Tuesday, October 1, 2019


Hunter Biden made $850,000 on board of Ukraine gas company

The son of Vice President Joe Biden, a lawyer-lobbyist with no known expertise in the production, transport, or distribution of natural gas, or in the complex financial operations of such a business, was placed on the board of the largest gas company in Ukraine in April 2014 and remained there until spring of this year, netting some $850,000 in payments.
The Hunter Biden-Ukraine connection has become the trigger for the opening of impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but the connection itself is worth examining in its own right. The younger Biden’s career sheds light on the decay of American democracy and the vast social gulf that has opened up between the ruling elite and the vast majority of the population, struggling to survive from paycheck to paycheck, and, as a recent survey found, unable to afford paying an unexpected bill of $400.
Hunter Biden, now aged 49, is the former vice president’s younger son, and the sole survivor among his children. Naomi, then a year old, was killed in the 1972 car crash that also took the life of Biden’s first wife. Beau Biden, the older son by one year, died of brain cancer in 2015.
The younger Biden has always been the black sheep of the family, even according to various sympathetic accounts, most of them appearing in publications—The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post—favorable to the Democrats.
The New Yorker piece, at more than 10,000 words by far the longest, published in July, was obviously planted by the Biden campaign for the purpose of venting all the bad news about Hunter Biden as a preemptive measure against anticipated stink bombs from the Trump campaign.
It was prepared through lengthy interviews by reporter Adam Entous with Hunter Biden. And it delivers a lot of bad news about a career devoted apparently to influence-peddling and drug abuse, both on a scale that matches or exceeds that of any dubious relative of any previous president, at least until Donald Trump.
Hunter Biden was hired by MBNA bank in Delaware, fresh out of Yale Law School, and paid a six-figure salary at the age of 26 because his father was a senator from that state and a fervent defender of the bank and credit card industries. MBNA was then the largest US issuer of credit cards.
He then moved to Washington to take a position in the last years of the Clinton administration. Once the Republicans came to power with the George W. Bush administration, in 2001, he became a lobbyist, helping Jesuit Catholic colleges insert earmarks into congressional appropriations bills.
When earmarks became more difficult to obtain, and after losing money in a speculative venture on the eve of the 2007-2008 financial crash, Biden formed a “consulting” group with Christopher Heinz, stepson of Senator John Kerry and an heir to the Heinz fortune, and a Yale friend of Heinz’s, Devon Archer.
Inevitably, after his father’s election as vice president, given a prominent international role in the Obama-Biden administration, Hunter Biden’s consulting firm branched out into global deal-making, focusing on countries where influence-peddling would be most lucrative and actual business credentials least necessary, among others, China and Ukraine.
In China, the younger Biden traveled on Air Force Two in 2013 with his father, who was making an official trip to Beijing. In the course of this, Hunter Biden introduced a Chinese business partner, Jonathan Li, to the vice president. He left China with promises of future investments, although not with the $1.5 billion that Trump now falsely claims. According to Hunter Biden’s attorney, no money has yet flowed from that particular connection.
Another Chinese business prospect gave 
Hunter Biden a diamond worth either 
$80,000 (according to his ex-wife’s divorce
suit) or $10,000, according to Biden’s 
response to the suit, but in any case, 
much beyond the normal range of 
business gratuities.
But Ukraine is where Hunter Biden has apparently cashed in most extensively, trading on his father’s name and position. In 2013-2014, a right-wing populist movement backed by the CIA and the German government gained the upper hand in an internal power struggle within the Ukraine capitalist class.
The Maidan “revolution” was actually a right-wing coup, spearheaded by outright fascist forces, some of whom marched under Nazi insignias, against the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was aligned with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine has been a “wild west” for the operations of foreign intelligence services and capitalist oligarchs at least since the so-called Orange Revolution of 2004, the first successful effort by Washington to bring to power a US-backed regime in one of the major countries emerging from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Photo: Joe, Hunter Biden Golf with Ukraine Energy Company Board Member in 2014

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter golfing in the Hamptons with Devon Archer, who served on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Hunter.
Tucker Carlson Tonight

A newly-unearthed photo shows former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter sharing a round of golf with Devon Archer, who sat on the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings alongside Hunter.

The photo, first obtained by the Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, is believed to have been taken at the Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York in 2014. Both Hunter Biden and Archer both joined Burisma Holdings as board members in April 2014.

The photo raises serious questions regarding the extent to which Joe Biden is aware of his beleaguered son’s overseas business deals — something the top-tier 2020 White House hopeful claimed earlier this month he has never discussed with his son.
“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden told reporters during a campaign stop in Iowa. “I know Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader. You should be looking at Trump.”
However, in a wide-ranging interview with New Yorker magazine, Hunter Biden claimed that he and his father discussed his business activities in Ukraine “just once.”
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Biden forced out former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as he was investigating an energy company called Burisma Holdings, which was paying Biden handsomely as a member of its board. The former vice president even boasted to the Council of Foreign Relations last year that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired. (He did not tell the audience about his son’s role.) Conservatives claim Biden obstructed justice to protect his son — who enriched himself using his father’s prestige.
Appearing Sunday on the Fox News Channel’s Life, Liberty & Levin, Breitbart News senior contributor and Secret Empires author Peter Schweizer pointed out how the former vice president’s son was appointed as a board member of Burisma Holdings despite his lack of experience in the energy sector.
“The key question here that nobody seems to want to ask in the media is: What was he being paid for? He wasn’t being paid for his expertise. What was he being paid for? And what were the Ukrainians expecting to get in return?” Schweizer asked host Mark Levin. “I think when you overlay the financial payments with the fact that Joe Biden as point person on Obama administration policy to Ukraine was steering billions of dollars of Western money to Ukraine it becomes crystal clear exactly why they were paying him money. They wanted access and they wanted to influence Joe Biden. And Joe Biden has been around a long time here, and he had to know exactly why his son was being paid.”
The photo’s emergence comes as House Democrats are moving swiftly with an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump over his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he raised the issue of Hunter’s business dealings in the eastern European country. A partisan CIA officer, with second-hand knowledge of the call, filed a so-called “whistleblower” complaint with the intelligence community about the conversation, alleging Trump sought to exchange U.S. military aid for a probe into Hunter. However, both Trump and Zelensky have denied any pressure to look into the Biden family was applied and the White House, in a nod to transparency, released the transcript of leaders’ July 25th conversation last week.

Schweizer: Biden Family ‘Cashing in Through’ ‘Corruption by Proxy’

On Monday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Breitbart News Senior Contributor and Secret Empires author Peter Schweizer stated that the Biden family has cashed in through “corruption by proxy.”
Schweizer said, “What I think it adds up to is the Biden family cashing in through — by corruption by proxy. … Joe Biden, as Vice President, or his wife Jill Biden can’t take payments from foreign entities. That would have to be disclosed. That would be easy to catch. But you set up your adult kids.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

Five Times Hunter Biden’s Business Dealings Presented a Conflict of Interest for Joe Biden

Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to voters at the East Las Vegas Community Center on September 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Biden is still the front-runner in most national polls but his lead over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is narrowing. (Photo by Ethan …
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter, has a long and muddled history of profiting from business interests tied to the former vice president’s political influence.

The younger Biden, who has a storied history of personal and professional issues, is at the center of controversy after President Donald Trump suggested the Ukrainian government look into his business dealings in the country. Although the Bidens are denying any wrongdoing, even going to the extent of accusing Trump of abusing his power, the situation only underscores the shadowy nature of Hunter Biden’s professional life.
Breitbart News is providing an indepth breakdown of instances in which Hunter Biden’s business interests directly intersected with his father’s position in elective office.
1. Joe Biden’s top campaign contributor hired Hunter fresh out of law school.
Shortly after Joe Biden was reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, his largest campaign contributor, the credit card issuer MBNA Corp., hired Hunter for an undisclosed role. The job raised eyebrows from ethics watchdogs since MBNA employees had just donated $63,000 to Joe Biden’s reelection campaign in what appeared to be a coordinated manner designed to sidestep federal campaign finance regulations.
Clouding the picture even further was the fact that then 26-year-old Hunter Biden was a recent graduate of Yale Law School with no banking or business experience. Both father and son defended the job offer, claiming nothing improper had or would result because of the arrangement.
“Unfortunately, no matter where I went to work, some people would make an issue of it,” the younger Biden told the Delaware News Journal in November 1996 when the job was announced.
Despite his role being unknown at the time of his hiring, when Hunter Biden left the company in 1998 to join the Clinton-era Commerce Department it was as a senior vice president.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Joe Biden was championing bankruptcy reform legislation endorsed by financial interests and credit card companies such as MBNA.
2. Hunter Biden was on MBNA’s payroll while Joe Biden was writing bankruptcy reform legislation. 
In the early-2000s, Hunter Biden remained on MBNA’s payroll as a consultant while his father was writing and pushing the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. The arrangement, which did not become public until after the law was passed, started in 2001 after Hunter Biden had left his position in the Commerce Department. Hunter Biden was paid monthly consulting fees, with some claiming they ranged upwards of $100,000, to advise the company on online banking issues.
The 2005 bankruptcy law tightened regulations to make it extremely difficult to declare bankruptcy. The law was heavily favored by MBNA and other giants in the banking and finance sectors. Many consumer protection advocates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have claimed the bill benefited special interests at the expense of consumers. Some have even suggested the law only served to hasten and aggravate the recession of the late 2000s.
As previously reported by the New York Times, Biden worked against many of his own fellow Democrats in Congress to ensure the final version of the bill was free of provisions opposed by companies such as MBNA.
Biden “was one of five Democrats in March 2005 who voted against a proposal to require credit card companies to provide more effective warnings to consumers about the consequences of paying only the minimum amount due each month,” the Times noted.
3. Hunter Biden sought to monetize off his father’s political standing on Wall Street. 
In 2006, shortly before Joe Biden assumed the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and launched his second presidential campaign, Hunter purchased a hedge fund called Paradigm Global Advisors with his uncle, James. Although neither had a strong background in finance, James and Hunter believed they could leverage Joe Biden’s political connections to their benefit.
“Don’t worry about investors,” James Biden, the former vice president’s younger brother, purportedly told Paradigm’s senior leadership upon taking over the fund, as reported by Politico. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden.”
Paradigm’s executives claim that James and Hunter Biden saw the hedge fund as a way to “take money from rich foreigners who could not legally give money” to Joe Biden’s campaign account.
“We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s filled with cash ready to invest in this company,” James Biden allegedly told Paradigm’s staff.
As part of their effort to cash in on Joe Biden’s political influence, Hunter and James also tried to solicit labor unions to invest their pension funds with Paradigm. The duo’s main argument when pitching to unions was their access and ties to Joe Biden, who has a long record of advocating for collective bargaining.
The entire approach proved unsuccessful after a series of bad investments — including a partnership with a Ponzi scheme. James and Hunter eventually chose to strip the hedge fund of all its assets in 2010, selling them to the highest bidder before shuttering it indefinitely.
4. Hunter Biden’s firm scored a $1.5 billion deal with the Bank of China only days after his father paid an official visit to the country. 
As Peter Schweizer, a senior contributor at Breitbart News, revealed in his bestselling book — Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends — Hunter Biden inked a multi-billion dollar deal with a subsidiary of the state-owned Bank of China in 2013. The deal, which was the first of its kind, created a private equity fund, Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) to invest Chinese money overseas.
The timing of the lucrative deal has been brought into question as it came only 12 days after Hunter visited China with his father aboard Air Force Two. Officially, the then-vice president was visiting the country amid escalating tensions over islands in the South China Sea and decided to bring his granddaughter and son along. In a March 2018 interview with Breitbart News Tonight, however, Schweizer detailed the political machinations that preceded Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion venture with China. Schweizer said:
In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China. To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. So basically, no challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.
Since its creation, BHR has invested heavily in energy and defense projects across the globe. As of June, Hunter Biden is still involved with BHR, sitting on its board of directors and owning a minority stake of the fund estimated to be worth more than $430,000.
5. The Obama-Biden administration helped facilitate the sale of U.S. company with insight into military technology to BHR and a Chinese state-owned defense firm. 
In 2015, BHR and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) — an aerospace and defense conglomerate owned and operated by the Chinese government — made a $600 million bid to purchase Henniges, a Michigan-based automotive company.
The sale required approval from the Obama-Biden administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) as AVIC was a subsidiary of the Chinese government and Henniges produced “dual-use” anti-vibration technology with U.S. “military applications.” CFIUS, which is made up of representatives from 16 different federal bodies including the departments of State, Treasury, and Defense, is required to review any transaction with national security implications.
When the AVIC and BHR’s bid was first announced, alarm bells went off in certain sectors of the defense industry. In particular, many noted that AVIC was “reportedly involved in stealing sensitive data regarding the Joint Strike Fighter program,” which it later “reportedly incorporated … into China’s J-20 and J‑31 aircraft.”
Despite the national security concerns, CFIUS approved the deal with AVIC purchasing 51 percent of the company and BHR taking ownership of the other 49 percent. Upon purchase, an industry newsletter stated the deal was the “biggest Chinese investment into US automotive manufacturing assets to date.”
Although the deal was approved by the Obama administration, it has not escaped congressional scrutiny. In August, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) launched a probe into whether or not the CFIUS decision was influenced by either Joe Biden or former Secretary of State John Kerry, whose stepson was also involved in the venture.
“The direct involvement of Mr. Hunter Biden and Mr. Heinz in the acquisition of Henniges by the Chinese government creates a potential conflict of interest,” Grassley noted when launching the probe.

Left declares Trump guilty of Ukraine corruption using circumstantial evidence, but ignores circumstantial evidence of Biden’s corruption

In recent days, the Left, which today includes not only the Democrat Party, but also 90% of the media and 95% of the Best People, has juiced up a narrative about President Trump’s conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, loudly proclaiming that President Trump carried out a “shakedown” of the Ukrainian President to “get dirt” on a “political opponent”, namely former Vice President Joe Biden. The claims have resulted in House Speaker Pelosi announcing the start of a pseudo- impeachment “inquiry” against the President.
On the other hand, the Left repeatedly claims there is “no evidence” of wrongdoing by Vice President Biden concerning his threats to withhold 1.2 billion dollars in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine unless a Ukrainian prosecutor was fired within six hours.
Biden bragged of getting the prosecutor fired, January 23, 2018
YouTube screen grab (croppped)
Let’s break this down: First, the Left says that the Trump/Zelensky conversation was a “shake down.” By coming to that conclusion, the Left employs what is called in the legal world circumstantial evidence. President Trump did not say “I am shaking you down by withholding funds until you do what I say.” That would be direct evidence of a shakedown. Never mind that there was no mention of aid to Ukraine during the conversation, or that the conversation about Biden and his son was a few seconds in a 30-minute phone call, or that President Zelenski said he did not feel any pressure. The Left has concluded that both Presidents are lying, and the circumstantial evidence proves it.
The Left is correct about circumstantial evidence. Under the law, circumstantial evidence is as valid as direct evidence. Indeed, many, if not most jury verdicts and court decisions are based on circumstantial evidence
As far as Vice President Biden is concerned, his bragging in a videotaped conversation in 2018 at the Council on Foreign Relations that he told the Ukrainians the U.S. would withhold 1.2 billion dollars of loan guarantees unless they fired a prosecutor is about as close to direct evidence you will get of a shakedown. The prosecutor was investigating Burisma, a natural gas company in Ukraine. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had been appointed to the board of Burisma. Despite Hunter Biden’s lack of experience and his troubled history of drug addiction—and the utter lack of evidence as to what services he performed for Burisma, he was awarded $50,000 a month by the company.
The circumstantial evidence supports the conclusion that Vice President Biden’s threat was intended to stop a prosecution that may implicate Biden’s son. Indeed, the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in a sworn affidavit, stated: “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings a natural gas firm active in Ukraine, and Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors.” Yet the Left claims there is no evidence of corruption.  In order to sustain their position, the Left has to conclude that the prosecutor is lying under oath, and that in the Biden case, circumstantial evidence is “no evidence.”
Similarly, the Left’s conclusion that President Trump wanted to “get dirt” on a “political opponent” is based on circumstantial evidence of the President’s motives. The circumstantial evidence to support this conclusion is apparently based on the fact that Joe Biden may be the Democrat Presidential candidate in 2020.
The Left’s conclusions about the President are based on two fallacies. First, they assume that the investigation requested by the President was not legitimate. However, there is strong circumstantial and even direct evidence that the Vice President used his office to obtain a highly lucrative gig for his troubled son, and that he used his power to stop an investigation into that transaction.
If true, that is big league corruption.
Second, the Left concludes that the President has no authority to request a corruption investigation against the Vice President because Biden is a “political opponent”. To the contrary, as Left is fond of saying, no one is above the law, even political opponents. Just ask President Obama.
The President was asking a foreign leader to investigate corruption by a man who was a heartbeat away from the presidency. That was not only a legitimate request, but an obligation of the President of the United States. Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” If a high elected official is engaged in selling his office to benefit his son—which the circumstantial evidence indicates-- the President has an obligation to “take care” that this corruption is investigated.
The Left is complicit in this corruption. It has two vastly different legal standards for the Republican President of the United States and the Democrat former Vice President. Its position is clear: accountability does not depend on what you do, but who you are. That is the antithesis of the rule of law.
Deborah Bucknam is a lawyer in Vermont.

No comments: