By Joseph Lord and Jackson Richman
Devon Archer, an associate of Hunter Biden, informed members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on July 31 that President Joe Biden spoke to his son’s business associates on multiple occasions.
In a closed-door interview with Mr. Archer, members of the House panel sought more information on an ongoing investigation into the business activities of the president and his son. After the hearing, Democrats and Republicans delivered different analyses of the testimony, with Democrats downplaying the allegations and Republicans suggesting that they provided crucial new evidence to the probe.
Speaking after the panel interviewed Mr. Archer, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) told reporters that the president had engaged in “casual conversation” with his son’s business associates “20 times over the course of a 10-year relationship” between Mr. Archer and Mr. Hunter Biden.
In 2019, on the presidential campaign trail, Mr. Joe Biden insisted that he had had no role whatsoever in his son’s business dealings—a contention that has increasingly come under scrutiny as Republicans have learned more about Mr. Hunter Biden’s business activities.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said, “Devon Archer’s testimony today confirms Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved.
“Why did Joe Biden lie to the American people about his family’s business dealings and his involvement? It begs the question what else he is hiding from the American people.”
However, Mr. Goldman downplayed the significance of these interactions, saying the president’s comments amounted to little more than greetings and small talk. He emphasized that Mr. Archer told the panel that these discussions never touched on business dealings.
“I think it is safe to say … there still is no connection of any of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with President Biden,” Mr. Goldman told reporters after leaving the closed-door interview of Mr. Archer.
“The witness indicated that Hunter spoke to his father every day, and approximately 20 times over the course of a 10-year relationship, Hunter may have put his father on the phone with any number of different people, and they never once spoke about any business dealings.”
Mr. Goldman said that the content of the conversations amounted to “casual conversation, niceties, the weather, what’s going on.”
He said that “there wasn’t a single conversation about any of the business dealings.”
“I think we are perhaps in some ways where we left off,” Mr. Goldman said. “There’s no connection in any bank records and any recollection and any testimony between President Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings.
“Like many people, Hunter spoke with his father every day and would often put his father—occasionally would put his father on to say hello to whoever he happened to be caught at dinner with. Mr. Archer clarified that was sometimes people that they were … trying to do business with and it was sometimes friends or other social engagements.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) conceded that the conversations between Mr. Joe Biden and Mr. Hunter Biden’s business associates were largely “pleasantries” but said they were nevertheless more significant than Mr. Goldman had suggested.
“It indicated, if you will, power. It indicated substance,” Mr. Biggs said, suggesting that merely by giving a greeting, Mr. Joe Biden had given more weight to his son’s business ventures.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the Oversight panel who’s mounted his own investigations into the Biden administration, told reporters that the meeting was productive and that the panel had learned new information.
The role of the Biden family in the operations of Burisma—a Ukrainian energy company that has been in the media spotlight for its connection to Mr. Hunter Biden, who served as a member of the company’s board—was discussed by both lawmakers in comments after the testimony.
Mr. Archer served alongside Mr. Hunter Biden as a member of Burisma’s board.
In his official capacity, Mr. Goldman argued, Mr. Joe Biden’s only interactions with his son’s business ventures had been to their detriment.
Specifically, he reported that Mr. Archer said Burisma believed that they had Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin “in their pocket, [that] they had control over him.”
Despite Burisma’s belief that Mr. Shokin was “advantageous for their business interests,” Mr. Goldman said, then-Vice President Biden advocated for his removal.
“The only evidence we have right now of any official action by President Biden in connection to Hunter Biden’s business interests is bad for Hunter Biden’s business,” he said, referencing Mr. Joe Biden’s high-pressure bid to have Ukraine remove Mr. Shokin from his post by threatening to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee from the nation.
Mr. Goldman said the move to have Mr. Shokin removed from his post was an indication of the president’s “tremendous … integrity and respect.”
But Republicans have alleged that the move actually constituted an effort to protect Burisma.
In a 2019 letter to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted that Mr. Joe Biden’s ultimatum to Ukraine—remove Mr. Shokin or lose the loan guarantee—came just days after Mr. Shokin announced the seizure of property from Burisma’s founder (pdf).
This chronology of events led Republicans to question whether Mr. Joe Biden was seeking to root out corruption or to protect his son’s business interests.
Mr. Biggs said Mr. Archer relayed that Burisma “would have gone under without the participation of the Biden brand.”
And the “Biden brand,” Mr. Biggs said, “is Joe Biden.”
In particular, Mr. Biggs said Mr. Hunter Biden’s link to the then-vice president provided a sheen of legal protection to Burisma.
Quoting Mr. Archer from his notes, Mr. Biggs said the panel was told: “Burisma would have gone out of business sooner if the Biden brand had not been invoked. People would be intimidated to legally mess with Burisma because of the Biden family brand.”
Likewise, Mr. Comer said, “Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family.”
Mr. Goldman dismissed this position, saying Mr. Hunter Biden was merely “selling the illusion of access to his father,” suggesting that Mr. Archer’s comments about Mr. Joe Biden’s being the cornerstone of the “Biden brand” had no bearing on Mr. Joe Biden’s actual involvement.
“[Hunter Biden] was trying to get credit with Burisma on behalf of actions that his father took that were completely unrelated,” Mr. Goldman said.
Earlier, in response to a question from The Epoch Times, he said Mr. Joe Biden had no conflict of interest in his dealings with Burisma.
“There is not a shred of evidence of a single conflict of interest of President Biden ever doing anything in connection to Hunter Biden’s business ventures,” Mr. Goldman said.
Since the initiation of investigations into the Biden family, Republicans have increasingly considered moving forward with an impeachment inquiry, with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggesting that the allegations against Mr. Joe Biden were moving toward impeachable offenses.
Asked whether he thought Mr. Joe Biden is compromised, Mr. Biggs said: “I think so. I think so. … We’ll continue to do our due diligence.”
Mr. Biggs also said Republicans should begin an impeachment inquiry against the president.
In response to a question from The Epoch Times about Mr. Biggs’s comments, Mr. Goldman said Mr. Biggs’s suggestion that Mr. Joe Biden is compromised was “a flat-out lie.”
“I think that is completely absurd,” Mr. Goldman said. “I’d have no idea where he finds any facts or evidence to support that.”
Other Claims About Biden’s Involvement
Aside from Mr. Archer’s new testimony, other associates of Mr. Hunter Biden have insisted in comments to the press that Mr. Joe Biden was more involved than he has publicly said.
In the weeks before the 2020 election, the New York Post published an email from Hunter Biden’s laptop, which has since been authenticated, detailing proposed payout packages and equity shares in a Biden venture with a now-defunct Chinese energy conglomerate.
The now-infamous email, written by Mr. Hunter Biden, states “10 held by H for the big guy?”
Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of the younger Biden, later publicly confirmed that “the big guy” was a reference to Mr. Joe Biden, undercutting his claims that he wasn’t involved with his son’s business dealings.
“In that email, there’s no question—the ‘H’ stands for ‘Hunter Biden,’ ‘the big guy’ for his father,” Mr. Bobulinski said.
“I am making this statement to set the record straight about the involvement of the Biden family—Vice President Biden, his brother Jim Biden, and his son Hunter Biden—in dealings with the Chinese,” Mr. Bobulinski said in a press conference in October 2020.
“I have heard Joe Biden say he has never discussed business with Hunter. That is false.”
Mr. Bobulinski relayed the details of his years-long involvement with the Bidens, which he said began in 2015 when he was approached by one of Mr. Hunter Biden’s business associates about getting involved in a business deal concerning the Chinese firm CEFC Energy. Mr. Bobulinski was told at the time, when Mr. Joe Biden was still the sitting vice president, that other partners would include members of “one of the most prominent families in the United States.”
“On May 2, 2017 … I was introduced to Joe Biden by Jim Biden and Hunter Biden,” Mr. Bobulinski said.
During their hours-long conversation that night, he said, Mr. Joe Biden demonstrated a strong familiarity “at a high level” with Mr. Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
Mr. Bobulinski also indicated that Mr. Joe Biden was aware of the potential ethical concerns in being involved and said he quickly learned that Mr. Joe Biden wasn’t to be mentioned in writing or on the phone but only during face-to-face meetings.
Mr. Archer didn’t answer reporters’ questions while entering or leaving the closed-door meeting.