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Biden’s brother accuses House Republicans of ‘flat-out lying’ as he testifies in impeachment inquiry

Republicans have long argued that the entire Biden family is corrupt and that they have used the president’s political influence in their business schemes – but the GOP have struggled to substantiate their claims

Gustaf Kilander,Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 21 February 2024 19:38 GMT
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Biden’s brother James Biden arrives to give evidence at impeachment probe

James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden, said in his opening statement as he testified in the Republican impeachment inquiry that those who argued that he used his connection to his brother to boost his business ventures are “either mistaken, ill-informed, or flat-out lying”.

“In every business venture in which I have been involved, I have relied on my own talent, judgment, skill, and personal relationships—and never my status as Joe Biden’s brother,” he said in the statement on Wednesday.

Republicans have long argued that the entire Biden family is corrupt and that they have used Mr Biden’s political influence in their business schemes – but the GOP have struggled to substantiate their claims.

“It is difficult to open my personal and professional life to such intense public scrutiny, but I am doing so to comply with the Committee’s inquiry,” James Biden, the third of four Biden children, said. The president is the oldest of the siblings.

“I have nothing to hide. With my appearance here today, the Committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong,” the 74-year-old James Biden added. “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

The interview with James Biden on Wednesday in House Republicans’ so-far chaotic and lacklustre investigation comes after they brought forward a number of business and family associates who also testified that the president has not been a part of any of his family business dealings abroad – the main allegation that prompted the inquiry in the first place.

Republicans leading the probe are fighting against increasing dissatisfaction within their own party over the investigation, with many concerned that it might backfire in an election year and lose them their narrow House majority.

James Biden said those alleging corruption were ‘either mistaken, ill-informed, or flat-out lying’ (AP)

Following negotiations that came close to falling apart, the president’s son Hunter Biden is also expected to appear for a closed-door interview next week.

A decision on whether to move forward with articles of impeachment is expected after the interviews with James and Hunter Biden, according to CNN.

House Speaker Mike Johnson may have to give his approval to the impeachment, despite having initially failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas following three Republican defections. House Republicans subsequently managed to impeach the secretary by a one-vote margin.

Since December, Republicans have spoken to eight people who worked with the Bidens.

But, despite their efforts to unearth wrongdoing, hundreds of pages of testimony and hours of interviews have failed to result in any evidence that the president took part in, or drew any benefit from, the business schemes.

Several sceptical House Republicans have said that Mr Biden’s conduct does not reach the level of high crimes or misdemeanours required to impeach him.

In his opening statement on Wednesday, James Biden outlined “four critical points”.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures. Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities. None,” he asserted. “Because of my intimate knowledge of my brother’s personal integrity and character, as well as my own strong ethics, I have always kept my professional life separate from our close personal relationship.”

James Biden went on to say that he “never” asked the president “to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else,” adding the fourth point about not using status as the brother of a senator, vice president, and president.

Republicans have criticised the Bidens’ business connections to China.

James Biden said in his opening statement: “In the late winter of 2017, after my brother concluded his term as Vice President and before he contemplated running for President, Hunter asked me to assist him with a business venture that he was developing with CEFC, a Chinese company”.

“Over the next few months, I spent considerable time meeting with and getting to know the others involved in the project,” he added. “In particular, I got to know the three individuals who were affiliated with Hunter’s end of the deal—at the beginning, Mr. Walker and Mr. Gilliar, and later Tony Bobulinski.”

In a scathing nine-page letter obtained by The Independent on Tuesday, Maryland Rep Jamie Raskin went after Mr Bobulinski.

Mr Bobulinski is now a staunch Biden family detractor, appearing before the House panel last week where he once again shared claims he also made during the 2020 election that the president had acted to create opportunities for his family to make money abroad.

Mr Bobulinski claimed that the Biden business schemes “sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government”.

On Tuesday, Mr Raskin wrote in a letter to Mr Bobulinski’s lawyer and the Republican chair of the panel, Kentucky Rep James Comer, that Mr Bobulinski’s “interview was chaotic to the point of burlesque as he repeatedly yelled, shouted, filibustered, and hurled outlandish and baseless accusations and insults against Democratic Members and staff”.

Mr Raskin said he was “baffled and amused” by a letter in which Mr Bobulinski’s attorney Stefan Passantino, who worked in the Office of White House Counsel during the Trump administration, said that Mr Raskin’s previous account of Mr Bobulinski’s eight-hour testimony was a “grotesque mischaracterization”.

“I stand proudly by my statement that over the course of his more than eight hours of belabored testimony, Mr. Bobulinski did not offer any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden,” Mr Raskin wrote. “He also did not provide any evidence that President Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings. Furthermore, unable to point to any evidence to support his wild claims against President Biden, Mr. Bobulinski casually accused a broad group of individuals and organizations of lying.”

James Biden said on Wednesday that his reaction to Mr Bobulinski was “intensely negative”.

Describing him as “tremendously arrogant,” Mr Biden said Mr Bobulinski “was often disrespectful and a bad listener; acted like a stubborn bully; and seemed intent on assuming control of the deal and undermining Hunter’s role. Hunter agreed with my assessment”.

“In recent years, I have seen Mr. Bobulinski in the news, and his appearances have only strengthened my early reservations about his honesty, character, and motivations,” he added.

“To the extent Mr. Bobulinski has said or suggested that I ever sought to, or did, involve my brother in any business dealings with CEFC—or anyone else for that matter—those allegations are false,” Mr Biden said.

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