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Analyzing GOP claims about deals with Hunter Biden allegedly involving his father ~ Washington

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“To be clear, Joe Biden is the ‘big guy.’ This evidence raises troubling questions about whether President Biden poses a national security risk and whether he is being compromised by foreign governments.”

– Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, at a Nov. 17 news conference

Shortly after Republicans claimed control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming Congress, they announced they would open an investigation into the business dealings of Hunter Biden, the president’s son, to prove that the president was also involved in some of those deals was. The press conference and accompanying report by House Republicans relied heavily on materials found on a hard drive copy of the laptop Hunter Biden allegedly left at a Delaware store for repairs in April 2019.

The laptop was a source of significant coverage of Hunter Biden’s personal and business life, but many news organizations have treated its contents with concern as it surfaced late in the 2020 presidential campaign and they were unable to verify its authenticity at the time.

Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, provided footage from the laptop to the New York Post, but declined to share a copy of the hard drive with the Washington Post and other news organizations. In 2021, the Washington Post received 217 gigabytes of data from a Republican activist who said he received it from Giuliani. The Washington Post asked two security experts to examine the data, and they found nearly 22,000 emails among those files with cryptographic signatures that could be verified using technology that would be difficult for even the most sophisticated hacker to forge.

The vast majority of the data — and most of the nearly 129,000 emails it contained — could not be verified, the security researchers said. But the Washington Post also found financial documents on the hard drive copy that matched documents and information found in other records. The New York Times separately said it authenticated a cache of emails found on the laptop concerning Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and with a Chinese company. cbs news, in a report that aired on Mondaysaid it received a copy of the hard drive directly from a repair shop lawyer and its security experts found “no evidence it was fake or tampered with.”

When asked if the GOP committee staff checked the laptop’s hard drive themselves, spokeswoman Jessica Collins said, “The laptop’s authenticity has been confirmed by multiple forensic analysts,” noting in particular the CBS report.

At several points, Comer referenced a deal Hunter Biden was attempting to strike with CEFC China Energy, an energy conglomerate. Many aspects of his financial arrangements have been scrutinized by news organizations, including the Washington Post. But at a press conference, Comer made claims that have not been proven, are disputed or appear false. Any potential connection between Joe Biden and his son’s past business relationships is particularly strained.

Here’s a guide to some of the claims made in the press conference.

“One of these deals involves the sale of American natural gas to China. Evidence suggests Joe Biden had a 10 percent stake through his son.”

— Comer, at the press conference

The phrase “evidence suggests so” does a lot of work here. Comer refers to a single email dated May 13, 2017, the meaning of which is disputed. In the hard drive copy of the laptop obtained by the Washington Post, the email lacked verifiable digital information that would allow verification.

In its reporting, the Washington Post only cites materials from the laptop that the security experts have been able to verify or can confirm elsewhere. Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger said in his 2021 book The Bidens that the email was verified as authentic by “a person with independent access to Hunter’s emails.”

The 2017 email detailed possible involvement of five partners, including Hunter Biden and his uncle Jim Biden, in a proposed project with Chinese company CEFC. The company should be called Oneida Holdings LLC.

James Gillar, a business partner in charge of splitting the equity of Oneida Holdings LLC. summarized in the email, wrote that four partners would each receive 20 percent, with the exception of Jim Biden, who would receive 10 percent. He added a question: “10 thought by H to be the big guy?” One of the recipients of the mail, Anthony Bobulinski, has said that the “big guy” refers to Joe Biden and that “H” refers to Hunter. Bobulinski was Trump’s guest at one of the 2020 presidential debates.

But Gillar told the Wall Street Journal in 2020, “I want to dispel any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved in the 2017 discussions of our potential business structure. I am not aware of any involvement of the former Vice President at any time. The activity in question has never provided any project revenue.”

Three days after the email was sent, a draft contract establishing Oneida was circulated. It shows each partner would get 20 percent, including Jim Biden. Joe Biden is not mentioned. The operating agreement signed on May 22, 2017 had the same attribution. Oneida would hold 50 percent of another entity called SinoHawk. Neither Gillar nor James Biden responded to requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal said it reviewed company records and found no role for Joe Biden. the washington post, in a detailed report on CEFC deals, also found no evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details of dealings with CEFC. The Biden campaign at the time denied that he played a role.

Comer says that deal involved natural gas, but appears to relate to a different transaction detailed below. There is no evidence that this particular deal involved natural gas.

Collins said Comer made no mistake. “Republicans on the committee have evidence that the Bidens’ deal with CEFC — a company closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party — was altered when the Bidens barred their Western partners from SinoHawk to keep the family business.” hold,” she said. When asked to present the evidence, she said only that it was “based on whistleblower information provided to the Republicans on the committee.”

In an Oct. 13 letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said an FBI summary of an interview with Bobulinski revealed that the deal was intended to close the deal partners pay that “deliberately went uncompensated while Joe Biden was vice president.” The company failed, but in a separate agreement, Hunter and Jim Biden received nearly $5 million from CEFC, Grassley noted.

“At a time when Americans are suffering from high energy prices due to this administration’s terrible energy policies, we found evidence that Hunter Biden and Joe Biden were involved in a plan to try to get China to buy liquefied natural gas .”

— Comer, at the press conference

Hunter Biden said he was talking about a $4 million joint venture that would see CEFC produce liquefied natural gas in Louisiana. However, the deal fell through when Ye Jianming, the Chinese company’s founder and chairman, was arrested in mid-February 2018. The reasons for the arrest were unclear, although Reuters reported that they were related to alleged economic crimes.

In any case, the natural gas deal appears separate from Oneida; It was a Hunter Biden company known as Hudson West III LLC. Joe Biden’s alleged involvement has never been proven.

“Hunter raised millions of dollars from this deal from companies associated with the Chinese government. In emails received from Committee Republicans, Hunter wanted keys for Joe Biden and Jill Biden, his officemate. He gave Joe Biden’s personal cell phone number and called him his partner.”

— Comer, at the press conference

Comer mixes documented facts with allusions. The Washington Post, using government filings, court documents and bank statements, found that CEFC and its executives paid $4.8 million to companies controlled by Hunter and Jim Biden. But the alleged connection of these deals to Joe Biden remains tenuous. It again depends on a single email – which also describes something that didn’t happen.

In the fall of 2017, Hunter Biden wrote to a building manager at the House of Sweden, where he rented office space. “Please have keys made for new officemates,” he wrote, listing Joe Biden, Jill Biden, Jim Biden and Gongwen Dong, whom he called “emissary” from CEFC. He also asked for the signage to be updated to say “Biden Foundation” and “Hudson West (CEFC US).”

The email was on the laptop’s hard drive, but was also confirmed by public records released by the Swedish government and first reported by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in 2021.

But a Biden Foundation official told the Washington Post the House of Sweden was never considered as a location. A spokeswoman for the Swedish agency that oversees the property said the four keys were provided as requested, but Hunter Biden never collected them. The sign on the door hasn’t been changed, she said.

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