WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ended her regular briefing Wednesday without offering a defense of President Biden’s many interactions with his son Hunter’s foreign business associates.
Jean-Pierre paused as The Post asked: “Can you explain why the president interacted with so many of his son’s foreign business associates?”
“Have a great day,” the press secretary replied as she walked off the briefing room stage — one day after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) launched a rare impeachment inquiry into Biden’s conduct.
“More than half of voters told CNN they believe the president was involved and he lied,” The Post pressed.
“You can’t have a response to that, Karine?”
Jean-Pierre did not offer further audible reaction to the query, which referenced a CNN poll released last week finding 61% of Americans believe Joe Biden was involved in Hunter’s overseas ventures.
Earlier in the briefing, Jean-Pierre deflected questions from journalists about whether House Republicans are likely to find any “incriminating” evidence and whether the White House plans to comply with House requests for documents.
Jean-Pierre repeatedly called the inquiry “baseless” and said the president has done “nothing wrong.”
When asked by The Post, “Is lying to the public not wrong?” she retorted that the question was “incredibly inappropriate.”
Biden said in June that he stands by his claims that he has “never spoken” with his son about “his overseas business dealings” and that “I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses.”
House Republicans launched the inquiry amid growing evidence that the president interacted with his son Hunter and brother James Biden’s cronies from China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
Former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer last month revealed that then-Vice President Biden attended two dinners at DC’s Café Milano restaurant in 2014 and 2015 with his son’s patrons from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Attendees included Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter up to $1 million per year beginning in April 2014 to serve on its board as his father assumed control of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
Pozharskyi’s thank-you note to Hunter for the opportunity to meet with Joe Biden formed the basis of The Post’s explosive first report on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop and directly contradicted the president’s longstanding claim he “never” discussed business with his relatives.
Joe Biden dismissed reporting on documents from his son’s laptop as a “Russian plant” during the second and final 2020 presidential debate, which occurred after The Post’s second exclusive from the laptop showed Biden, described as the “big guy,” was penciled in for a 10% cut in a later Chinese venture involving his son and brother.
The laptop documents have since been broadly corroborated by participants in the business ventures and additional documentation.
Another Cafe Milano dinner attendee was former Moscow first lady Yelena Baturina, a billionaire who sought out US property investments with the then-second son and Archer.
Baturina transferred $3.5 million to a corporate entity controlled by Hunter Biden and Archer in February 2014.
Joe Biden posed with Kazakhstani business associates of his son’s at one of the dinners, including Kenes Rakishev, who wired Hunter $142,300 to buy a luxury car in 2014.
Archer also testified that Hunter Biden in December 2015 stepped away from a meeting at the Four Seasons in Dubai to “call DC” with Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky and Pozharsky.
“Listen, I did not hear this phone call, but he — he called his dad,” Archer said.
An FBI informant file released in July by Sen. Chuck Grassley says Zlochevsky complained in 2016 that he was “coerced” into paying $10 million in bribes to Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for the then-vice president’s help in ousting Ukrainian prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was removed from office in March 2016 after a sustained campaign by Joe Biden.
The bribery claim has not been substantiated.
Biden hosted his son’s Mexican business associates at the official vice presidential residence in 2015 and then allowed Hunter and his US partner Jeff Cooper to hitch a ride on Air Force Two for an official trip, laptop records show.
Hunter wrote, apparently from the vice president’s plane, to one of his Mexican associates complaining about a lack of reciprocation, moaning that “I have brought every single person you have ever asked me to bring to the F’ing White House and the Vice President’s house.”
Joe Biden was on speaker phone while a heartbeat from the presidency during roughly 20 business meetings with Hunter’s foreign associates, including with French and Chinese businessmen, Archer, the first son’s partner in many ventures, told the House Oversight Committee in a July 31 interview.
Some of the most controversial engagements involving Joe Biden feature Chinese government-linked businesses.
Hunter Biden cofounded Chinese state-backed investment fund BHR Partners in December 2013, shortly after arriving aboard Air Force Two in China’s capital, where he introduced his father to BHR’s incoming CEO Jonathan Li.
Joe Biden had coffee with Li during the trip — rather than a handshake as previously reported, Archer told the Oversight Committee, which is leading the impeachment inquiry alongside the Judiciary and tax-focused Ways and Means Committees.
Archer said that Joe Biden greeted Li on speakerphone during a subsequent Hunter trip to China and wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s two children.
A second major Chinese business deal with state-linked CEFC China Energy involved Hunter and James Biden and allegedly Joe Biden.
That since-defunct firm was reputed to be a cog in Beijing’s “Belt and Road” foreign influence campaign.
Hunter and James Biden’s associate associate James Gilliar wrote in May 2017, months after Joe Biden left office as vice president, that partners were considering a 10% cut “held by H for the big guy.”
Joe Biden allegedly met at least twice with his relatives’ business partners in that deal, including Tony Bobulinski, who said the president appeared to be familiar with the deal under negotiation.
Bobulinski and Gilliar have separately identified or referred to Joe Biden as the “big guy.”
Joe Biden was also listed as a participant in an October 2017 call about CEFC’s attempt to purchase US natural gas.
IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, who supervised the Hunter Biden tax fraud investigation for more than three years, provided Congress with a text message further implicating Joe Biden in the CEFC deal.
On July 30, 2017, Hunter Biden wrote to a Chinese government-linked businessman that he was “sitting here with my father” and warned of consequences if a deal was aborted.
“[W]e would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” Hunter Biden wrote.
“Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” the now-53-year-old went on.
“And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”
“I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father,” Hunter reiterated.
Photos from Hunter’s laptop place him at his father’s Wilmington, Del., home on the day of the threatening message, but Shapley and fellow IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler said the Justice Department blocked them from ascertaining with cellphone geolocation data whether Joe and Hunter Biden were indeed together at the time.