energy, a since-defunct firm reputed to be an arm of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” foreign influence operation.
Although most known details about that project happened after Biden left office as VP, Comer has raised the possibility that the venture began while Biden remained in office.
Vuk Jeremic, a former foreign minister of Serbia and president of the United Nations General Assembly, appears to have helped Biden family members connect with CEFC leaders in late 2015 when Joe Biden was still vice president.
Hunter’s abandoned laptop included a May 2017 email from business partner James Gilliar proposing that the “big guy” get 10% of the partnership with CEFC.
A whistleblower, former Hunter Biden associate Tony Bobulinski, says that he met with the elder Biden in May 2017 to discuss the venture.
Both Bobulinski and Gilliar have separately identified Joe Biden as “the big guy.”
Hunter and James Biden ultimately received at least $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018 from CEFC, according to the Washington Post’s later review of laptop records.
The House Oversight Committee revealed in March that subpoenaed bank records show that first daughter-in-law Hallie Biden, who was married to the president’s late son Beau Biden before dating his other son Hunter, also received money from the CEFC venture — with $35,000 in transfers sent to her by a Biden family associate in early 2017.
Evidence hinting at Joe Biden’s involvement in the CEFC venture includes an October 2017 email that identifies Joe Biden as a participant in a call about CEFC’s attempt to purchase US natural gas.
Hunter Biden also asked in September 2017 for a new sign and more keys to an office he was renting in DC’s House of Sweden building.