Biden at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in 2013
|Vice Chairman of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation|
July 26, 2006 – January 29, 2009
|President||George W. Bush|
|Succeeded by||Donna McLean|
Robert Hunter Biden
February 4, 1970
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
(m. 1993; div. 2017)
Melissa Cohen (m. 2019)
|Domestic partner||Hallie Olivere (2016–2018)|
|Relatives||Joe Biden (father)|
See Biden family
|Education||Georgetown University (BA)|
Yale University (JD)
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||2013–2014|
|Unit||United States Navy Reserve|
Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American lawyer and lobbyist who is the second son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. He co-founded Rosemont Seneca Partners, an international consulting firm, in 2009.
Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019. He has been the subject of debunked right-wing conspiracy theories concerning his business dealings in Ukraine. U.S. President Donald Trump allegedly attempted to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden by withholding foreign aid, triggering an impeachment inquiry in September 2019.
In October 2019, Biden resigned from the Board of Directors of a Chinese private investment fund he co-founded, BHR Partners, saying he wanted to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest while his father was running for president.
Biden was born on February 4, 1970, in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the second son of Neilia Biden (née Hunter) and Joe Biden, who served in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 and as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Hunter Biden's mother and younger sister, Naomi, were killed in an automobile crash on December 18, 1972. Biden and his older brother Beau were also seriously injured. Hunter and Beau Biden later encouraged their father to marry again, and Jill Jacobs became Hunter and Beau's stepmother in 1977. Biden's half-sister, Ashley, was born in 1981.
Like his father and brother, Biden attended Archmere Academy, a Catholic high school in Claymont, Delaware. In 1992, he graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor's degree in history. During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon, where he met Kathleen Buhle, whom he married in 1993. After attending Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School, graduating in 1996.
Early positions, 1996–2009
After graduating from law school, Biden took a position at MBNA America, a major bank holding company which was also a major contributor to his father's political campaigns. By 1998, he had risen to the rank of executive vice president. From 1998 to 2001, he served in the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on ecommerce policy. Biden became a lobbyist in 2001, co-founding the firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair. According to Adam Entous of The New Yorker, Biden and his father established a relationship in which "Biden wouldn't ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn't tell his father about them." In 2006, Biden and his uncle, James Biden, attempted to buy Paradigm, a hedge-fund group, but the deal fell apart before completion. That same year he was appointed by President George W. Bush to a five year term on the board of directors of Amtrak. He was a board member from July 2006 until he resigned in February 2009 and the board's vice chairman from July 2006 to January 2009, leaving both roles shortly after his father became vice president. He had realized during his father's vice presidential campaign that it was time for his lobbying activities to end.
Later career, 2009–present
In May 2013, Biden's application for a limited duty position in the U.S. Navy Reserve was approved. He received an age-related waiver and a waiver due to a past drug-related incident, and was sworn in as a direct commission officer. Joe Biden administered his commissioning oath in a White House ceremony.
The following month, Biden tested positive for cocaine during a urinalysis test and was subsequently discharged. Biden attributed the result to smoking cigarettes he had bummed off of strangers, only later suspecting they had been laced with the drug. He chose not to appeal the matter as it was unlikely that the panel would believe his explanation given his history with drugs, and also due to the likelihood of news leaking to the press, though it was ultimately revealed to The Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who provided information to the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
In 2013, Biden, Devon Archer, and Chinese businessman Jonathan Li founded BHR Partners, a business focused on investing Chinese capital in companies based outside of China. In September 2019, President Trump falsely claimed that Biden "walk[ed] out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund" and earned "millions" of dollars from the BHR deal, while Trump was also accusing Biden of malfeasance in Ukraine. Trump publicly called on China to investigate Hunter Biden's business activities there while his father was vice president. On October 13, 2019, citing "the barrage of false charges" by the President, Hunter Biden announced his resignation from the Board of Directors for BHR Partners effective at the end of the month. According to his lawyer, Biden had "not received any compensation for being on BHR's board of directors," nor had he received any return on his equity share in BHR. Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, told The Washington Post that BHR Partners had been "capitalized from various sources with a total of 30 million RMB [Chinese Renminbi], or about $4.2 million, not $1.5 billion."
In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Mykola Zlochevsky faced a money laundering investigation, and his company Burisma Holdings, the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine, assembled a "high-profile international board" in response. Biden, then an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, was hired to help Burisma with corporate governance best practices, and a consulting firm in which Biden is a partner was also retained by Burisma. Chris Heinz, John Kerry's stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk. Among those who joined the board of directors in April 2014 were Biden, Archer and former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski. Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019, receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months. Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden's having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden's anti-corruption work in Ukraine. While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country's top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations. The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.
In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings, however, there is no evidence that this was what happened. There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing done by Hunter Biden in Ukraine. The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that the current investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014. Shokin in May 2019 claimed that he was fired because he had been actively investigating Burisma, but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin's dismissal. Ukrainian and United States State Department sources have maintained that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.
In July 2019, Trump ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid shortly before a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky to initiate an investigation of the Bidens. Trump falsely told Zelensky that "[Joe] Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution" of his son; Joe Biden did not stop any prosecution, did not brag about doing so, and there is no evidence his son was ever under investigation. On September 24, 2019, the United States House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump on the grounds that he may have sought to use U.S. foreign aid and the Ukrainian government to damage Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign.
Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.
CEFC China Energy
Biden helped Chinese businessman Ye Jianming negotiate a deal for Ye's company CEFC China Energy to make a $40 million investment in a liquefied natural gas project at Monkey Island, Louisiana. Ye gifted Biden a 2.8 carat diamond, which Biden said he gave away. Biden agreed to legally represent Ye's deputy, Patrick Ho, for investigations in the United States. Ho was eventually arrested and jailed in the U.S. for bribery. In 2018, the CEFC deal collapsed after Ye was detained in China, reportedly for corruption.
Biden married Kathleen Buhle in 1993, and they have three children, Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy. Biden and Kathleen separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017. In 2016, he began dating Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau; they ended their relationship by late 2017 or early 2018. In May 2019, Biden married Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker. Biden is not contesting the paternity of a child born in August 2018 in an ongoing lawsuit.
Biden spent decades struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. He has described his experiences thusly: "There's addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it's a never-ending tunnel. You don't get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it."
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There's no reason to think that Biden backed MBNA's position because his son worked there — senators normally line up with their home state's major employers' policy priorities — it's more like Hunter got the job due to his dad's overall cozy relationship with the company.
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Messrs. Trump and Giuliani have suggested that Joe Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine's general prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in March 2016 to stop an investigation into Burisma. In Ukraine, government officials and anticorruption advocates say that is a misrepresentation ... Mr. Shokin had dragged his feet into those investigations, Western diplomats said, and effectively squashed one in London by failing to cooperate with U.K. authorities ... In a speech in 2015, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Otto Pyatt, called the Ukrainian prosecutor "an obstacle" to anticorruption efforts
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US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he wants and deserves to meet the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the fast-moving scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe against him ... Brandishing what he said were affidavits incriminating Biden's son Hunter over his work at a Ukrainian company, Giuliani said Trump was duty bound to raise the issue with Kiev. Trump and his allies claim Biden, as Barack Obama's vice president, pressured Kiev to fire the country's top prosecutor to protect his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company, Burisma Holdings, accused of corrupt practices. Those allegations have largely been debunked and there has been no evidence of illegal conduct or wrongdoing in Ukraine by the Bidens.
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Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate the business dealings of the son of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner to challenge Trump in an election next year. Zelenskiy agreed. Biden's son Hunter worked for a company drilling for gas in Ukraine. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
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Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.
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There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.
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But despite Trump's continued claims, there's no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden.
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