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White House press secretary refuses to answer whether President Biden knew about Hunter's business deals

By Sarah May
|
January 4, 2023

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked Tuesday to weigh in on whether President Joe Biden has lied about his involvement in son Hunter Biden's allegedly problematic foreign business affairs, and, as the Daily Mail reports, she skirted the question and attempted to steer the briefing to other topics.

The scene unfolded just as the Republican majority was set to take control of the House and ramp up promised probes into the first son's controversial dealings and the potential involvement of other members of the Biden family – including the president himself.

Doocy drills down

During the first media briefing of the year in the White House press room, Peter Doocy of Fox News sought answers from Jean-Pierre about Biden's previous representations regarding his knowledge of Hunter Biden's business endeavors

Doocy said, “The new Republican majority coming in, the House Oversight Committee is laying out their new investigations and they claim to have evidence that Joe Biden lied to the American people about his involvement in his family's business schemes. Did he?”

Clearly eager to take the exchange in an entirely different direction, Jean-Pierre replied, “So, look, I've said this before, and I'll say it again. House Republicans promised that fighting inflation during the midterms was going to be their number one priority.”

“That's what they said was important to them, and that's what they wanted to do,” Jean-Pierre continued, adding, “[b]ut instead, what they're doing is wanting to do an investigation on the president and his family. That's their focus.”

The press secretary accused the GOP of fostering a type of political division American voters do not support, and declined to discuss the question further by saying, “Look, I'm not going to get into, you know, get into the specifics of any oversight here and suggesting that any additional queries be directed to White House counsel.

Probes to heat up

Incoming House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) has been very public in recent weeks about his plans to initiate far-reaching investigations of the Biden family's business entanglements and potential crimes committed.

Back in November, Comer and a number of GOP colleagues held a press conference in which they presented what they believe is evidence that the president himself was involved in business schemes that were not only illegal but left him compromised and at the mercy of foreign interests.

At that event, Comer declared that he and fellow Republicans were “going to provide something you all haven't had in a long time when it comes to congressional investigations: evidence.”

The congressman went on to say that members of the committee had spoken to “multiple whistleblowers from numerous business schemes involving the Biden family, reviewed Hunter Biden's laptop, and received documents of previously unknown transactions.”

“What we found,” Comer said, “are business plans aimed at targets around the world based on influence peddling, including with people closely tied to foreign governments like China and Russia. We also found plans based in the United States where the Biden family swindled investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars. All with Joe Biden's participation or knowledge.”

Notably, Comer added that “In 2019, shortly after announcing his campaign for president, Joe Biden told the American people he had nothing to do with and never had conversations with family about their business deals. That was a lie.”

History of denials

Jean-Pierre's Tuesday reluctance to engage directly with Doocy's questions was far from the first time evasions and denials have issued forth from the press room podium, with her predecessor, Jen Psaki, also having been confronted with the apparent inconsistencies in Biden's stance on the matter.

Back in April, the Fox News correspondent asked Psaki if Biden was still standing by his claim that he had “never spoken” with Hunter Biden about “his overseas business dealings,” as the New York Post noted at the time, amid new reporting from the Washington Post and the New York Times that appeared to suggest the opposite.

Psaki answered that Biden was indeed unwavering in his assertion, as Jean-Pierre also did in July when presented with a 2018 voicemail message from Hunter Biden's laptop from his father, which further seemed to undermine the latter's claims of ignorance about the former's dealings. “I'll say that what the president said stands,” Jean-Pierre declared.

Writing for the Washington Examiner earlier this year, commentataor Christopher Tremoglie wondered how, if President Biden was as in the dark about Hunter's business matters as he has long maintained, he could now credibly assert – as he did through White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain in April – that he is supremely confident that his son never broke the law.

With what looks to be an imminent onslaught of investigations, hearings, and whistleblower revelations about Biden family business endeavors, it is no surprise that the White House is doing everything possible to change the subject, but precisely how closely Comer and company will be able to link the president to the sort of corruption already alleged is something that remains to be seen.