While the Conservative heat has focused on the past business dealings of President Biden’s son Hunter for the past three years, a key Senate Republican told CBS News this week that newly obtained bank records raise similar concerns first brother James Biden.
“We have people by the Biden name who deal with Chinese businessmen who have a connection with the Communist Party,” Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge. “I think James Biden was very involved in that.”
Bank documents released by Republican senators this week show that James Biden’s company, Lion Hall Group, received payments from a China-funded advisory group in 2018 before his brother Joe announced he was running for president. Grassley says James Biden and the president’s son Hunter received monthly advances totaling $165,000 in the same year — $100,000 to Hunter and $65,000 to James.
Grassley said his team received the paperwork directly from the bank where the advisory group did business. He has spent three years investigating James and Hunter Biden’s business dealings, calling them “very concerning”.
In a September 2020 report with Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, Grassley alleged that Hunter, James and James’ wife Sara tapped into a line of credit that Hunter set up with a Chinese executive to buy more worth of airline tickets, hotels and restaurants than $100,000 to buy.
Newly released records from Republican investigators show what appears to be the 2017 request for that $99,000 line of credit, which bears the signatures of Hunter Biden and the Chinese executive.
“These records that we have been given are the first records that have ever been released on this subject. Nobody else has them,” Grassley said.
CBS News has also learned that more than 150 financial transactions involving either Hunter’s or James Biden’s global business affairs have been flagged as of concern by US banks for further review. Some of these concerns related to large transfers. Such bank checks could point to deeper problems – or prove harmless. Information shared with CBS News does not reflect the outcome of bank investigations.
In 2019, a banking deal for members of the Trump family flagged several transactions for similar scrutiny, according to The New York Times. A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said at the time that company representatives were not aware of the marked transactions.
James Biden’s name surfaced last year in connection with a separate international business venture that he abandoned after a White House ethics review flagged it as potentially having a conflict of interest.
Family members of the President are required to notify the White House Office of business commitments, which are then reviewed for conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict. The office then advises the relatives about the results and they decide how to proceed.
James Biden, 72, has reportedly been involved in a number of financial and business ventures, including insurance and political consulting jobs — even an interest in a nightclub.
President Biden has said he was not involved in his son and brother’s businesses and no evidence has surfaced to refute this.
“I’ve never taken a dime from a foreign source in my life,” Mr. Biden said at a presidential debate in October 2020.
Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, criticized Hunter and James Biden’s Chinese deals.
“I think Hunter and James Biden shouldn’t have had those relationships, period,” Weissman said. “To the extent that these arose when Joe Biden was vice president, the concern is that they’re hoping to get something directly from the Obama administration.”
Weissman added that even after Biden was vice president, there should still be concerns about the potential to “invest in these family members to reap future benefits from the possibility … of Joe Biden eventually becoming president.”
Weissman pointed to apparent conflicts of interest that arose during former President Donad Trump’s administration and criticized politicians.
“I think during the Trump administration we have seen conflicts on a scale without precedent in American history. And Republicans haven’t complained,” Weissman said. “Now legitimate issues are being raised about Hunter Biden and they are shouting about it. But there is an obvious hypocrisy.”
Hunter Biden’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment. CBS News reached out to two attorneys who represented James Biden, but they didn’t respond. The White House chief of staff said in an interview with ABC News on Sunday that Hunter and James Biden’s actions were private matters unrelated to the president.
Federal officials have confirmed that Hunter Biden is the focus of an ongoing investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware. The probe focuses on tax and other financial issues. A 2019 federal subpoena obtained by CBS News shows that the Delaware criminal investigation searched Hunter and James Bidens’ bank records dating back to 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president.