President-elect Joe Biden’s brother James is caught up in an FBI investigation, it emerged Thursday – the day after Hunter Biden confirmed he was the target of a federal tax probe.
Agents have asked about James Biden, one of Joe’s two younger brothers, during an investigation into a hospital business in Pennsylvania in which he was involved, Politico reported.
The business, Americore, ran rural hospitals and was raided by agents in January after entering bankruptcy. Politico reported that in the course of their investigation, the FBI has asked about James Biden’s involvement in the business.
He has been described as its ‘principal,’ but has disputed that description and his role is the subject of litigation in at least two states. In one court case he was accused of dropping his brother’s name to drum up business.
The revelation came after Hunter admitted he was the target of a separate tax investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware, focused on his extensive – and lucrative – Chinese business dealings.
Hunter said in a statement that he was unaware of the investigation until Tuesday and expected to be cleared, although CNN reported that it had asked his spokesman about the investigation on Monday. A grand jury has been sitting in Delaware as part of the investigation.
The revelation of two Bidens being caught up in federal probes was described Thursday as ‘family corruption’ by Republican Arkansas senator.
Federal authorities had paused their investigation into Hunter in the run up to the election.
Oh brother: James Biden, 70, is the elder of the president-elect’s two younger brothers. He and his wife Sara have made investments and deals in the health industry. His involvement in bankrupt hospital chain Americore is being asked about by FBI agents as part of a federal probe
Target: Hunter Biden said Wednesday that he was the subject of a federal investigation into his taxes. The probe was started in 2018 but paused for the election
Attack: Republican senator Tom Cotton called the Biden revelations ‘family corruption’
Now the election is over, prosecutors in Delaware, the IRS Criminal Investigation agency and the FBI, have stepped up their probe by issuing subpoenas and seeking interviews.
The decision for investigators and prosecutors not to move on Hunter, and possibly on James too, before the election appears to have been made because of the Justice Department’s convention known as ‘the rule of forbearance.’
Although it is not codified in law or formal guidance to U.S. Attorneys, Barr re-iterated the principle in April, telling conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt: ‘The idea is you don’t go after candidates.
‘You don’t indict candidates or perhaps someone that’s sufficiently close to a candidate, that it’s essentially the same, you know, within a certain number of days before an election.’
Previous attorneys general have warned against taking ‘affirmative steps’ in investigations inside 60 or even 90 days periods before elections.
It is unclear whether Barr was aware of the Biden probes at any time or who made the decision that the one into Hunter was ‘sufficiently close’ to Joe himself to be put on hold.
The U.S. attorney for Delaware, David Weiss is, like all U.S. attorneys, a Trump appointee, but it is likely the decision was made inside the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. itself. The DoJ declined to comment.
The Biden-Harris transition team put out a statement Wednesday from Hunter Biden and President-elect Joe Biden, in which Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation for his taxes
The ‘rule of forbearance’ itself has been described as ‘unclear’ by critics, including former U.S. attorney Chuck Rosenberg.
Critics say that it forces prosecutors to make judgments on who is close to a candidate, and on what an ‘affirmative step’ means without a clear rule to refer to.
The ‘rule of forbearance’ was cited by the White House as one of the reasons for firing James Comey as director of the FBI in 2017, with then deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein saying Comey’s letter revealing the re-opening of the probe into her secret server days before the election was a breach of the long-held principle.
It is also unclear if James Biden benefited from it during the Americore investigation, and whether he is directly a target of the FBI.
Americore’s founder and CEO, Grant White, was reported to be under investigation in January 2019 when his home and his office in Ellwood City, PA, were raided by the FBI.
He has been accused in court documents filed as part of Americore Health’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy of siphoning off cash for himself and of ‘gross mismanagement,’ which he denies.
Americore ran hospitals in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Arkansas and James Biden became involved with the business in 2017, Politico has reported.
James Biden has previously launched investments in health care but there are conflicting accounts in court documents of whether he was an investor in Americore, or was doing business with it.
One former Americore executive told Politico that James Biden had promised to arrange an injection of capital into it from the Middle East, which did not materialize.
Two smaller medical companies alleged in court that James Biden called himself the ‘principal’ of Americore and one said that he dropped his brother Joe’s name, and the family’s cancer foundation, to encourage them to do business with Americore, which then failed to pay them fully.
James Biden is also part of his nephew Hunter’s Chinese business dealings, with claims that he and his wife Sara got credit cards from another deal which they used to pay for up to $100,000 at hotels and restaurants and shops including the Apple store.
And emails found on Hunter’s laptop showed that he planned to have James cut in on a deal he was trying to set up with California businessman Tony Bobulinski in China.
The new focus on Hunter scrutinizes some of Hunter Biden’s Chinese business deals.
While the probe started in 2018, a new round of subpoenas went out Tuesday, including to Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden’s business dealings – particularly those in Ukraine and China – have been politically problematic for his father for more than a year.
Hunter Biden was doing business in foreign countries while his father was serving as President Barack Obama’s vice president.
He’s been accused of profiting from his father’s political career.
President Donald Trump’s impeachment involved a scheme to pressure the Ukrainian president into announcing an investigation into Hunter and Joe Biden – a likely 2020 rival – while holding up $400 in military aid.
There were suggestions that Hunter Biden was being investigated when The New York Post published emails in October from his laptop, given to the newspaper by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Federal authorities are actively looking into the younger Biden’s dealings including whether Hunter and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws when doing business in foreign countries, but mainly China, CNN said.
Tony Bobulinski, the former business associate of Hunter Biden who appeared at the final presidential debate as a guest of Trump, where he’s pictured, seemingly revealed the existence of the investigation in the weeks leading up to the presidential election
Hunter Biden is a ‘subject/target’ of the grand jury investigation. A target means there’s a ‘high probability that person committed a crime’ and a subject is someone considered to have possibly committed a crime.
Fox News reported that the start of the investigation came from transactions from ‘China and other foreign nations’ which triggered Suspicious Activity Reports in the Treasury, prompting the probe.
One item of interest to investigators could be a 2.8-carat diamond gifted to Hunter Biden in 2017 from the founder and former chairman of CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, after a Miami business meeting, CNN said.
The diamond was part of the original inquiry, but it’s unclear if it’s still a focus, the network reported.
Hunter Biden described receiving the diamond during his July 2019 interview with The New Yorker, saying that after meeting Ye and offering to use his contacts to help the Chinese businessman identify liquified natural gas projects in the U.S., the diamond was sent to his hotel room.
Hunter Biden said he didn’t interpret as a bribe. ‘What would they be bribing me for?’ he asked. ‘My dad wasn’t in office.’
But he decided not to keep the gem anyway.
‘I knew it wasn’t a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird,’ he said.
Hunter Biden said he gave the diamond to one of his associates and he didn’t know what happened to it.
NBC News also reported that Hunter Biden and his ex-wife Kathleen Buhle had an IRS lien against them for unpaid taxes amounting to $112,805.09 – though it’s unclear if this is connected to the ongoing investigation.
Buhle, however, in their divorce documents listed ‘a large diamond’ among Hunter Biden’s possessions.
She valued the diamond at $80,000. Hunter Biden said it was worth closer to $10,000.
Ye was later detained by Chinese authorities as part of an anti-corruption investigation, The New Yorker said, and a deal he and Hunter Biden were working on in Louisiana fell through. Hunter Biden told the magazine he didn’t believe Ye was a ‘shady character at all’ and called what happened ‘bad luck.’
Tony Bobulinski, the former business associate of Hunter Biden who appeared at the final presidential debate as a guest of Trump, seemingly revealed the existence of the investigation in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.
Bobulinski told Sinclair’s James Rosen that he was interviewed by FBI agents a day after he appeared at the debate and briefly spoke to the press, alleging that Joe Biden was in on Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
He said he turned over three cell phones to the FBI.
‘They do list me as a material witness within the entire FBI on their computer systems and it was a very cooperative deep dive into all the facts across that time period,’ Bobulinski told Rosen.
He said he was a witness ‘in connection with the discussion of the Biden family, CEFC and other operations around the world involving other countries,’ Bobulinski said, name-dropping the company Ye founded.
Prior to the Nashville debate, Bobulinski said, ‘At my approximately hour-long meeting with Joe that night we discussed the Biden’s history, the Biden’s family business plans with the Chinese with which he was plainly familiar at least at a high level.’
He said the venture, which never took off, involved British businessman James Gilliar and former Clinton administration official Rob Walker.
During a Fox News interview, Bobulinski said he met with Joe Biden twice – on May 2 and May 3, 2017 in Los Angeles. There, Joe Biden was told by Hunter Biden they were working on a Chinese-backed infrastructure project.
Without providing evidence, Bobulinski also alleged that Hunter Biden had received $5 million from his Chinese partners and that Joe Biden was the individual described as ‘the big guy’ in emails – a suggestion that he expected a share in the profits.
Joe Biden’s Wednesday statement echoed the support he gave for his son during the first presidential debate against Trump, who mocked Hunter Biden for his drug use.
Biden had just finished talking about Beau Biden when the president interjected, ‘Are you talking about Hunter? He got thrown out of the military for cocaine use.’
‘My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem. He’s fixed it, he’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son,’ the former vice president said then.
WHO’S WHO IN THE HUNTER FILES
Vice president’s son was well-known to be seeking business deals in China. He traveled there in 2013 on Air Force Two and introduced his father to a business partner, Jonathan Li. In 2017, after his father left office, he pursued a relationship with Ye Jianming
Chairman and founder of CEFC China Energy, 43. A wunderkind of the Chinese energy world. Gave Hunter a diamond in 2017 as they pursued a business relationship. But in November 2017 company was accused of bribery in Africa by the DOJ, and in March 2018 he was arrested in China, reportedly on the orders of Xi Jinping. Has not been seen or heard from since but a prosecution in 2018 saw a senior Communist leader accused of taking bribes from him
Zang Jian Jun
Senior executive at CEFC and also a senior figure in the China Chamber of International Commerce
Penn State wrestler and Navy veteran turned-California businessman, 48, who appears to have done other business in China. Unclear how he and Gilliar know each other. Other business ventures include an investment in a Chinese men’s clothing company called VLOV
Bill Clinton administration official who is now co-founder of a technology-focused private equity firm, Pilot Growth. His wife Betsy Massey Walker was Jill Biden’s assistant when she was Second Lady
British-born 56-year-old businessman based in the Czech Republic. Set up jc2r, the company which is in the emails, in 2015. It is no longer active. Gilliar appears to breed race horses with his wife, Erika and appears to also be an adviser to a holding company run by the leader of Abu Dhabi’s son
Joe Biden’s younger brother and a serial entrepreneur who has long faced claims of profiting from his brother’s political career. He and Hunter were in business together in 2006 when they bought investment firm Paradigm Global Advisors which they unwound in 2010 after connections to a Ponzi fraudster emerged
The Chairman and The Big Guy
Said to be Joe Biden in many of the text exchanges although Hunter’s messages do not state this directly