Two top Republicans are seeking answers related to a reported 2018 gun incident involving President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, firing off a trio of letters to the FBI, Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about their possible responses to the event a few years ago.
Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson said that they are “seeking information from federal law enforcement agencies regarding their reported role in an incident involving a firearm belonging to Hunter Biden long after Biden’s U.S. Secret Service protection had ended” and are “asking why the Secret Service became involved in the incident despite Biden’s elapsed status as a protectee, and seeking further information from both the FBI and ATF.” The senators asked for responses to all of their requests by April 8.
Members of the Secret Service attempted to retrieve gun paperwork from a Wilmington, Delaware, shop in October 2018 after a firearm allegedly owned by Hunter Biden went missing, according to a Thursday report by Politico .
According to a police document obtained by the outlet, Biden’s sister-in-law Hallie, who started a romantic relationship with him after her husband, and his brother, Beau, died in 2015, took the gun and placed it in a public trash can near a grocery store. After his sister-in-law told him where she placed the firearm, Biden instructed her to go retrieve the gun later that day, but she found it was no longer in the trash where she threw it away. Local police were notified and alerted to the scene.
The senators wrote to U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray about the report’s claim that Secret Service agents may have been involved in responding to the incident, saying, “If true, USSS must explain to Congress why such informal actions were taken and whether they were necessary in light of the circumstances.”
“Please provide all records relating to your agency’s involvement in the alleged October 2018 incident with respect to Hunter Biden’s firearm no later than April 8, 2021,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “Further, USSS failed to fully respond to our October 20, 2020, letter relating to emails that reference travel plans for Hunter Biden involving USSS agents one year after Hunter Biden’s protection ended. We continue to expect a complete response to that letter.”
While the report said the Secret Service was involved in the matter, the agency told the Washington Examiner that it had “no involvement in this incident.”
Joe Biden, who was not under Secret Service protection at the time, said through a White House spokesperson that he has no knowledge of the service’s involvement in the incident. A White House spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Examiner that Biden was not under Secret Service protection in 2018, as the family’s full-time protection lasted from 2009 to 2017 before resuming in March 2020.
The GOP letter to ATF acting Director Regina Lombardo noted that “the gun store owner reportedly provided the paperwork” to the bureau and asked the ATF to “please provide all records relating to your agency’s involvement in the alleged October 2018 incident.” The ATF directed questions about this to the Delaware State Police, which has declined to comment. The letter to FBI Director Chris Wray said that “the FBI reportedly ‘responded to the scene’; however, it is unclear what actions, if any, the FBI took” and asked the FBI to “please provide all records relating to your agency’s involvement.”
No charges or arrests followed the gun saga.
Hunter Biden has reportedly been under criminal investigation for years as federal authorities scrutinize his taxes and potentially his foreign business dealings, and the 51-year-old’s financial transactions with China might be at the forefront. Attorney General Merrick Garland testified during his confirmation hearing in February that he had not discussed the investigation with Joe Biden.
In addition to the police report, Politico obtained copies of the Firearms Transaction Record dated Oct. 12, 2018. The Federalist published a copy of the form, purportedly filled out by Hunter Biden, on Friday.
Hunter Biden responded “no” to a question on the transaction record that asked, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” His response came five years after he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. Biden said in a statement at the time that it was “the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. I respect the Navy’s decision. With the love and support of my family, I’m moving forward.”
He and his family have publicly discussed his history of drug use, and he is releasing a memoir touching on his drug addiction, titled Beautiful Things,” next month.
Lying on the firearms form is a potential felony. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that prosecutions for lying on a form are rare, but such prosecutions do happen.
Secret Service agents allegedly asked the owner of the gun store to hand over the paperwork related to the sale. The Politico report said Ron Palmieri, the owner of Starquest Shooters & Survival Supply in Delaware, refused because he was concerned they might hide Biden’s ownership of the gun.
The firearm reportedly went missing after it was placed in the garbage. The gun was reportedly handed in days after the investigation started in 2018 by a person who regularly digs through the trash to collect recyclable items, according to the Politico report.
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