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Hunter Biden’s Testimony in Context

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During a lengthy interview with House investigators on Feb. 28, Hunter Biden repeatedly insisted that his father was never involved in any of his businesses.

A transcript of the interview released the following day by the House Oversight and Accountability and Judiciary committees, which are conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, showed that Hunter Biden commented on numerous aspects of his business activities that Republicans have pointed to as evidence that his father was improperly involved in or benefited from those foreign business deals.

Over the course of more than six hours of testimony, Hunter Biden said that was not the case.

Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs a House Oversight Committee meeting at Capitol Hill on Jan.10 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images.

“I am here today to provide the committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business, not while I was a practicing lawyer, not in my investments or transactions, domestic or international, not as a board member, and not as an artist, never,” Hunter Biden said in an opening statement.

“For more than a year, your committees have hunted me in your partisan political pursuit of my dad,” he said. “You have trafficked in innuendo, distortion, and sensationalism, all the while ignoring the clear and convincing evidence staring you in the face: You do not have evidence to support the baseless and MAGA-motivated conspiracies about my father because there isn’t any.”

As we have written, Republicans haven’t been able to establish that Joe Biden benefited from his family’s business dealings or used his position as vice president to aid those deals. 

In the following, we will lay out some of the claims made by Republicans about Hunter Biden’s businesses and how they may have intersected with his father, and Hunter Biden’s response to those claims. Click on any one of the prompts to see a full discussion of that point.

Was Hunter Biden qualified to serve on the Burisma board?

Hunter Biden served as a board member of Burisma Holdings Ltd., one of the biggest private oil and gas companies in Ukraine, from May 2014 to April 2019, a position that he says paid him about $65,000 per month.

Republicans have pointed to the testimony of Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, who described the “illusion of access” to Joe Biden as part of the “brand” that Hunter Biden provided. Archer testified that he thought Burisma would have gone out of business if not for people being “intimidated to mess with them” legally, due to the company’s association with the Biden brand.

In an ABC News interview in October 2019, Hunter Biden was asked if he thought he would have been invited to serve on the Burisma board if his name wasn’t Biden. “Probably not,” he said.

But in his testimony on Feb. 28, Biden defiantly responded to Republicans on the committee who said “there’s no way that I should’ve been serving on the board of Burisma.” He said, “I’d put my resume up against any one of you, in terms of my responsibility.”

“I don’t know anybody that was — at that time that was teaching the No. 1-rated course at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service in the master’s program in terms of foreign policy and advocacy,” Biden said. “I literally was on 17 — like, 12 different boards. I only listed like, you know, 10 of them. And so I had an enormous amount of reasons to be on it.”

Biden said he was “always cognizant of the fact” that some companies “may have an ulterior notion” for hiring him, and “it’s my job to be able to balance that and to create boundaries.”

As for “the brand” described by Archer, Biden said, “The brand is this: is my dad, with the support of his family — in particular, my mom; my Aunt Valerie, who’s run every one of his campaigns; my grandparents; everyone — it’s their legacy. Primarily, the name ‘Biden’ is my dad’s legacy. And he passes it down to me and, when my brother was alive, my brother, my sister, now to my children. It’s our responsibility to not screw that up. It’s to live to what I think is the person that I hold in the highest regard of any human I’ve ever met in my life, is my dad.”

Biden was then asked if it was fair to say that Burisma only wanted him on the board because his father was vice president.

“No, I don’t think that it’s fair,” Biden said. “I really don’t. I really don’t think that it’s fair to say that — for that to be the entire sentence.”

Biden called Burisma “a bulwark against Russian aggression” and said he was convinced to join the board by the president of Poland, who told him that that the Biden name brought “a symbol of freedom and democracy and standing up for the Ukrainians’ desire for a democratic state against Vladimir Putin.” Biden said he “was completely comfortable with that.”

What exactly did Hunter Biden do for Burisma?

For months, Republicans have been asking a “fundamental question” about Hunter Biden, in the words of Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Jim Jordan: “What was the business you guys were in?”

The implied answer, as Republican Rep. Jason Smith said in a Fox Business interview on Nov. 29, was that Biden was hired “just for access to his father.”

The question arose in Biden’s testimony on Feb. 28.

“What types of services did you provide on the board?” Biden was asked by an unidentified representative for Republicans on the committee. “I mean, you were making a million a year [at] Burisma. What were you doing for that million?”

Biden said it was actually not a million dollars a year — at his estimate of $65,000 per month, that comes to about $780,000 per year. He said he was “the head of the corporate governance. And my responsibilities were like any other board member, to attend board meetings, to be aware of what the management was doing to try to strive for, you know, accountability, transparency, openness in terms of the reporting, to go through the financials and make certain that the financials were certified by a CPA. The whole idea was that it was a private company that was operating in Ukraine for a very long period of time in that part of the world, which doesn’t have the same high standards that the West does. And that was my goal in trying to provide a more Western-looking and acting company.”

Biden added that while he was paid a lot of money, “I don’t think, though, that it stands out necessarily from anybody that was working on a board of a Fortune 500 company that is similar in size here in the United States, that receives a board fee, along with stock options. I think actually the truth of the matter is, is it’s right in line with that.”

According to surveys conducted by Spencer Stuart, an executive search and leadership advisory firm, the average total compensation for S&P 500 directors was $321,220 in 2023. At S&P 500 companies with revenues over $10 billion, the average total director compensation was $338,592.

Did Joe Biden have Ukraine’s prosecutor general fired as a favor to his son, who was serving on the Burisma board?

In January 2018, Joe Biden disclosed during a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations that during a trip to Kyiv as vice president he privately warned Ukraine’s then-president, Petro Poroshenko, and then-prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, that the U.S. would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if Ukraine failed to deal with corruption and remove Viktor Shokin as its prosecutor general.

That action has been at the center of Republican claims that Joe Biden took actions as vice president to benefit his son.

“We believe President Biden committed a quid pro quo when he leveraged a billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money in Ukraine in exchange for firing the prosecutor, Shokin, who was investigating Burisma,” Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House oversight committee, said on CNN on Dec. 8. “We believe that Joe Biden was directly involved in the termination. We believe this … because he admitted it on tape.”

But as we have written, at the time, the Obama administration, the international community and anti-corruption advocates in Ukraine were all calling for Shokin to be removed from office for his failure to aggressively prosecute corruption.

In his testimony on Feb. 28, Hunter Biden contested the suggestion Shokin was fired at the behest of Joe Biden to prevent Shokin from investigating Burisma’s president.

“That’s the exact opposite of the truth,” Hunter Biden testified. “And I think you can go to, I don’t know, maybe 15,000 public reports. And you can talk to the IMF, and you can talk to the — you can talk to the World Bank. And you can talk to the EU, the EU Commission on Energy and the EU Commission as it related to democracy. And you can talk to the State Department, or any State Department official that testified before your committee … and they can say the exact opposite.”

“So I guess the most important point that I’d like to add and for once and for all here is that we can all agree is that there is not a single person other than [the recently indicted FBI informant] Alexander Smirnov who says that Shokin, that Shokin was fired because I was on the board of Burisma,” Biden said. “It’s literally the exact opposite, and that has been a fact now since it was first claimed. It is a fact. I’m telling you. It is a fact.”

(For the record, Shokin himself blamed Joe Biden for his firing, though he had no proof.)

“Viktor Shokin was the problem, and the entire world community was asking for his removal,” said Hunter Biden, who added that he personally “didn’t have any discussions whatsoever about Viktor Shokin. It was not a — on my radar at the time. … The one thing also to make absolutely clear is I never spoke to my dad about it. Never had any discussions with him about it, because the only honest — the only thing that would be of value here [for Burisma] would be for Viktor Shokin to stay in place, not the opposite.”

What about that alleged phone call to “Washington, D.C.,” at the request of Burisma?

Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, testified that after a Burisma board meeting in Dubai in December 2015, Hunter Biden placed a phone call to “D.C.” after the Burisma president made an appeal for political help to resolve some problems Burisma was facing at the time. After Archer’s testimony, Reps. Comer and Jordan went on TV and claimed Hunter Biden subsequently called his father, and that several days later, Joe Biden called for the firing of Shokin, Ukraine’s prosecutor general. Comer called it evidence of an illegal “quid pro quo.”

Archer said the request from the Burisma executives was “like, can D.C. help? But … there weren’t specific, you know, ‘Can the big guy help?’ It was — it’s always this amorphous, ‘Can we get help in D.C.?’ … But it was — yeah, it was a high-pressure environment, and there was — there was constant requests for help.”

Archer said he was not privy to the phone call that followed, but he initially said that in response to the request, he was told that Hunter Biden “called his dad.” Archer later clarified that the call was simply to “D.C.” and he wasn’t sure whom it was to.

In his testimony on Feb. 28, Hunter Biden said he did not recall making any call to Washington, D.C., that day, let alone to his father.

“I can say emphatically that I never, ever, ever picked up the phone to call my dad to tell him to do anything on behalf of Burisma,” Biden said.

Asked if he was contradicting Archer’s testimony, Biden noted that Archer said he did not witness the phone call, only that he assumed Hunter Biden called D.C.

“Well, Devon’s assumption was wrong,” Biden said. “I did not call D.C.”

Did he put his father on speakerphone during meetings with business associates?

Republicans heading up the impeachment inquiry have frequently cited instances in which Hunter Biden put his father on speakerphone while he was with business associates as evidence that Joe Biden knew about and participated in his son’s overseas business deals.

During his testimony to the committee, Archer revealed that on about 20 occasions over a 10-year period, Hunter Biden put his father on speakerphone to exchange pleasantries with Hunter Biden’s business associates, part of what Archer described as the “brand” that Hunter Biden brought to foreign business deals.

But contrary to what some Republicans claimed, Archer said Joe Biden never discussed any business on those calls, and typically did not even know to whom he was speaking.

During his testimony on Feb. 28, Hunter Biden defended the calls as benign and insisted they had nothing to do with Joe Biden participating in his business endeavors.

“Over the course of the last 30 years … I’m certain my dad has called me [on speakerphone],” Biden said. “My dad calls me like I’m sure a lot of your parents do or a lot of you do with your children, and if I’m with people that are friends of mine, I’ll have him say hi.”

“It is nothing nefarious literally,” Biden said. “You understand my relationship with my family. When my dad was 29 years old, he woke up one day, went to work, and got a phone call and lost his wife and his daughter. And, in that same accident, he also lost almost my brother and myself. And then, when I was 46 years old, my 47-year-old brother died.

“And in our family, when you have a call from — I call him or he calls me or I call one of my — his grandkids or one of my children, you always pick up the phone. It’s something that we always do. And you can ask anybody that I know; it does not have to do with Devon. If my dad calls me and I’m in the middle of something, I either get up from the table or I answer the phone at the table if it’s with people that I have a long-term relationship with.”

Hunter Biden testified that there were also instances when, while dining with business associates, his father stopped by and exchanged pleasantries.

When Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz raised the issue of Joe Biden sitting down at a restaurant table that included a Burisma executive, Hunter Biden drew a distinction between someone meeting his father, who was the vice president then, and “having a meeting” together.

“They did not have a meeting; they met, which is a very, very important distinction with a difference,” Hunter Biden said.

Gaetz asked Biden to clarify “how you can maintain that your father had nothing to do with your business ventures when your business associate is talking about an interaction with your father and then wanting to have coffee with you subsequently to discuss it.”

Biden said that if his father “came in this room and shook everybody’s hand, as he would, because, as you know — and you guys have to do it yourselves. You walk these halls, you go to events, you go to dinners, you go to dinners for, you know, from everything under the sun, you sit at a table, you are at a table with 14 other people; ‘It was nice to meet you,’ ‘It was nice to meet you.’ Does it mean that you had a meeting?”

Did Hunter Biden ever do business with a foreign government?

During his testimony, Hunter Biden several times tried to draw a distinction between the foreign business deals he did and the one Jared Kushner, former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, made after he left the White House with the Saudi crown prince. Kushner, who served as an adviser in the Trump White House, is reported to have received a $2 billion private equity investment from a fund controlled by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I never worked for a country,” Biden said. “I am not Jared Kushner. I never got money from a country. Not one foreign government ever gave me money, guys — none, zero, not one.”

Asked about Joe Biden’s claim that his son never received money from China, Hunter Biden said his father meant that Hunter had never received any money from the government of China.

“Unlike Jared Kushner, I’ve never received money from a foreign government,” Biden said.

(For the record, Joe Biden said in a debate with Trump in October 2020, “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China.”)

Hunter Biden acknowledged that he had received money from “a Chinese company,” adding that it was “all completely legal” and “incredibly ethical.”

Biden said he worked with CEFC, a Chinese energy conglomerate, that was at the time “the largest independent company inside of China.”

“The fact of the matter is, is that you can go back and read anything that you want about CEFC during that period of time, and the anomaly of CEFC was this: is that they were not state-owned,” Biden said. “They had taken the place of one of the large state-owned entities and had outgrown them. They were a privately held company.”

Biden said he began working for CEFC when he got a retainer in the spring of 2017, after his father left office as vice president.

“And so number one is this: is that my business with CEFC, which was completely legitimate and completely, 100 percent in line with my experience and my abilities, was done when my father wasn’t even in office,” Biden said. “He was out of office. It had nothing to do with my father. … My father never benefited from my business. My father never made any decisions as it related to my business to benefit me. My father was never financially, nor any other way, of benefit from my business.”

In January 2017, Reuters reported that CEFC had “gained financing from the state-owned China Development Bank (CDB) and has hired a number of former top officials from state-owned energy companies,” according to CEFC officials. Reuters also reported that CEFC “has layers of Communist Party committees across its subsidiaries – more than at many private Chinese companies.”

A Chinese government group took control of CEFC in March 2018, and it was declared bankrupt in 2020.

What about the time Hunter Biden claimed in a message to be “sitting here with my father” while demanding action from a Chinese businessman?

In an interview with the House Ways and Means Committee in April 2023, an IRS whistleblower who was overseeing the agency’s criminal tax investigation of Hunter Biden disclosed the agency had obtained a WhatsApp message that Hunter Biden sent to a Chinese businessman in which he invoked his father’s name.

In the July 30, 2017, WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, Biden wrote: “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled.”

“Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” Biden continued in the message. “And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”

As we wrote last year, it was a clear example of the president’s son trading on his father’s name in his business dealings with foreign companies. But IRS agents could not confirm if Joe Biden was in the room when his son sent that message, as former President Donald Trump once claimed, and Hunter Biden testified on Feb. 28 that his father was not, in fact, in the room at the time.

Biden said he had no recollection of sending the message, and that it was apparently sent while he was in the throes of his drug and alcohol addiction.

“Again, I don’t — my addiction is not an excuse, but I can tell you this: I am more embarrassed of this text message, if it actually did come from me, than any text message I’ve ever sent,” Biden said. “And I was out of my mind. I can also tell you this: My father was not sitting next to me. My father had no awareness. My father had no awareness of the business that I was doing. My father never benefited from any of the business that I was doing. And so, I take full responsibility for being an absolute ass and idiot when I sent this message, if I did send this message.”

Biden said the message was sent to the wrong person. Biden said the message went to “Henry Zhao who had no involvement, who had no understanding or even remotely knew what the hell I was even goddamn talking about” rather than Raymond Zhao who was “connected to CEFC,” the Chinese energy company for which Hunter Biden was doing business.

That mix-up “I think is the best indication of how out of my mind I was at this moment in time,” Biden said.

And so when Raymond Zhao called Hunter Biden the next day, he said, it was “not related to the message that was sent. I speak to him the next day. They’re two completely different sets of messages. One goes a number because, I made the goddamn — excuse my language again — because I made like an idiot, and I was drunk and probably high, sent a — this ridiculous message to a Zhao, to a Henry Zhao. But then the next day, I speak to a Raymond Zhao, who has never received the message that Henry Zhao got.”

Was Joe Biden the one being referenced in a proposed business arrangement that included 10% for “the big guy”?

The oversight committee obtained an email in which James Gilliar, a business associate of Hunter Biden, discussed the possible equity for the partners in a business deal that involved Hunter and CEFC, a Chinese energy conglomerate, and referenced, “10 held by H for the big guy?”

Republicans on the committee pointed to this as evidence that Joe Biden had a financial stake in his son’s overseas business deals. But as we wrote, the final draft agreement setting up the venture made no mention of Joe Biden.

“I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure,” Gilliar told the Wall Street Journal in 2020. “I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former vice president. The activity in question never delivered any project revenue.”

In his testimony on Feb. 28, Hunter Biden was asked if “the big guy” was a reference to his father.

“I truly don’t know what the hell that James [Gilliar] was talking about,” Biden said. “All I know is that what actually happened. All I know is that what was executed in the agreement, and the agreement didn’t have anything to do with my father. My father’s never been involved with my business. He’s never benefited from my business, and he’s never taken an action to benefit me or any of my business.”

Biden said it was likely “pie in the sky” thinking by Gilliar, “Like Joe Biden’s out of the office. Maybe we’ll be able to get him involved. Remember, again, is that Joe Biden, for first time in 48 years, is not an elected official and is not seeking office. And so James is probably, like, wow, wouldn’t be great if a former vice president could be in our business together? And I say you’re out of your mind. My dad knows less about doing cross-border blah, blah, blah, than he does about — I mean, it’s just ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

“And so I shut it down, and the evidence of me shutting it down is the actual things you have as evidence,” Biden said. “Remember that. The agreement, the executed agreement, the executed agreement to create a company that was never operated, that’s what happened. That’s the evidence you have. You have the evidence of the executed agreement between Hudson West Three, me, and Mr. Ye. You have that. Nothing to do with my dad, zero.”

Is Joe Biden the “my chairman” Hunter referred to in business correspondence?

Hunter Biden was asked to account for a 2017 electronic message obtained by House investigators that some Republicans speculated may have been a reference to Joe Biden’s involvement with Hunter Biden’s business with CEFC, the Chinese energy company.

The message from Hunter Biden to business associate Tony Bobulinski stated, “Hey, Tony, I have an idea. In light of the fact that we are an impasse of sorts in both James’ lawyers and my Chairman gave an emphatic no, I think we should all meet in Romania on Tuesday next week.”

In an interview with Fox News in October 2020, Bobulinski said “what Hunter is referencing there is he spoke with his father, and his father is giving an emphatic no” to proposed terms of a deal with CEFC.

A later message from another business associate, Rob Walker, to Bobulinski stated, “When he said ‘his chairman,’ he was talking about his dad, and I think your dismissal of it may have offended him a bit, but you didn’t know what he was talking about.”

During his testimony before the oversight and judiciary committees on Jan. 26, Walker was asked, “If Joe Biden had no involvement in the business dealings, why would Hunter Biden refer to him as chairman, and why would you associate the chairman to be Joe Biden?”

“That is what I was thinking he was referring to,” Walker said. “If I reread it, I’m not positive.”

In his Feb. 28 testimony, Hunter Biden said he was not referring to his father as “my chairman,” and that both Bobulinski and Walker were mistaken.

“The reference here to my chairman is clearly to the two different chairmen. If you do business and you’ve ever been to China, anyone that is — whether you’re the — you run a popsicle stand or you run a multinational corporation, you’re referred to as the chairman,” Biden said. “And, in CEFC, there were two people that we regularly referred to as chairman. One was Chairman Ye, who was the titular chairman of the company, and the other was Mr. Zhang. Chairman Zhang, also when you would meet with him, you would refer to him as Chairman Zhang. … Tony and James were talking to Zhang. I was
talking to Ye, which is one of the conflicting things between us to begin with. That’s the chairman I’m referring to.”

“I don’t know that I’ve ever, ever referred to my father as my chairman,” Biden said, adding that the suggestion his message was referring to his father was “laughable.”

Did Joe Biden share office space with Hunter?

In a Sept. 13, 2023, press release claiming to reveal “Evidence of Joe Biden’s Involvement in His Family’s Influence Peddling Schemes,” Republicans on the House oversight committee pointed to a Sept. 21, 2017, email from Hunter Biden that “show[s] that Hunter Biden, CEFC officials, and Joe Biden would share offices under the Hudson West/CEFC/Biden Foundation name.”

Rep. Gaetz asked Hunter Biden about the email during his testimony.

Biden said it was sent during a time that he was “in active addiction.” Biden said his lease of office space at a building in Washington, DC, that also houses the Swedish Embassy was up for renewal “and they were not going to renew my lease.”

“And I said to them, ‘Look, I’m not going to be the sole person that’s in this. I want it for the Biden Foundation, and this could be an office space,” Biden said. “It was a beautiful office space. It can be for my mom and my dad. … I didn’t get the lease. I … left the office, and no one in my family or anyone else, including myself, ever got a key to the [House of] Sweden again.”

“In my addled brain at the time, it was a way that I was going to redeem myself, is that I was going to show everybody that I was okay, that I wasn’t out of my mind in the midst of addiction, and that what I was going to do is that I was going to get my mom this beautiful corner office that was there, and she would love it, and we’d all be okay, and everything would go back to normal,” Biden said. “And my dad was out of office now, and we could all do things as a family. And it just — you know, it was pie-in-the-sky ridiculousness. They never took an office. They never got anything, and I didn’t — and I didn’t even remain in that office.”

Under questioning from Gaetz, Biden acknowledged that he “contemplated” the deal, but that it never happened. Besides, he said, at the time his father was out of office.

“So it’s okay to do business with your dad when he’s out of office is your testimony?” Gaetz asked.

“Of course, it would be okay to do business with my dad when he’s out of office,” Biden responded.

The arrangement, he said, would not have involved Joe Biden in his business with CEFC.

“This isn’t about doing business with Chinese,” Biden said. “I wanted it for the Biden Foundation, for it to be housed in the office space that I had. And I just contemplated that.”

The Biden Foundation was a nonprofit founded in 2017 by Joe and Jill Biden with the stated mission to “champion progress and prosperity for American families.” The foundation suspended operations in April 2019 when Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president.

Did Hunter Biden accept payments from the wife of the ex-mayor of Moscow?

A joint report issued by the Republican staff of the Senate Finance and Homeland Security committees less than two months before the 2020 election alleged that “Hunter Biden and his associate, Archer, had a financial relationship with Russian businesswoman Elena Baturina.” Baturina was the wife of the late Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

In August 2023, Comer issued a press release in which he said, “Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina transferred $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca Thornton,” which he said was “a shell company associated with Hunter Biden and Devon Archer.”

During his congressional testimony, however, Archer said he was involved in a $120 million real estate deal with Baturina, CEO of the real estate company Inteco, that involved two warehouses in Brooklyn. Archer said a $3.5 million commission from Baturina ended up in an account for Rosemont Seneca Thornton, a company in which Hunter Biden held an ownership stake. “Quite frankly,” Archer said, “it was not supposed to go there, but that’s where it went.”

Archer said that Biden was “not involved” in the real estate deal, and that the money was supposed to have gone to Rosemont Realty. Archer said Hunter Biden had only a “minimal” connection to, and no ownership stake in, Rosemont Realty.

During his testimony on Feb. 28, Biden was asked if Baturina paid $3.5 million “to the companies you were involved with.”

“Listen, I had nothing to do with Rosemont-whatever entity, the realty or whatever it is. That was Devon’s,” Biden said. “I never received a dime from Ms. Baturina. I didn’t have any involvement with her in any way.”

“That was Devon’s relationship,” Biden said. “And I think that she made an investment into, according to Devon, into actual commercial property.”

What about the alleged $5 million bribes paid to Hunter and Joe Biden?

Republicans did not bring up the allegations made by an FBI informant that the president of Burisma paid bribes to both Hunter and Joe Biden, allegations that were once a centerpiece of the House impeachment inquiry. But Hunter Biden did.

On Feb. 15, the Department of Justice indicted the former FBI informant, Alexander Smirnov, for lying to the FBI in 2020, when Smirnov claimed that Joe and Hunter Biden each received a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian company, while Joe Biden was vice president. In a Feb. 20 court filing, the Justice Department alleged that Smirnov has ties to Russian intelligence officials and his “efforts to spread misinformation about a candidate of one of the two major parties in the United States continues.”

During his questioning of Hunter Biden on Feb. 28, Rep. Gaetz asked if Biden had ever bribed anyone, solicited a bribe or had anyone solicit a bribe from him. Biden responded “no” to all of those. But Gaetz said his inquiry was related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, under which, he said, “you can actually be guilty of paying a bribe if you pay money to a family member.”

Gaetz later asked if a dinner attended by a Burisma official, which Joe Biden also attended, amounted to a bribe.

“I would love to see the evidence of that,” Biden responded. “I think the only person … that you believe that has evidence of that is a guy named Alexander Smirnov, who’s in lockup in L.A. right now, being charged and indicted for lying on behalf of Russian intelligence.”

Earlier in his testimony, Biden made mention of Smirnov, telling Republicans on the committee that Smirnov “has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father” and “has been indicted for his lies.”

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