By Tom Ozimek
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, has released evidence of a questionable direct payment to President Joe Biden as part of his committee’s long-running corruption investigation in the president and his family.
The evidence Mr. Comer has revealed is a bank record of a $200,000 personal check to President Biden for “loan repayment,” issued by his brother and sister-in-law, James and Sara Biden, dated March 1, 2018.
According to Mr. Comer, this direct payment could be the strongest evidence yet that President Biden may have been directly involved in his family’s business dealings, a thesis that underpins the committee’s investigation.
“This summer, Joe Biden said: ‘Where’s the money?'” Mr. Comer said in an Oct. 20 statement. “Well, we found some.”
President Biden has denied any direct involvement in his family’s business affairs, a claim that Mr. Comer and others have claimed is false.
Much of Mr. Comer’s work as part of the committee’s probe has focused on proving ties between the president and his family’s business dealings.
While his committee earlier released over 20 examples of evidence tying the president to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, the evidence produced so far hasn’t risen to the rank of a smoking gun—perhaps until now.
In particular, the context of the $200,000 “loan repayment” is that court documents show that James Biden received $600,000 in loans from Americore “based upon representations that his last name, ‘Biden’, could ‘open doors’ and that he could obtain a large investment from the Middle East based on his political connections.”
On the same date that is featured on the check to President Biden (March 1, 2018), Americore wired a $200,000 loan to James and Sara Biden’s personal bank account.
“Even if this was a personal loan repayment, it’s still troubling that Joe Biden’s ability to be paid back by his brother depended on the success of his family’s shady financial dealings,” Mr. Comer said.
Implying that the check was for something other than a loan repayment, Mr. Comer has called on President Biden to prove that he lent such a large sum of money to his brother and to disclose the terms of their financial arrangement.
“Did he have similar financial arrangements with other family members that led them to make similar large payments to him?” Mr. Comer asked, adding that there are more bank records that the committee will disclose in due time as it continues to “follow the money.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, White House spokesperson Ian Sams told some media outlets that the latest revelation from Republicans investigating President Biden is nothing more than a “shiny object” meant to “distract people from they are incapable of doing the basics of governing.” remove
“It’s no coincidence they rushed out a new distraction mere minutes after yet another failed Speaker vote,” Mr. Sams said in a statement to Punchbowl News, referring to the fact that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed to win the House speakership on Friday in a third round of voting.
“After rummaging through thousands of pages of a private citizen’s bank records, they have again turned up zero evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden—and that’s because there is none,” he continued, while calling on Republicans to “stop these silly political stunts.”
Despite Mr. Sam’s current and earlier pushback on Republican claims that President Biden did something wrong with regard to his family’s business dealings, recent polling shows that most Americans believe otherwise.
Majority Believe President Did Something Wrong
A recent poll shows that most Americans believe that President Biden acted either illegally or unethically in how he handled the international business dealings of his son.
The question posed to U.S. adults by AP-NORC pollsters was the following: “When it comes to the overseas business dealings of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, do you think Joe Biden has done something illegal, or he has done something unethical but not illegal, or do you think he has not done anything wrong?”
Overall, 35 percent of responding U.S. adults said they think President Biden has done something illegal, while 33 percent said he did something unethical.
There was a partisan dimension to the results. Most Republicans (65 percent) said they believe President Biden did something illegal when it comes to his son’s business dealings, while most Democrats (58 percent) said they don’t think the president did anything wrong.
While on the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden insisted that he had no role whatsoever in his son’s business dealings.
However, the foundation of that contention has been shaken—first by the revelations of the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop, then by statements made by his former business associate Tony Bobulinski, and more recently by the explosive disclosures made by Devon Archer, former business partner of Hunter Biden.
Mr. Archer gave a closed-door interview to members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee at the end of July, in which he said the president spoke to his son’s business associates on multiple occasions.
A readout of some of Mr. Archer’s key revelations from July 31 closed-door testimony include that Hunter Biden put his father, who was then vice president, on speakerphone during business meetings over 20 times and that the elder Biden was put on the call to sell “the brand.”
While Republicans saw Mr. Archer’s testimony as proof that the president lied when he denied involvement in his son’s business dealings, the president’s supporters insisted the conversations amounted to “casual” small talk and that, at most, Hunter Biden had peddled the “illusion of access” to his father, rather than the real deal.
The White House downplayed the significance of Mr. Archer’s testimony, with Mr. Sams saying at the time that it failed to provide the kind of bombshell evidence of wrongdoing that Republicans claimed.
“It appears that the House Republicans’ own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates or doing anything wrong,” Mr. Sams said in a statement at the time.
But later, in an interview with former Fox News program host Tucker Carlson, Mr. Archer said that President Biden’s claims of having no involvement in his son’s business dealings is “categorically false.”
“He was aware of Hunter’s business. He met with Hunter’s business partners,” Mr. Archer said. He insisted that the claim that the president was in no way involved in his son’s business affairs is “not factually right.”
House Republicans have launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden over his alleged ties to his son’s business affairs.
During the first impeachment hearing on Sept. 28, witnesses said that evidence uncovered thus far suggests misconduct on the part of the Biden family, though more is needed to support impeaching the president.
“While I believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe that the evidence currently meets the standard of a high crime and misdemeanor needed for an article of impeachment,” Jonathan Turley, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School, testified.
In a memorandum to Republicans released ahead of the first hearing, GOP leaders noted that they’ve gathered evidence that the Biden family and their associates received more than $24 million from 2014 to 2019. President Biden served as vice president until early 2017.
The money was transmitted “through an exceedingly complex chain of transactions that made it difficult to track the flow of these funds,” they said in the memo.