Attorney General William Barr has known about investigations into Hunter Biden’s business and financial dealings since at least spring, but tried to conceal the investigations from the public during the presidential election, according to a new report.
One investigation surfaced this week after federal investigators served Hunter Biden with a subpoena seeking financial information in connection with a criminal tax investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan also scrutinized Biden’s business and financial dealings in connection with a broader international financial investigation that has been ongoing for a year, according to the Journal. While Biden is implicated in that investigation, he was not a specific target for criminal prosecution.
Neither investigation implicates President-elect Joe Biden.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter Biden said in a statement Wednesday. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”
Barr did not budge under pressure from Congressional Republicans who pressed him for more information into the investigations. Investigators worked to keep the cases out of the public eye ahead of the November election, in line with Justice Department guidelines, concerned about the impact their work could have on its outcome, sources told the Journal.
Trump on Thursday criticized the “Fake News Media, the FBI and the DOJ” in a tweet, asking why they did not “report the Biden matter BEFORE the Election.”
In the weeks before the election, a number of Republicans issued calls to investigate Hunter Biden, particularly after a Republican Senate investigation in September released a report on the younger Biden’s finances and overseas business interests.
Ranking member of the House Judiciary panel Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) wrote to Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray asking what the FBI had done to investigate the “explosive report.”
A number of Republicans in Congress pressed Barr on October 19 to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden and his father, demanding that Barr issue a response within five days.
Investigators began looking into Hunter Biden following reports of suspicious activity filed by a bank that handled foreign transactions related to him, according to the Journal.
Biden previously sat on the board of Ukranian gas company Burisma Holdings, where he made $50,000 per month for his work until April 2019. He also served as an advisor to China CEFC Energy Co. to the company’s dealings in Europe and the Middle East.
in 2017 he was a shareholder in a venture with the Chinese company while it looked to gain a foothold in the U.S.. That joint venture never took off, but the Senate Republican report found that an entity linked to CEFC paid Biden’s law firm millions of dollars for legal and advisory work.
The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office began investigating CEFC’s activity as part of a corruption case that resulted in the conviction of a former Hong Kong official in 2018. The official was charged with bribing African officials for CEFC’s benefit. The company was not charged.
President-elect Biden said in a statement Wednesday after news of the tax investigation broke that he is “proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.”