Media

The Hunter Emails

Then-vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter attend an NCAA basketball game in Washington, D.C., 2010. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
A corrupt Ukraine firm reportedly got direct access to then-vice president Joe Biden through his son.

According to a 2015 email, then–vice president Joe Biden met with a top executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that paid Biden’s son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to sit on its board. Earlier, the Burisma executive had asked Hunter to use his influence to quell Ukrainian government officials who were trying to extort the company. Months later, Vice President Biden coerced the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who says he was gearing up an investigation of Burisma.

The evidence that Vice President Biden gave access to the company that was paying his son is disputed. It comes from emails stored on the hard drive of a laptop computer that appears to be Hunter Biden’s. The emails were disclosed in a report by the New York Post.

The Post was alerted to the hard drive’s existence by Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser. The paper received a copy of the hard drive from Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. A Biden spokesman claims that, according to Biden’s official schedule, he never met with the Burisma official. Obviously, that does not prove that the meeting did not happen, any more than the email, by itself and without more authentication, proves beyond a doubt that it did happen.

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Remarkably, with less than three weeks to go before the presidential election pitting Vice President Biden against President Trump, and with Americans already casting their ballots, the mainstream media, along with Facebook and Twitter, are suppressing the Post’s report. As Reason’s Robby Soave explains, reporters who have reported on it — even critically — have been denounced by other journalists and progressive groups. (Read NR’s editorial on Big Tech’s intervention in the whole affair here.)

Late last year, the FBI took possession of the laptop pursuant to a grand-jury subpoena, the Post recounts.

Vice President Biden has insisted repeatedly that he had no involvement in Hunter’s foreign business dealings and never even discussed them with his son.

Yet, in an email on April 17, 2015, Vadym Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, thanked Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with the vice president in Washington. A few months later, Vice President Biden squeezed the Ukrainian government to fire its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who maintains that his office was preparing to investigate Burisma. Shokin was fired after the vice president threatened to withhold desperately needed American government aid.

Recounting his December 2015 meeting in Kyiv with Ukraine’s then-president, Petro Poroshenko, and then-prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Joe Biden has explained his threat to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine’s financially strapped government:

I looked at them and said: “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch, he got fired!

The former vice president related the incident during a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Biden and his supporters have insisted that the Obama administration wanted Shokin fired because he was corrupt and European leaders wanted him out. Biden claims that threatening to withhold American aid in order to pressure Ukraine to act had nothing to do with a personal political agenda involving Hunter or Burisma.

President Trump was impeached by House Democrats for threatening to withhold American aid in order to pressure Ukraine to act in furtherance of a personal political agenda.

Burisma is a notoriously corrupt energy company founded by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky. It was recently implicated in a $6 million bribery scheme (apparently long after Hunter Biden severed ties with Burisma). The firm retained Hunter Biden to join its board of directors in April 2014, paying him lavishly even though he had no experience in the energy sector. At the time, his father, the vice president, was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukrainian policy.

If the laptop evidence is to be believed, on May 12, 2014, shortly after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma board, Pozharskyi sent an email to Hunter Biden and his business partner, Devon Archer. In it, Pozharskyi explained that Ukrainian officials were pressuring the company — specifically, they were seeking “cash” payments from a man identified in the email as “N.Z.” The initials very likely refer to Zlochevsky, whose first name is rendered in English as Nicholas.

Pozharskyi reminded Hunter that he had informed Hunter on previous occasions that Ukrainian government officials, in unofficial “communications” that “entail blackmailing” N.Z., had indicated that if Burisma did not “cooperate,” N.Z.’s gas-production business would be destroyed by regulatory and other intimidating government action.

Pozharskyi  told Biden and Archer:

We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions. [sic.]

On the same day as the email, Burisma publicly announced that Hunter Biden had joined its board and would be running its “legal unit and will provide support for the Company among international organizations.” The Post notes that Hunter Biden’s lawyer has claimed that Hunter was never in charge of Burisma’s legal affairs.

Four months after the email and the Burisma announcement, the Post reports, Archer forwarded to Hunter an email about the impact of new Ukrainian tax legislation that Pozharskyi said “would kill the entire private gas production sector.”

Devon Archer, Biden’s partner, is a former senior adviser to John Kerry, a close friend and confidant of Joe Biden’s. Kerry served for decades with Biden in the Senate and was secretary of state for the last four years of the Obama administration. Archer was the college roommate of Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz. Last week, a federal appeals court in Manhattan reinstated Archer’s 2018 fraud and conspiracy convictions, arising out of a scheme involving the sale of $60 million in bonds issued by an economic-development corporation affiliated with a native American tribe. Hunter Biden was implicated in the evidence but not charged in the case. The appellate court’s ruling reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, who had ruled that a jury would not be able to convict because there was insufficient evidence of intent.

On April 17, 2015, Pozharskyi expressed gratitude to Hunter for arranging a meeting for him with Vice President Biden in Washington, D.C. As his email states:

Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s really an honor and pleasure. As we spoke yesterday evening, would be great to meet today for a quick coffee. What do you think? I could come to you [sic] office somewhere around noon or so, before or on my way to airport. Best, V

As related above, it was in December 2015 that Vice President Biden threatened to withhold the American aid from Ukraine if it did not fire the prosecutor.

Zlochevsky was aligned with Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-friendly Ukrainian president driven from power amid the Euromaidan protests that began in late 2013. The uprising was actively supported by the Obama administration. After Yanukovych fled to Moscow in early 2014, the new government, under Poroshenko, was deeply beholden to the Obama administration and American aid.

The emails outlined by the Post are said to have been stored on the hard drive of a laptop computer that appears to be Hunter Biden’s. The laptop, a MacBook Pro, is said to have been brought to a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. The shop owner, whose name has not been reported, could not identify Hunter Biden as the customer. But the Post says the laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation — named after Hunter’s brother (the vice president’s older son, who is deceased).

On the computer’s hard drive, in addition to the emails, were photos and other materials that appear to belong to Hunter. These include what the Post describes as a “raunchy” video, allegedly depicting Hunter — who has had drug-addiction issues — smoking crack and engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman.

The shop owner was subpoenaed by the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office to produce the laptop for a federal grand jury by December 17, 2019. The Post report includes a photograph of the subpoena. The shop owner told the Post that he made a copy of the laptop’s hard drive before surrendering the computer to the FBI. He later gave a copy of hard drive to Robert Costello, an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is President Trump’s personal lawyer.

The Post says it got a copy of the hard drive this past Sunday from Giuliani. The Post had been told about the hard drive in late September by Bannon, the former Trump White House adviser. Weeks earlier, in August, Bannon was indicted on fraud charges by a federal grand jury Manhattan. He has pleaded not guilty.

Thus far, the Biden camp has not conceded the authenticity of the hard-drive materials, including the emails. It is unclear why the emails are just coming to light now. In December 2019, when the FBI and Delaware’s U.S. attorney obtained them, House Democrats were concluding impeachment proceedings against President Trump. In early February, the president was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate of the two articles of impeachment voted by the House along party lines.

The impeachment focused on Trump’s pressuring Ukraine to investigate alleged corruption involving the Bidens. The president’s legal team made halting efforts to confront the allegations by claiming there was evidence that Burisma, a reputedly corrupt firm, was paying Hunter Biden for his influence — i.e., Hunter’s access to the Obama administration, which had great suasion over Ukrainian government officials.

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