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Email links Joe Biden to China gas deal despite denials

By Sarah May
|
January 22, 2023

As controversy and scandal continue to swirl around President Joe Biden in the wake of allegations that he mishandled classified documents, it has emerged that he was named in an email discussion about his son Hunter's efforts to land a massive natural gas deal in China, as the Daily Mail reports.

The 2017 email exchange was discovered on Hunter Biden's now-infamous abandoned laptop, and it calls into question the president's prior and repeated assertions that he never spoke to his son about his foreign business dealings or was involved with them in any way.

Questionable mention

As the Mail notes, at the time of the email message at issue, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden's brother, Jim Biden, were working to solidify a lucrative deal to send gas from Louisiana in an arrangement that involved their business partners at a Chinese energy giant known as CEFC.

Joe Biden, at that time, was no longer serving as vice president and was not yet a declared candidate for the Oval Office in the 2020 cycle.

Of particular concern in light of subsequent questions about the propriety of Biden family business connections is an email exchange in which Louisiana attorney Bob Fenet – who was on the opposite side of the proposed transaction – sent an email declaring that he had set up “a call from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden on Monday morning to discuss the purchase of the 5 million tons of gas.”

The phone conference Fenet referenced was to be held between the Bidens and Texas energy company Cherniere, top officials at which are said to have strong ties to Joe Biden.

While the Bidens' venture with CEFC ultimately fell apart due to the arrest of its top officials on corruption and bribery charges, before that happened, the firm had invested more than $10 million into the relationship, according to the Mail.

Whistleblower accounts

Adding to the growing list of evidence that seemingly points to Joe Biden's knowledge of and participation in his son's foreign business affairs is a range of assertions from whistleblowers offering first-hand accounts of the situation.

James Gillar, a former business partner of the first son, has come forward to reveal communications providing that 10% of the equity in one particular venture would be held “by H for the big guy,” meaning Hunter and his father.

Another text message thread involving Gillar, businessman Tony Bobulinksi, and Hunter included a comment from the first son referencing insights on the deal offered by his “Chairman,” whom all involved understood was a reference to Joe Biden.

Biden's denials

The very mention of Joe Biden in the recently revealed email exchanges along with a series of whistleblower claims in recent years all stand in stark contrast to representations the current commander in chief has made in the past about his son's overseas entanglements.

While on the campaign trail back in 2019, Joe Biden was asked about rumored involvement in Hunter's deal making, and he categorically denied the same, as USA Today reported at the time.

“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” said Biden, adding by way of deflection, “[h]ere's what I know. Trump should be investigated.”

As additional questions began to arise as a result of the trove of provocative material on Hunter Biden's laptop, Joe Biden – by then president of the United States – persisted in his denials first through White House press secretary Jen Psaki and then via her successor, Karine Jean-Pierre.

Even when confronted with a voice mail recording of Joe Biden to Hunter Biden referencing a New York Times story on the latter's potentially specious business dealings and saying, “I think you're clear,” Jean-Pierre said with regard to prior denials, “What the president said stands. So, if that's what the president said, that is what stands.”

Probes gain steam

With the new Republican-majority Congress now fully seated and engaged, long-promised investigations of the Biden family business endeavors are picking up speed and may shed light on what role Joe Biden had or did not have in often-lucrative business deals his family members made with countries such as China and Ukraine.

House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-KY) has committed to conducing a comprehensive probe of the first family's “domestic and international business dealings to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden's ability to lead with impartiality.”

Comer has said that “[m]embers of the Biden family have a pattern of peddling access to the highest levels of government to enrich themselves, often to the detriment of U.S. interests,” and this latest email revelation – combined with the document mishandling scandal engulfing the White House – does little to refute that impression.