The House Ways and Means Committee released hundreds of pages of evidence Wednesday as Republicans seek to build an impeachment case against President Joe Biden over allegations he was inappropriately involved in his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
The evidence, provided by two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers, is expected to be used in Republicans’ first impeachment inquiry hearing Thursday morning as they lay out why they believe the allegations against the president could amount to high crimes and misdemeanors.
The material was dense and included dozens of text messages, email chains, reports, and other records from the past decade. The whistleblowers, veteran IRS criminal investigators, had access to the information because of their heavy involvement in the Department of Justice’s investigation into Hunter Biden.
Presenting the material during a press conference, committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) said it clearly showed that Joe Biden’s “political power and influence was ‘the brand’ that Hunter Biden was selling all over the world.”
“Even more alarming, the Biden family foreign influence peddling operation suggests an effort to sway U.S. policy decision,” he said.
Below are some of the items the committee released.
1. An admission by Hunter Biden that he was selling his “family’s brand.”
Among a collection of Hunter Biden’s text messages was a scathing response he wrote in 2017 to one of his business associates about his now-former business partner Tony Bobulinski.
It featured the same language another of his former business partners, Devon Archer, used when he testified about the “Biden brand” to Congress in July.
“Bull***t James – all around bull***t. Explain to me one thing Tony brings to MY table that I so desperately need that I’m willing to sign over my family’s brand and pretty much the rest of my business life?” Hunter Biden wrote, asking why he would give over the “keys” to his “family’s only asset.”
Later in the same string of messages, Hunter Biden threatened that he had superior access to “intel,” writing, “Oh and if you want we can an all do a conference call with my guy and his intel. Slightly better I’d say than yours James.”
It is unclear who “my guy” is.
2. An email from Lesley Wolf instructing an FBI agent to excise mentions of Joe Biden from a warrant.
Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who worked under the case’s lead prosecutor, then-U.S. Attorney David Weiss, emailed federal investigators in August 2020 to “as a priority” remove any mention of “Political Figure 1,” who was Joe Biden, from a draft of a warrant.
She instructed them to “focus on FARA evidence only,” a reference to the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which Hunter Biden has been accused by the whistleblowers of violating.
Along with the email was the redacted warrant draft showing Joe Biden was “Political Figure 1.”
3. A spreadsheet showing Joe Biden was part of the DOJ’s investigation and that he met with Devon Archer right before his Ukraine trip.
A color-coded timeline that one of the whistleblowers said was “utilized throughout the investigation” centered largely on Joe Biden’s time as vice president.
One item showed that Archer “reportedly meets with VPOTUS” days before Joe Biden traveled to Ukraine in April 2015.
Another item showed that days before that visit, Hunter Biden met with former Biden 2020 campaign manager Greg Schultz, who investigators noted was “Believed to be Senior Advisor to Joe B.”
It documented how, weeks after the Ukraine trip, Hunter Biden was named to the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma, from which he would go on to profit millions of dollars.
It showed Hunter Biden’s former business partner Eric Schwerin providing Hunter Biden with then-Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s personal email address, as well as the already public detail that Hunter Biden had lunch with Blinken in July 2015.
4. Numerous references to “father,” “dad,” and “VP” in Hunter Biden’s messages among business associates and family.
The messages include the already public comment Hunter Biden made to a Chinese businessman in which he aggressively wielded his father as leverage.
“I’m sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” Hunter Biden wrote, threatening that the businessman would “regret” not following through for the Bidens. Joe Biden later denied he was in the room.
The same businessman days later sent best wishes to “[Hunter Biden], Jim and VP.”
Later that year, he told Kelly Liu he wanted her to meet his father and attempted to coordinate that meeting in New York.
The same collection of messages also included many personal messages among Biden family members and Hunter Biden, who was grappling with drug addiction and indicated on a number of occasions that he needed money from his father.
5. An IRS communications director reveals CNN was aware of non-public details about the case in 2021, including that Hunter Biden had allegedly shot down a plea deal.
The IRS criminal investigation office’s communications director sent an email saying he wanted to make others in his office “aware” of information a CNN producer had.
“Producer has an email from Hunter saying he expected all of this ‘stuff’ to go away when his dad becomes President,” the communications director wrote.
He added, “Producer said he is aware that a plea deal has been offered to Hunter but Hunter is not willing to accept it.”
Others in the IRS responded to the communications director that they were not aware of the plea deal, raising questions about why a CNN producer would have referenced one.
Hunter Biden was indicted this month on charges related to a gun incident in 2018. Weiss is expected to bring charges against him for the 2016 and 2017 tax years as well after he filed a plea deal this summer that included those charges.
The plea deal, for its part, fell through after a federal judge raised concerns about provisions she said could wrongly preclude Hunter Biden from future charges. The first son’s defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, has since accused now-special counsel Weiss of reneging on the agreement and caving to Republican pressure.
In response to the documents released Wednesday, Lowell said, “One thing is clear — this has been and continues to be an unprecedented, improper attempt to influence and interfere with the ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney in Delaware.”
In a veiled shot at Weiss, Lowell said Republicans and the whistleblowers had already “infected the judicial proceedings when prosecutors tried to undo an agreement they made with Mr. Biden.”
“We can only hope that the Justice Department will resist this additional political pressure with respect to any continuing investigation of Mr. Biden,” he added.
A spokesperson for Weiss declined to comment on the committee’s document release.