Two top Republicans are asking the Justice Department and intelligence community to hand over to Congress any and all intelligence records tied to Chinese government-connected foreign nationals who had business dealings with Hunter Biden.
Concerns about President Joe Biden’s son gained broader attention late last year after multiple outlets reported that he is being federally investigated in connection with his taxes and potentially related to his overseas business with China and other countries. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin directed their Wednesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, asking for answers about Hunter Biden’s financial ties to a number of Chinese businessmen.
“As you know, we have been reviewing financial transactions and connections between and among members of the Biden family and foreign nationals connected to the communist Chinese government, including its military and intelligence services,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “It’s imperative that Congress better understand the relationship Ye Jianming, Gongwen Dong, and Patrick Ho had between and among themselves, with the communist Chinese government, CEFC China Energy, and their activities in the United States, including those relating to the Biden family. Accordingly, please produce all intelligence records, including but not limited to, all FISA-derived information relating to these three individuals no later than April 14, 2021.”
When Ho, one of Chinese energy tycoon Ye’s lieutenants, was charged by the Justice Department in 2017, the first call he reportedly made after his arrest was to Joe Biden’s brother, James, who has said he thought the call was meant for Hunter Biden. Ho was indicted and convicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for his role in a global money laundering and bribery scheme aimed at government officials in Africa. The Justice Department also accused Ho of helping with Iranian sanctions evasion and working to use the Chinese company’s connections to sell weaponry to Chad, Libya, and Qatar. Ho was sentenced to three years in prison in March 2019 and was deported to Hong Kong in June. Ho had tried reaching out to Joe Biden’s son for help because he agreed to represent Ho as part of his efforts to work out a liquefied natural gas deal worth tens of millions of dollars with CEFC China Energy leader Ye, who has since disappeared in China.
The court docket for Ho indicates the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York sought Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act authorities against Ho in February 2018. Grassley and Johnson said the FISA against Ho was a sign “indicating his potential counterintelligence threat to the United States.” A federal appeals court upheld the criminal convictions against Ho in late December.
Grassley and Johnson said Ye “reportedly had links to the communist regime’s People’s Liberation Army” and that CEFC China Energy was “a company with extensive links to the communist regime.” A Senate GOP report noted that, in 2017, Ye was “actively working to build CEFC by making investments around the world” and “these efforts involved cultivating ties with Russia and actors connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
A supplemental report from Grassley and Johnson noted an October 2017 text message in which Hunter Biden said he talked to Ye on a “regular basis” and claimed that he was the “first guest in his new apartment” and helped Ye “on a number of his personal issues (staff visas and some more sensitive things).”
A Senate GOP report from September concluded that Hunter Biden also “opened a bank account with” CEFC deputy Gongwen Dong to fund a $100,000 global spending spree with James Biden and James’s wife, Sara. The Republican senators pointed to a Fox News report on 2017 emails in which Hunter Biden asked an office manager to make keys available to Joe and James Biden as well as “Gongwen Dong (Chairman Ye CEFC emissary)” and referred to them as “office mates” while asking for the sign to say “The Biden Foundation” and “Hudson West (CEFC US).” Grassley and Johnson said that “if accurate, the sharing of office space with Chinese nationals and entities linked to the communist regime and its military demands additional explanation.”
The senators asked the DOJ and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to “please send all unclassified material directly to the Committees” and said that “if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the Committees, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security.”
A Senate Republican report from September concluded that “Ye raised concerns with Hunter Biden that one of his associates, Patrick Ho, was under investigation by U.S. law enforcement” in 2017 and “Hunter Biden subsequently agreed to represent Ho.” In August 2017, CEFC Infrastructure Investment “wired $5 million to the bank account for Hudson West III,” which was linked to Hunter Biden. In addition, in March 2018, a $1 million payment was sent from Hudson West III to Hunter Biden’s firm, Owasco, with a memo line for “Dr Patrick Ho Chi Ping Representation.” It is not clear what legal work Hunter Biden provided to Ho.
Grassley and Johnson said that “Hunter Biden was well aware of Patrick Ho’s links to the communist Chinese government, specifically its intelligence services” and pointed to a recording reportedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop by the National Pulse, in which Hunter Biden purportedly said: “I have another New York Times reporter calling about my representation of Patrick Ho — the f—ing spy chief of China who started the company that my partner, who is worth $323 billion, founded and is now missing.”
Joe Biden’s campaign, along with many in the media, had dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop story as being part of a Russian disinformation operation, even though Trump Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that “there is no intelligence that supports that … Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” A recent ODNI report released by the Biden administration did not mention the laptop.
Back in 2017, former business partner Tony Bobulinski worked with James Biden, Hunter Biden, and others to create a business dubbed SinoHawk, formed to establish a joint venture with CEFC. Bobulinski repeatedly expressed in 2017 messages to his business partners and in emails to CEFC that he expected the venture to get off the ground with $10 million in startup money from the Chinese businessman. The money never showed up, but Grassley and Johnson concluded that millions of dollars were ultimately sent by CEFC to accounts linked to James and Hunter Biden instead.
In October, Bobulinski also corroborated the authenticity of a May 2017 email found on Hunter Biden’s laptop from investor James Gilliar to himself, Hunter Biden’s business associate Rob Walker, and James and Hunter Biden detailing a business deal between CEFC and themselves, which included a reference to money for “the big guy” — whom Bobulinski claims was Joe Biden.
Joe Biden said during the presidential debate in late October that he has “not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.” The president has denied any knowledge of his son’s overseas business dealings and involvement in any wrongdoing.
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