The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee launched more attacks Wednesday against President Joe Biden and his family, alleging that family members of the president engaged in business with foreign nationals without detailing evidence of any wrongdoing.
President James Comer, R-Ky., sent a memorandum on Wednesday morning to Republican members of the panel, which is investigating the finances of the Biden family, about what he described as information the committee had recently received subpoenas from four banks. The memo said the subpoenas were «tailored to specific individuals and companies that were engaged in business activities with members of the Biden family and their business associates.» It does not detail a specific accusation of a crime committed by the president’s family.
The memo provides limited details about the Biden family’s allegations of business dealings with foreign nationals. He alleges that the activities of the Biden family and their associates in Romania «show clear indications of a plan to sell influence from 2015 to 2017,» saying that while Biden was vice president, his son Hunter, through an associate, received more than $1 million from a company controlled by a Romanian official accused of corruption.
NBC News reported that in 2016 Hunter Biden provided legal advice to a Romanian businessman accused of real estate fraud.
There is no evidence that Hunter Biden or his father acted inappropriately or violated any law.
The memo also says that the «activities of the Biden family and their associates in coordination with Chinese citizens and their corporate entities appear to be an attempt to engage in financial deception.» The memo reiterates allegations Comer made against Hunter Biden in March, when he alleged that the president’s son and at least two other relatives received $1.3 million from a Hunter Biden associate who had received $3 million from a Chinese energy company that was affiliated. with another company Hunter Biden had been doing business with. NBC News has reported that there was no indication that Joe Biden played any role in his son’s dealings in China.
democrat employees issued his own memo to Democrats in committee later Wednesday, hours after Comer’s was published, accusing Comer of making «baseless allegations against President Biden and his family based on carefully selected and misleading information on bank documents,» including Suspicious Activity Reports, or SARs, reviewed the committee at the Treasury Department. . The memo alleges that Comer has «intentionally mischaracterized SAR documents, presenting unverified leads from financial institutions as fact.»
«The inexplicable misuse by committee Republicans of these confidential police documents is not only irresponsible, but demonstrates the hyperpartisan nature of the committee’s Republican investigation into the Biden family,» the memo said.
Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement accompanying the memo’s release that Comer «has provided no factual evidence to support his wild allegations about the president,» adding: «He continues bombarding the public with innuendo, misrepresentation and outright lies, recycling unsubstantiated claims from stories that were debunked years ago.
«Unable to implicate the President directly, Republicans on the Committee have resorted to the use of carefully selected bank records, misrepresentations of confidential and unverified bank reports known as SARs, and unsubstantiated conspiracy theories to target the President’s family, including his grandchildren. «.
In response to Wednesday’s memo, White House spokesman Ian Sams said Comer «has a history of playing with facts and spreading unsubstantiated innuendo while refusing to conduct his so-called ‘investigations’ legitimately.»
“He has withheld information from the public to selectively leak and promote his own hand-picked narratives as part of his overall effort to launch personal attacks on the president and his family,” Sams said in a statement.
«Instead of staging another political stunt, Chairman Comer and House Republicans should do their jobs, avoid unconditional default and prevent a devastating economic collapse that could cost millions of Americans their jobs,» he said.
In a statement, Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s attorney, denounced Comer’s latest memo for failing to provide concrete evidence of wrongdoing.
“It’s been five years of investigations into Hunter Biden and his legitimate business activities and still the Republicans have nothing to show for it,” Lowell said. “Senate Republicans spent two years chasing the conspiracies behind ‘Pizzagate’ and ‘the Big Lie’ and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. Now comes Rep. Comer, who has spent the last five months making wild predictions without proof, asking dumb questions out loud and failing every time, even today.»
Lowell accused Comer of including «retreaded and repackaged misstatements of perfectly appropriate meetings and business dealings by private citizens» in the memo.
“Instead of redoing old investigations that found no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden, Rep. Comer should do the same examination of the many entities of former President Trump and his family members,” he said.
Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney who emerged as a key witness in a criminal case against him, criticized Comer’s memo in a call with reporters Wednesday morning.
“The irony of Comer’s claims about the Biden family should not be lost by the fact that Trump’s children benefited more than anyone in the history of their father’s presidency,” Cohen said.
Cohen also accused Comer of «auditioning» to become Trump’s «future vice president.»
“If there is wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, present the evidence, not the insinuation, and allow the system to make a determination,” he said.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Comer detailed the Oversight Committee’s next steps after the memo was released. Comer said he sent a subpoena to the FBI last week to provide the committee with a form FD-1023, which documents interactions with a confidential source, that a «whistleblower has alleged he is in the possession of the FBI.»
“If they do, the committee will evaluate the form you have requested from the FBI. And as has been my practice, we will only tell you the facts when they are verified and indisputable.»
The FBI later denied Comer’s request for the document.
Comer also said the committee is considering legislation «addressing deficiencies that it has identified in the ethics laws and disclosure laws for immediate family members, a vice president, and the president.» It is also considering legislation that would «strengthen reporting requirements related to certain foreign transactions involving family members of senior elected officials,» he said.
In addition, Comer said the committee is evaluating the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering laws to «determine whether financial institutions had the tools available and the support of federal agencies to thwart illegal money laundering and corruption.» foreigner”.
Asked if the committee will be able to prove that the president was directly involved in his son’s business dealings and that policy changes were influenced by it, Comer did not provide examples of specific policy decisions that were influenced.
“Look at some of the decisions that Joe Biden made as president – there are a lot of decisions that we would make a strong case for putting China first and America last,” Comer said. «So these are the types of decisions we’ll get into later.»
As the newly appointed chairman of the Oversight Committee, Comer in January renewed his request for the Treasury Department to turn over documents related to the business enterprises of members of the president’s family, including «suspicious activity reports» related to Hunter Biden and the brother of the president, James Biden.
Comer said at the time that the committee «is concerned about the national security implications resulting from President Biden’s family receiving millions of dollars from foreign nationals» and «will continue to follow the trail of money and facts to determine whether the President Biden is committed to the rights of his family.» commercial schemes and if there is a threat to national security”.
In his memo Wednesday, Comer said again that the committee «plans to collect additional bank records in the near future and continue to follow the money trail» as part of its commitment to «stopping out fraud, waste and abuse that exists at the most high level of the federal government.»
Hunter Biden’s finances, specifically his tax payments to the IRS, have been under investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware since 2018, during the Trump administration, before his father was elected president. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The federal investigation has narrowed from an inquiry into his international business dealings, including potential national security implications, to an examination of the income he earned from those companies and a false statement he allegedly made during a gun purchase, they said. sources last year. month.
Federal prosecutors have considered charging Hunter Biden with three tax offenses, possibly two misdemeanor failure to file taxes and a single felony tax evasion related to a tax year’s business expense, and one offense related to the purchase of weapons, two sources familiar with the matter said.
CORRECTION (May 10, 2023, 10:35 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the form of government Comer is seeking from the FBI. Document interactions with a confidential source. It is not used to apply for tax exemptions.