Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Federal tax investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter, moves forward

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury has heard evidence in recent months about Hunter Biden’s income and payments he received while serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

It is still unclear whether he might be charged. But the grand jury activity underscores that a federal tax investigation into President Joe Biden’s son, which began in 2018, remains active as prosecutors continue to investigate foreign payments and other aspects of his finances.

A Hunter Biden attorney did not return a phone message and email Friday asking for comment. A Department of Justice spokesman has postponed a request for comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, which is handling the investigation. A spokesman for the office did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The people familiar with the investigation could not discuss details of the ongoing investigation in public and spoke to Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

No matter how the investigation is resolved, it has already posed a political headache for the Biden administration and could lead to an even bigger one, especially if Republicans who seized the investigation to attack the president control the House in the midterm elections later takes this. year. Republicans will then control congressional committees and form the focus of any investigations.

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A White House attempting to divert questions about law enforcement matters to the Justice Department was asked this week whether he stands by the president’s allegation in a 2020 debate that his son did not have unethical business dealings with Ukraine or China. do not have. Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, said yes.

The investigation could also force a delicate decision for the Department of Justice, which sought to assert its independence and publicly stressed its willingness to let the facts and evidence, not political decisions, lead to its investigative and indictment decisions. .

Attorney General Merrick Garland did not shed any light in public on the investigation. But the Department of Justice did put the top federal prosecutor in Delaware – David Weiss, a Trump administration overlord – in place, presumably as a way to ensure continuity.

Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of an investigation into his taxes in December 2020, a month after the presidential election. He said in a statement at the time that he was “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will show that I have handled my affairs lawfully and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisers.”

The Associated Press reported later that month that a subpoena served on the younger Biden was seeking information related to more than two dozen entities. One was Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company whose board he joined when his father was vice president. That move has raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest, as Elder Biden was deeply involved in U.S. policy toward Ukraine during the Obama administration.

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The scope of the subpoena underscored the wide scope of the investigation into Hunter Biden, although there is no indication that the investigation includes any investigation by the president himself. Biden said he did not discuss his son’s international business deals with him and denied ever taking money from a foreign country.

Witnesses have been questioned in recent months about payments Hunter Biden received while serving on the Burisma board, people familiar with the investigation said.

Republicans tried to make Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine a prominent issue during the 2020 presidential election.

A year earlier, then-President Donald Trump had tried to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to launch investigations into the Bidens at the same time that Zelenskyy was seeking US military assistance.

Trump was later indicted by the House over the phone call, but was acquitted by the Senate.

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