(Headline USA) The Justice Department is investigating the finances of Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinizing some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
The revelations put a renewed spotlight on questions about Hunter Biden’s financial history, which dogged his father’s White House campaign and were a frequent target of President Donald Trump and his allies. They also come at a politically delicate time for his father, who is weighing his choice to lead an agency that is actively investigating his son.
The tax investigation was launched in 2018, the year before the elder Biden announced his candidacy for president. Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of the investigation on Wednesday, saying he learned about it for the first time the previous day.
“I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors,” he said in a statement.
It is unclear which entities or business dealings might be tied up in the probe, though the person with knowledge of the matter said at least some of focus was on his past work in China. Federal investigators served a round of subpoenas on Tuesday, including one for Hunter Biden, according to another person familiar with the investigation.
Investigators did not reach out until recently because of Justice Department practice against taking overt investigative actions in the run-up to an election, one of the people said. The people familiar with the investigation insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing probe.
Hunter Biden has a history of international affairs and business dealings in a number of countries. Trump and his allies have accused him of profiting off his political connections and have raised unsubstantiated charges of corruption related to his work in Ukraine at the time his father was vice president and leading the Obama administration’s dealings with the Eastern European nation.
Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted a quote from New York Post columnist Miranda Devine claiming, “10% of voters would have changed their vote if they knew about Hunter Biden.”
Legacy media, including the Associated Press, ignored blockbuster reports from the Post and other conservative media that revealed Hunter had questionable business relationships and received huge, multi-million-dollar payments from the wife of a former Moscow mayor, executives from a Chinese energy investment company, and corruption-ridden Ukraine gas company Burisma.
Biden is actively assembling his Cabinet but has yet to name a nominee to lead the Justice Department. That person could ultimately have oversight of the investigation into the new president’s son if it is still ongoing when Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
The transition team said in a statement, “President-elect (sic) Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”
The revelations could also add weight to Trump’s broad accusations that Biden was weak on China. Trump took a tough line on China during the campaign. Biden has rejected the characterization that he was weak and said that, unlike Trump, he would rebuild global coalitions to check China’s power.
A New Yorker profile on Hunter Biden last year detailed some of his business work in China, including how he accompanied his father on a 2013 trip to Beijing, where he met with a business associate. He also acknowledged having received a diamond from a Chinese energy tycoon interested in liquified natural gas projects.
He downplayed the idea that the gift could have been intended to affect his father’s policy. He told the magazine he gave the diamond to an associate.
“What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office,” he said.
Hunter Biden has been caught up in controversies before. While his father was vice president, Hunter joined the Naval Reserve and was discharged after testing positive for cocaine in his system, later revealing a yearslong struggle with addiction.
He also joined the board of Burisma in 2014, sparking concerns about the perceptions of a conflict of interest given the elder Biden was deeply involved in U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
In the weeks before the election, the existence of a laptop connected to Hunter Biden — and the emergence of Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner with him — raised questions about Joe Biden’s knowledge of his son’s activities in Ukraine and China. Specifically information identified a 10-percent cut from a potential business deal that was supposed to go to the “Big Guy,” which Bobulinski said was Joe Biden. The former vice president has said he did not discuss his son’s international business dealings with him and has denied having ever taken money from a foreign country.
Other information obtained from Hunter’s laptop indicated that money was held by family members on behalf of Joe so it would not show up on his required financial disclosures as a public official.
In a CNN interview last week, Joe Biden addressed the business dealings of his brothers and his son Hunter, pledging that they would avoid any perceived conflicts of interest during his time in office.
“My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict, where there’s appropriate distance from the presidency and government,” Biden said.
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.