Joe Biden says Hunter is ‘on equal footing’, denies alleged gun crime

President Biden said Tuesday that his son Hunter Biden is “on equal footing” and denied that his offspring committed a felony gun purchase that the U.S. attorney in Delaware is reportedly considering charging.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked Biden to give his first public response to reporting last week by the Washington Post that the FBI believes there is enough evidence to charge Hunter, 52, with tax fraud and lying on a gun purchase form by refusing his drug use.

“Personally and politically, how do you respond to that?” Tapper asked Biden, whose own involvement in his family’s overseas dealings will be a top focus for Republicans if they win back Congress in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

“Well, first of all I am proud of my son. This is a child who got, not a child – he is a grown man. He got hooked on – like many families have happened, hooked on drugs. He has overcome that. He has established a new life,” the president told Tapper.

“He is – I’m sure he is – what he says and does is consistent with what’s happening. And for example, he wrote a book about his problems and was straightforward about it. I’m proud of him.”

Biden added, “He came and said, by the way, this thing with a gun — I didn’t know anything about it. But it turns out that when he made [an] application to buy a gun, what happened was he said —- I think you’re being asked, I don’t think you’re being asked a question, are you on drugs or do you use drugs? He said no. And he wrote about saying no in his book.”

Biden denied his son's alleged gun-buying crime.
Biden denied his son’s alleged gun-buying crime.

“So I have a lot of confidence in my son,” Biden concluded. “I love him and he’s on par and he’s been for a few years now. And I’m just so proud of him”

A Hollywood lawyer associated with the first son recently paid the IRS about $2 million in back taxes on foreign consulting income in an effort to stave off criminal charges, though that does not absolve him of the crime of failure to pay.

Critics say the potentially limited charges against Hunter Biden would be a best-case scenario for the Bidens.

“Neither prosecutors nor the press have seemed interested in pursuing allegations of criminal or corrupt practices by some members of the Biden family. Now we have this FBI leak,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley wrote last week. “These charges may be the best-case scenario for the Bidens — and many others in Washington. Indeed, the reported narrow scope of the indictment is strikingly similar to what I previously described as the ideal ‘controlled demolition’ of the scandal.”

Authorities have reportedly considered filing charges against Hunter Biden for money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying, but the status of those inquiries is unclear.

Republicans say President Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings, resulting in either corruption or conflicts of interest in his pursuit of foreign affairs.

While Vice President Joe Biden attended a DC dinner with his son in 2015, the guest list included Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, according to Hunter Biden laptop records. Baturina is one of a dwindling number of Russian oligarchs not yet facing US sanctions over Russia’s seven-month-old invasion of Ukraine. She paid $3.5 million in 2014 to a Hunter Biden-affiliated firm, according to a 2020 report by GOP-led Senate committees.

At the same dinner in 2015, a document indicates Joe Biden met with an executive from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, which paid Hunter Biden up to $1 million a year to sit on the board when his VP father ran the Obama administration’s Ukraine – policy. And a photo apparently taken at the dinner venue shows Joe Biden and his son with a trio of the then-second son’s Kazakh business partners.

Hunter Biden reportedly still owns a 10% stake in Chinese investment fund BHR Partners, which is partly controlled by Chinese state-owned entities. Hunter Biden co-founded BHR in 2013, about two weeks after flying with his father to Beijing aboard Air Force Two. While in Beijing, Hunter introduced his father to BHR CEO Jonathan Li. Joe Biden later wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s son and daughter.

In another Chinese deal, the government-linked energy company CEFC paid Hunter Biden and First Brother Jim Biden $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018, according to the Washington Post. Former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski claimed a month before the 2020 election that Joe Biden was directly involved in the CEFC deal before launching his presidential campaign.

Chinese government-linked energy company CEFC paid Hunter Biden and first brother Jim Biden $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018.
Chinese government-linked energy company CEFC paid Hunter Biden and first brother Jim Biden $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018.
NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Ge

Bobulinski said he spoke with the future president in May 2017 about the project and that Joe Biden was the “big guy” described in an email that month as being owed a 10% stake in the initiative. Another business associate, James Gilliar, also identified Joe Biden as the “big guy.”

Republicans say Biden is too soft on China on a number of issues, including Chinese exports of fentanyl, which led to a record 107,000 US overdose deaths last year. Biden also rarely mentions an interest in determining the origin of COVID-19, which killed more than 1 million Americans after possibly leaking from a Chinese lab.

Photos and emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop also indicate that in 2015 Joe Biden hosted his son and a group of Mexican business associates at the vice president’s official residence. Joe and Hunter Biden posed for a group photo with Mexican billionaires Carlos Slim and Miguel Alemán Velasco.

In 2016, Hunter Biden sent an email to one of his Mexican associates, apparently while aboard Air Force Two for an official visit to Mexico, complaining that he had not received reciprocal business benefits after “I have taken every single person you’ve ever asked me to take. to the F’ing White House and the vice president’s house and the inauguration.”

Hunter Biden’s business partner Eric Schwerin visited the White House and the vice president’s residence at least 19 times while Joe Biden was vice president, Obama administration visit logs show, casting further doubt on Joe Biden’s claims to have been unaware of his son’s business ventures.

At his 2020 impeachment trial to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, then-President Trump’s defense team cited visitation logs showing Joe Biden meeting with his son’s partner Devon Archer in 2014 around the time both Hunter Biden and Archer joined Burisma’s board.

Since his father became president, Hunter Biden launched an art career, seeking as much as $500,000 for his novice works. The White House developed a plan for these sales to be “anonymous” to theoretically prevent possible influence peddling. Hunter received at least $375,000 last year for five prints at an art show in Los Angeles attended by one of his father’s nominated ambassadors, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. It is unclear how many additional sales he may have made.

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