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Hunter Biden

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Hunter Biden
Biden in 2014
Amtrak Vice Chairman of the Board
In office
July 26, 2006 – January 29, 2009
President
Succeeded byDonna McLean
Amtrak Member of the Board
In office
2006–2009
Personal details
Born
Robert Hunter Biden

(1970-02-04) February 4, 1970 (age 54)
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
Spouses
  • (m. 1993; div. 2017)
  • (m. 2019)
Children5, including Naomi
Parents
RelativesBiden family
Education
Occupation
  • Lawyer
  • investor
  • lobbyist
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Navy
Years of service2013–2014
RankEnsign
UnitUnited States Navy Reserve

Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American attorney and businessman. The second son of U.S. President Joe Biden and his first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, Hunter was two years old when a car crash killed his mother and one-year-old sister, Naomi, and seriously injured both him and his older brother, Beau. In his memoir, Beautiful Things, Biden wrote of his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, which escalated after Beau's 2015 death from brain cancer.[1][2]

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1996, Biden worked as a banker, lobbyist, and legal representative for lobbying firms. He later worked as a hedge fund principal and a venture capital and private equity fund investor. Biden was a founding board member of BHR Partners,[3] a Chinese investment company, in 2013, and later served on the board of Burisma Holdings, one of the largest private natural gas producers in Ukraine, from 2014 until his term expired in April 2019.

Since early 2019, Hunter and his father Joe have been the targets of false allegations of corrupt activities concerning Ukraine.[4] The New York Post published an article in October 2020 about a laptop computer that had belonged to Hunter Biden, which Donald Trump attempted to use to hurt Joe Biden's campaign by using it to claim that while in office, Joe Biden has acted corruptly regarding Ukraine to protect Hunter.[5]

Biden's tax affairs have been under federal criminal investigation since late 2018.[6][7][8][9] He first pled guilty, then pled not guilty to the tax-related charges including tax evasion, and is scheduled to face trial for the charges in September 2024.[10][11][12] During Biden's initial guilty plea on tax charges, he had admitted to "illegally owning a gun while a drug user" because he knowingly denied drug use when applying for a gun purchase permit.[13][14] Biden was later indicted on and convicted of three federal firearms-related felony charges in June 2024.[15][16][17]

Early life and education

Biden as a child, c. 1980s

Robert Hunter Biden was born on February 4, 1970,[18] in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the second son of Neilia Biden (née Hunter) and Joe Biden.[19] Hunter Biden's mother and younger sister Naomi were killed in an automobile crash on December 18, 1972.[20][21] Biden and his older brother Beau were also seriously injured but survived. Beau suffered multiple broken bones while Hunter sustained a fractured skull and severe traumatic brain injuries.[22] Both spent several months in the hospital, during which time their father was sworn into the U.S. Senate in January 1973.[23][24][25] Hunter and Beau later encouraged their father to marry again,[26] and Jill Jacobs Stevenson became their stepmother in 1977.[19] Biden's half-sister Ashley was born in 1981.[27]

Like his father and brother, Biden attended Catholic high school Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware.[19] He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Georgetown University in 1992.[19] During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon, and met Kathleen Buhle, whom he married in 1993.[19] After attending the Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School and graduated in 1996.[19]

Early career

After graduating from law school in 1996, Biden accepted a consultant position at the bank holding company MBNA, whose employees donated more than $200,000 to his father's senate campaigns over the years.[19][28][29] Biden delayed his start date at MBNA to serve as co-chair for his father's reelection campaign.[30] By 1998, Hunter Biden had risen to the rank of executive vice president.[19] Biden departed from MBNA in 1998. He then served at the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on ecommerce policy for President Bill Clinton's administration.[31] In 2001, Biden became a lobbyist, co-founding the firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair.[32] According to Adam Entous of The New Yorker, Biden and his father established a relationship in which "[Joe] Biden wouldn't ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn't tell his father about them".[19] In 2001, he was also rehired by MBNA as a consultant, where he was paid a yearly $100,000 retainer until 2005.[30] MBNA's rehiring of Biden was controversial because his father was pushing for passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which was beneficial to the credit card industry and supported by MBNA during Biden's time at the bank.[19][33] The legislation made it more difficult to get bankruptcy protection.[33]

Biden was appointed to a five-year term on the board of directors of Amtrak by President George W. Bush in 2006.[34] Biden was the board's vice chairman from July 2006 until 2009, was replaced as vice chairman in January 2010,[35] and resigned from the board in February,[36] shortly after his father became vice president. Biden said during his father's vice-presidential campaign that it was time for his lobbying activities to end.[19]

Investor, lobbyist, philanthropy

In 2006, Biden and his uncle James Biden purchased international hedge fund Paradigm Global Advisors with an $8 million promissory note.[32] The joint promotion of the fund by an entity of the troubled Stanford Financial Group hastened the unwinding of the company in 2010.[37] In September 2008, Hunter Biden founded a consultancy company named Seneca Global Advisors that offered to help companies expand into foreign markets.[38] Biden was a partner in investment vehicles that included the name "Seneca" to denote his participation.[39] In 2009, Biden, Devon Archer, and Christopher Heinz founded the investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca Partners.[32] Biden also co-founded venture capital firm Eudora Global.[27] Biden held the position of counsel in the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in 2014.[19] From 2011 to 2017, Biden was on the board of directors of World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) charity based in Washington, D.C., that supports the work of the UN World Food Programme; he served as board chairman from 2011 to 2015.[40]

A detailed analysis of Hunter Biden's hard drive by NBC News showed that Biden and his firm were paid $11 million from 2013 to 2018,[41] including $3.8 million in payments from CEFC China Energy,[42] a defunct oil and gas company with links to the Chinese Communist Party,[43] as well as from Burisma Holdings.[41]

BHR Partners

From 2013 to 2020, Biden served as a member of the board of the China-based private equity fund BHR Partners, of which he acquired a 10% stake in 2017 at a discount to actual value and with borrowed money.[44][45] The founders of BHR Partners included Biden's Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm (20% equity), along with US-based Thornton Group LLC (10% equity) and two asset managers registered in China.[46][19][38] The Chinese-registered asset managers are the Bank of China (via BOC International Holdings-backed Bohai Industrial Investment Fund Management) and Deutsche Bank-backed Harvest Fund Management.[47]

In September 2019, while Trump was accusing Hunter Biden of malfeasance in Ukraine, he also falsely claimed that Biden "walk[ed] out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund".[48] Later in 2019, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Trump was wrong about his claim that Hunter received $1.5 billion stating that Trump had no evidence to support the claim and that Trump incorrectly interpreted BHR's past fundraising target of $1.5 billion; BHR invests by raising money from other companies, but doesn't keep those funds.[49] Trump publicly called upon China to investigate Hunter Biden's business activities there while his father was vice president.[50][51]

Hunter Biden announced his resignation from the board of directors of BHR Partners, effective the end of October 2019, citing "the barrage of false charges" by then-U.S. President Trump.[52][53] This was confirmed by Biden's attorney, who said in November 2021 that his client no longer held any direct or indirect interest in BHR.[3] However, as of April 2020, Chinese business records showed that Hunter Biden remained a board member of BHR.[54] 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.[55] 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 (Renminbi), or about $4.2 million, not $1.5 billion".[48] Biden’s solely-owned company Skaneateles LLC owned a 10% equity stake in BHR as of December 2020.[56][57] In November 2021, New York Times reported that "Chinese corporate records show Skaneateles remains a part owner of BHR".[3] Skaneateles was dissolved in 2022.

BHR Partners invests Chinese venture capital into tech startups, such as an early-stage investment in Chinese auto hailing app DiDi[49] and cross-border acquisitions in automotive and mining, for example, the purchase of a stake in Democratic Republic of Congo copper and cobalt producer Tenke Fungurume Mining.[58][59] The New York Times reported that BHR Partners helped finance a coal-mining company in Australia that was controlled by a Chinese state-owned enterprise, assisted a subsidiary of a Chinese defense company in acquiring an auto parts manufacturer in Michigan, and facilitated the $3.8 billion purchase of the DRC cobalt mine. A former BHR board member told the Times that Biden and the other American BHR founder, Devon Archer, were not involved in the mine deal.[3][60][61]

Burisma Holdings

In April 2014, Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings owned by Ukrainian oligarch and former politician Mykola Zlochevsky, who was facing a money laundering investigation just after the Ukrainian revolution.[62][63][64] Biden's business partner, Devon Archer, had joined the board of Burisma several months prior. Biden was hired to help Burisma with corporate governance best practices, while still an attorney with Boies Schiller Flexner, and a consulting firm in which Biden is a partner was also retained by Burisma.[65][66][67] Christopher Heinz, John Kerry's stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk.[63] Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019,[66] receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month.[66][65] Because Joe Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates[68][69] and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Joe Biden's anti-corruption work in Ukraine.[19][63] 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,[70][71] who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations.[72][73] The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.[74][75]

Since early 2019, Hunter and his father Joe Biden have been the subjects of false and baseless claims of corrupt activities in a Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory pushed by then-U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies.[4] Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed in 2019, without evidence, that Joe Biden had sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings. Actually, it was the official policy of the United States and the European Union to seek Shokin's removal.[76][68][70][77][78] There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden in Ukraine.[79][80] The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that its current investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period from 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014.[81] Shokin, in May 2019, claimed that he was fired because he had been actively investigating Burisma,[82] but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin's dismissal.[63][82][83] Ukrainian and United States State Department sources note that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.[77][69][84]

In July 2019, Trump ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid[85] shortly before a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which Trump asked Zelenskyy to initiate an investigation of the Bidens.[86][87] Trump falsely told Zelenskyy 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.[88] The United States House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment inquiry on September 24, 2019, 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.[89] Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Riaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Riaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.[70][90][91]

During 2019 and into 2020, Republican senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley investigated Hunter Biden's involvement with Burisma, as well as allegations that Democrats colluded with the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2016 election. The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Republican senator Richard Burr privately expressed concerns to the senators that their inquiries could assist efforts by Russian intelligence to spread disinformation to disrupt American domestic affairs.[92] American intelligence officials briefed senators in late 2019 about Russian efforts to frame Ukraine for 2016 election interference.[93] Johnson said he would release findings in spring 2020, as Democrats would be selecting their 2020 presidential nominee, but instead ramped up the investigation at Trump's urging in May 2020, after it became clear that Joe Biden would be the nominee.[94][95] Trump tweeted a press report about the investigations, later stating that he would make allegations of corruption by the Bidens a central theme of his re-election campaign.[93] Johnson decided in March 2020 against issuing a subpoena for former Ukrainian official Andrii Telizhenko, a Giuliani associate who had made appearances on the pro-Trump cable channel One America News, after the FBI briefed him about concerns Telizhenko could be spreading Russian disinformation.[96] The State Department revoked Telizhenko's visa in October 2020, and CNN reported the American government was considering sanctioning him as a Russian agent.[97] CNN reported that Vladislav Davidzon, the editor of Ukrainian magazine The Odessa Review, told CNN that in 2018 Telizhenko offered him money to lobby Republican senators in support of pro-Russian television stations in Ukraine.[98] When Johnson released the final report on the investigation, it contained no evidence that Joe Biden had pushed for Shokin's removal in order to benefit Hunter or Burisma.[99][100]

In June 2020, former Ukrainian prosecutor general Ruslan Riaboshapka stated that an audit of thousands of old case files he had ordered in October 2019 had found no wrongdoing by Hunter Biden. Riaboshapka was described by Zelenskyy as "100 percent my person" during the July 2019 call in which Trump asked him to investigate Biden.[101]

Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani with links to[clarification needed] Russian intelligence, released in May 2020 alleged snippets of recordings of Joe Biden speaking with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko during the years Hunter Biden worked for Burisma.[102] The recordings, which were not verified as authentic and appeared heavily edited, depicted Biden linking loan guarantees for Ukraine to the ouster of the country's prosecutor general. The recordings did not provide evidence to support the ongoing conspiracy theory that Biden wanted the prosecutor fired to protect his son.[103] Poroshenko denied in June 2020 that Joe Biden ever approached him about Burisma.[104][105] The United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Derkach in September 2020, stating he "has been an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services". The Treasury Department added Derkach "waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 Presidential Election" including by the release of "edited audio tapes and other unsupported information with the intent to discredit U.S. officials".[106][107] Close associates of Derkach were also sanctioned by the Treasury Department in January 2021.[108] United States intelligence community analysis released in March 2021 found that Derkach was among proxies of Russian intelligence who promoted and laundered misleading or unsubstantiated narratives about Biden "to US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration".[109][110]

Two Republicans on a Senate investigation committee in 2020 claimed that Russian businessperson Yelena Baturina, the wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, wire-transferred $3.5 million in 2014 to Rosemont Seneca Thornton, of which Biden had previously been a partner. The Washington Post reported in April 2022 that the partners of Rosemont Seneca Thornton had agreed to dissolve the organization before the 2014 wire transfer, though it continued to be operated by Devin Archer to facilitate real estate transactions for eastern and central Asia investors, while Biden was uninvolved. Archer received the $3.5 million wire from Baturina to purchase property in Brooklyn, New York.[39] The Senate report cited unspecified confidential documents and gave no evidence that Biden personally accepted the funds.[111] Biden's attorney denied the report, saying Biden had no financial relationship with Baturina and no stake in the partnership that received the money, nor did he co-found the partnership.[112][113] However, Trump's White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah repeated the claim, and in a press conference Trump repeatedly asserted that Biden received millions of dollars from the former mayor's wife.[111]

Investigations and federal indictments

In December 2020, Biden made a public announcement via his attorney that his tax affairs were under federal criminal investigation.[6][114] The New York Times and CNN, citing sources familiar with the investigation, described the investigation as having started in late 2018 and being related to potential violations of tax and money laundering laws and Biden's business dealings in foreign countries, principally China.[6][114] The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden had provided legal and consulting services that generated foreign-earned income, citing a Senate Republicans' report that says $4.79 million in wire transfers from entities linked to Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming and his company, CEFC China Energy, were paying for such services.[115] The New York Times reported that according to people familiar with the inquiry, FBI investigators had been unable to establish sufficient evidence for a prosecution of potential money laundering crimes, including after the seizure of a laptop purportedly belonging to Biden, and so the investigation progressed onto tax issues.[114][116][117] Since October 2021, Hollywood attorney and writer Kevin Morris, who has become an influential adviser/confidant and now financier to Biden, lent Biden more than $6.5 million to pay back taxes, support his family, and fund legal expenses.[118][119][120]

The New York Times reported in March 2022 that, since 2018, Biden and possibly others had been under investigation by federal prosecutors in Delaware, with a grand jury convened to subpoena and hear evidence. The investigation examined payments and gifts Biden or his associates had received from foreign interests and whether Biden had violated the law by not registering as a lobbyist under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The Times reported it had acquired emails that were authenticated by people familiar with them and the investigation that appeared to come from a laptop belonging to Biden. One April 2014 email, written by Biden to his business partner as their work with Burisma was about to begin, noted that his father, then the vice president who would soon visit Kyiv, should "be characterized as part of our advice and thinking—but what he will say and do is out of our hands". The email also stated that Burisma officials "need to know in no uncertain terms that we will not and cannot intervene directly with domestic policymakers, and that we need to abide by FARA and any other U.S. laws in the strictest sense across the board". Biden wrote that his father's visit "could be a really good thing or it could end up creating too great an expectation. We need to temper expectations regarding that visit." He also wrote that his employer, the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, could help Burisma through "direct discussions at state, energy and NSC [United States National Security Council]". Other emails showed Biden and his business partner discussing inviting foreign business associates, including a Burisma executive, to attend an April 2015 dinner in Washington, where the vice president would stop by.[121]

A July 2022 report from CNN authenticated emails which showed that Biden was struggling with large debt and overdue tax bills.[122][123]

In October 2022, The Washington Post reported that federal agents had determined months prior that they had assembled enough evidence for a viable criminal case against Biden to charge him with crimes related to making false declarations during a gun purchase, as well as tax-related crimes. The next step was for Delaware U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss, a holdover from the Trump administration,[124] to decide on whether to file such charges.[125]

Federal investigators had also been examining the lobbying firm Blue Star Strategies, which Burisma retained while Biden sat on its board, for possible illegal lobbying of American officials. There was no indication Biden was a subject of the investigation. Blue Star employees said in Senate testimony that Biden was included in emails about the firm's work but that he was not particularly involved. One of the firm's co-founders said Biden did not direct its work. Blue Star's work came after Burisma's owner was criticized by the United States State Department, and the firm's founders testified the firm had merely approached officials to determine the government's views of Burisma.[126][127]

On June 20, 2023, in a deal with prosecutors, Biden agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges of failure to pay income tax, and to enter a pretrial diversion program related to a felony gun charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.[128][13][14] Prosecutors recommended two years of probation for the tax charges; the gun charge would be dropped at the end of this period if the conditions of the diversion program had been met successfully.[124] Having the gun charge dropped was conditional on Biden remaining drug-free and never being allowed to own a firearm again.[129] Biden's attorney said the agreement with prosecutors "resolved" the investigation, though the Justice Department said the investigation was "ongoing".

In court on July 26, 2023, federal prosecutors explained that the "ongoing" aspect of the investigation referred to possible charges under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA); FARA requires that anyone who acts on the behalf of a foreign government, e.g. China or Ukraine, must register with the Department of Justice and file regular reports on their activities for that government.[130][131] On July 26, the plea deal was rejected by the presiding judge, who cited concerns over immunity Biden might receive from future charges, and gave 30 days to both the government prosecutors and Biden's defense team to provide additional information.[129] Biden changed his plea from "guilty" to "not guilty".[132][133]

On August 8, Weiss requested appointment as a special counsel in the Biden investigation, which attorney general Merrick Garland granted. Garland announced the appointment on August 11, the same day Weiss announced government and Biden attorneys could not reach agreement on a new plea deal.[134][135] The Justice Department said on September 6 that Weiss would ask a grand jury to return an indictment of Biden on a gun charge by September 29.[136] On September 14, Biden was officially indicted in Delaware on three federal firearms-related charges: two for making false statements on a firearm application form and one for prohibited possession of a firearm.[15] He was arraigned on October 3 and pleaded not guilty to all charges. Legal experts and news organizations have noted that prosecutions for these charges are typically rare.[137][138][139][140] In January 2024, prosecutors urged a judge to not dismiss Biden's gun charge, revealing that cocaine residue was found in his gun pouch.[141]

On December 7, 2023, Biden was indicted in California on nine tax charges, including three felony and six misdemeanor offenses. The indictment reads that "The Defendant engaged in a four-year scheme to not pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019." Biden's lawyer said that Biden had repaid his taxes in full prior to the indictment.[142][143] On January 11, 2024, Biden pleaded not guilty to the tax charges.[144][145] The same day, U.S. District Judge Mark Scarsi scheduled the trial to start June 20, 2024.[11][144][145] The trial was later delayed to September 5, 2024, due to the "needs of the defendant" in preparing for his Delaware trial on firearms charges in June.[12] Biden has repeatedly sought to dismiss both tax and gun charges against him, without success.[146][147]

Firearms trial and conviction

A final pre-trial hearing for the gun charges was held on May 24, 2024.[148][149][150][151][149] During the final hearing, Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled that prosecutors could not refer to his upcoming California tax trial, child support proceedings in Arkansas, his discharge from the Navy, or include statements which Biden made at a July 2023 hearing where his plea deal collapsed.[149] However, the prosecution was permitted to bring up Biden's drug use, portions of his memoir, Beautiful Things, and a summary of data from his laptop, phone, and iPad.[149][152]

Biden's trial began on June 3, 2024 on charges of unlawfully possessing a gun as a drug user, lying on a federal form when he bought the gun, and making a false statement about information required to be collected by a federally licensed gun dealer. The charges stemmed from a gun purchased and possessed by Biden in October 2018. During the trial, three of Biden's former partners testified regarding Biden's drug usage and gun purchase.[152] On June 11, Biden was found guilty on three felony charges for federal gun violations.[16][17] Judge Noreika stated that she expected for Biden to be sentenced 120 days after his conviction, which would be October 9, though she had still not yet set a firm date for the sentencing hearing.[153][154][155] The conviction made Biden the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be convicted in a criminal trial.[156]

Laptop files

Biden, with his half-sister to his right, at their father's inauguration, January 2021. Controversy concerning the authenticity and contents of Hunter Biden's laptop was an October surprise in the lead-up to his father's election.[157]

On October 14, 2020, twenty days prior to the 2020 United States presidential election, the New York Post published an article based on content provided to the publication by Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former chief strategist Steve Bannon. The article concerned what the Post said was a laptop computer that had belonged to Hunter Biden and that was allegedly left for repairs at a Wilmington, Delaware, computer shop. According to the narrative in the Post article, this device contained an email that referenced a "meeting" between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharskyi, a Burisma advisor.[158]

The article's veracity was strongly questioned by most mainstream media outlets, analysts and many intelligence officials, due to the unevidenced claims about the laptop and due to suspicion that the purported contents may have been part of a Russian disinformation campaign.[38][159][160]

In January 2023, an anonymous Twitter account posted a rental application found on the laptop, leading to a false claim that in 2018 Hunter Biden had paid monthly rent for his father's Delaware residence where classified documents had been found. James Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee that was investigating the Biden family, suggested it was evidence that Hunter Biden may have been funneling foreign money to his father. The document actually showed quarterly rental payments for office space at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C.[161]

In February 2023, Biden's attorneys wrote to the Justice Department National Security Division asking that they criminally investigate "individuals for whom there is considerable reason to believe violated various federal laws in accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden's personal computer data". A similar letter was sent to the Attorney General of Delaware. The letters named Giuliani, Bannon, Mac Isaac, and others.[162][163]

In January 2024, federal prosecutors stated that they had possession of a laptop computer which they claimed Biden left at a computer store and confirmed that the device contained files also found in cloud backups to Hunter Biden's Apple account. [164] In June 2024, the laptop and its contents were utilized as evidence in Biden's trial on firearms charges. FBI investigators testified to the authenticity of the laptop in the trial, stating that they had cross-referencing texts, emails, and messages found on the laptop with Apple and had verified the serial number on the laptop. Prosecutors also introduced the invoice from the repair shop as evidence.[165][166]

Biden was deposed by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on February 28, 2024, which discussed emails found on the laptop. Biden stated during the deposition that he did not recall sending the laptop for repairs.[167][168]

Navy Reserve

Biden's application for a position in the U.S. Navy Reserve was approved in May 2013.[169] At age 43, Biden was accepted as part of a program that allows a limited number of applicants with desirable skills to receive commissions and serve in staff positions.[170] Biden received an age-related waiver and a waiver for a past drug-related incident; he was sworn in as a direct commission officer by his father in a White House ceremony.[169][19]

The urinalysis of a urine sample taken on his first weekend of reserve duty a few weeks later detected cocaine in his system.[19][170] He was discharged administratively in February 2014.[170][171][172] Biden attributed the result to smoking cigarettes he had accepted from other smokers, claiming the cigarettes were laced with cocaine.[19] He did not appeal the discharge, stating that he thought it unlikely the panel would believe his explanation given his history with drugs.[173][19] Biden also stated that he did not appeal due to the likelihood that this would result in the press becoming aware of the discharge itself; however, it was ultimately revealed to The Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who provided the information.[19][169]

Work as an artist

In February 2020, The New York Times reported that Biden had been painting as an "undiscovered artist" in his Hollywood Hills home. The report also displayed some of his paintings, including "Untitled #4 (a study in ink)" and "Untitled #3 (a signed work)".[174]

Biden's art dealer, Georges Bergès, hosted a private viewing for Biden in Los Angeles in fall 2021, followed by an exhibition in New York.[175] Biden's paintings were put up for sale for as much as $500,000 per painting, with Kevin Morris purchasing $875,000 worth of his art.[176]

One of the buyers was Elizabeth Hirsh Naftali, who is currently on the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.[177] This provoked conflict-of-interest concerns as well as concerns about a lack of transparency.[178][179]

Personal life

Relationships

Biden (center) with family at his brother Beau's funeral in June 2015

In 1993, Biden married Kathleen Buhle.[19] They have three daughters: Naomi (named after Biden's sister),[180] Finnegan, and Maisey.[27] The couple formally separated in October 2015, and divorced in 2017.[181][182] Buhle's 2022 memoir If We Break documents her account of the relationship.[183]

Biden began a relationship with his brother's widow Hallie Olivere Biden in 2016.[184][19] The relationship ended in 2019.[19][185][186]

Between 2017 and 2018, Biden also had a romantic relationship with Zoe Kestan.[186]

Biden has a fourth daughter, born in August 2018 in Arkansas, to Lunden Alexis Roberts.[187][188] Biden initially denied paternity of the child, but a DNA test, conducted as part of a paternity suit filed in May 2019 by Roberts, confirmed paternity. The lawsuit was settled in March 2020 after Biden agreed to pay Roberts $20,000 a month in child support.[189][190] Biden filed a motion in September 2022 to reduce his child support payments, on the basis of reduced income; Roberts opposed this request and also petitioned the Arkansas court to change the child's surname to Biden, so that his daughter might benefit from associations with Biden's family.[191] In June 2023, Biden and Roberts settled the dispute. As part of the settlement, Biden agreed to give several of his paintings to his daughter and pay an undisclosed monthly amount in child support until the daughter turns 18. Biden also agreed to assist with college tuition. Roberts agreed to drop her petition to change their daughter's surname.[192][193][194] The matter received significant attention in the media.[195]

Biden married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen in May 2019, within a week of first meeting her.[173][196] Their son, named Beau in honor of Biden's brother, was born in March 2020 in Los Angeles.[197][198]

Drug and alcohol abuse

Biden has abused drugs and alcohol throughout his adult life, which he has detailed in his memoir Beautiful Things.[1][2] He believes his addiction issues are linked to episodes of family loss he suffered,[199] beginning with the 1972 motor vehicle accident that killed his mother and sister.[200] Biden said that his family never talked much with him about the accident, and this allowed the emotional trauma he felt to remain unresolved; it worsened following the death of his brother, Beau.[199] Over the past two decades, Biden has been in multiple substance abuse rehabilitation programs, each followed by an interval of sobriety followed by relapse. At his worst, Biden stated that he was "smoking crack every 15 minutes".[201]

The $11 million Biden and his firm were paid from 2013 to 2018 fueled his addiction. In his autobiography Beautiful Things, he said that the money "turned into a major enabler during my steepest skid into addiction" and "hounded me to spend recklessly, dangerously, destructively. Humiliatingly. So I did."[41] He had an intervention in early 2019.[202]

Memoir

Biden released Beautiful Things, a memoir of the trauma of the accident that claimed his mother and sister, and his later addiction struggles, on April 6, 2021.[203] The New York Times described the book as "equal parts family saga, grief narrative and addict's howl".[204]

References

  1. ^ a b Superville, Darlene (April 20, 2021). "Hunter Biden details lifelong addiction struggle in memoir". Associated Press. Archived from the original on October 6, 2021. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Biden, Hunter (April 4, 2021). "Hunter Biden on family tragedies and the drug addiction that nearly destroyed him". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Archived from the original on January 14, 2022. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
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