It seems that Joe Biden was the key to all Hunter’s business deals.
Biden Inc.: Hunter, Joe, and the Mexican Oligarchs
By Charles Lipson July 7, 2021
The indictment of the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer has received a lot of press, and properly so. But while the media has been focused on the former president, they have ignored another corruption story involving the sitting president and his family. Like so much news that has been buried, the latest comes from Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop. You know, the one the Bidens and their allies in Congress and the media suggested was a “Russian plant” and disinformation campaign, before that cynical claim was demolished by the director of national intelligence.
The latest buried story involves some photographs, taken in Joe Biden’s office in 2014. They include the then-vice president, his son Hunter, and Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico (and once the richest in the world), plus some of Slim’s associates.
Why are the pictures newsworthy? Not because some U.S. officials met with some rich foreign businessmen. That happens all the time. Their real significance is that the vice president met with these guys and included his son at the same time Hunter was working on lucrative business deals with the same people. That looks like self-dealing by the Biden family, despite Joe’s repeated insistence that he knew nothing about his son’s business.
Hunter had other meetings with Carlos Slim and associates in Mexico. Those came after he flew there with his father on Air Force Two, just as he had flown to similar business meetings in China. When you arrive on Air Force Two, when your father is the second-highest official in the U.S. government, and when you bring your business associates to meet him, you are sending a clear signal to potential partners around the world: “I’m incredibly well connected and, if you do business with me, I can open the biggest and best doors in the U.S. government for you.”
Since Hunter has no other marketable skills, opening those doors is the only thing you are paying him for. In country after country, the oligarchs Hunter was wooing had the good fortune to meet with the vice president, meetings that Hunter apparently arranged. Some were held in the host countries, some on the White House grounds.
When you have connections like this in Chicago, you whisper, “I know a guy.” Hunter virtually shouts it. He knows a guy: the “Big Guy,” as one of his secret notes describes his father. That note laid out how the lucre from another deal would be divided, with the “Big Guy” as a silent partner. A partner in that deal, Tony Bobulinski, has publicly stated that all the partners knew the “Big Guy” (or BG) was Joe Biden.
It seems that Joe Biden was the key to all Hunter’s business deals.
What’s wrong with the picture? Aside from the unseemly grifting and the dubious denials from the White House that Joe Biden had even the slightest inkling about these deals, there are two things:
The first problem, which should be obvious by now, is that the Biden family has gotten rich from plying all these political connections. Actually, they have only one connection: Joe Biden. His prodigal son has no appreciable skills and raises more red flags than a Beijing parade. His one job is monetizing his father’s power and influence.
Hunter is not alone. Joe’s two brothers, Jim and Frank, have been credibly accused of doing the same thing. Politico termed it “Biden Inc.” and laid out the seamy connections in an extensive 2019 investigation. “Over his decades in office,” Politico reported, “‘Middle-Class Joe’s family fortunes have closely tracked his political career.”
Not that the most influential newspapers in the country will tell their readers anything about this. Carlos Slim is the largest investor in the New York Times, so maybe its editors have a vested interest in ignoring the stench. What’s the Washington Post’s excuse? The story about Hunter’s deals in Mexico, like the previous ones about Biden family corruption, is missing from its news pages. To paraphrase their self-serving mottos: The story dies in darkness, unfit to print. To read it, you’ll need to check out the New York Post and Britain’s Daily Mail. This suppression of legitimate news is a scandal in its own right.
Monetizing political connections is standard practice in Washington, where politicians and senior bureaucrats move seamlessly from their government positions to K Street lobbying. Gone are the days when retired members of Congress or presidential aides returned home after stints in government. Too much money is floating around the Swamp for the taking. Both parties have their “insider” wings of lobbyists, lawyers, and think tanks, much to the disgust of populists, left and right. In that sense, the Bidens’ influence peddling is just standard practice, conducted on a far smaller scale than the Clintons’ industrial-strength operation.
But that’s not the only problem raised by Joe and Hunter’s photos with Carlos Slim. The photos deal yet another body blow to President Biden’s customary tale that he knows absolutely nothing, zero, zip, nada about his son’s business dealings. The more often Joe is seen meeting with Hunter’s business contacts, the less plausible the president’s “I know nothing” story sounds. As the Daily Mail put it in its headline:
EXCLUSIVE: Joe Biden entertained Hunter’s Mexican billionaire business associates in the vice president’s office in 2014 and even flew with his son to Mexico City on Air Force 2 so Hunter could attend meetings over a ‘flippin gigantic’ deal
The Mail reached the obvious conclusion: “The revelations, laid bare in photos and emails on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, suggest Joe’s claim that he never spoke about business with Hunter was false.”
Biden White House aides have yet to explain these photos and emails. Why should they bother when journalists are not pushing for answers? The apathetic press is behaving just like it did during the 2020 campaign, when it rarely questioned Biden about his family’s deals in Ukraine and China. When the New York Post did report on them, the social media giants blocked the story. Too toxic for their users to see before the election. It’s almost like they had a favorite candidate and controlled the information flow as an in-kind contribution.
Despite Joe’s “see no evil, hear no evil” denials, he took Hunter with him on multiple official trips and kept meeting his son’s business associates at his request. Not once or twice, but repeatedly. These business meetings yielded big payoffs for Hunter, including a huge investment from a Chinese state bank that Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan couldn’t snag. Yet Hunter Biden reeled it in, despite having no investment experience.
To believe Joe’s denials, we have to believe Hunter never even mentioned his enormous success in China on a 20-plus-hour return flight with his Dad. Ask yourself this: “If your child just landed a multimillion-dollar profit on one of your business trips, and if you spent the next day flying home with him, do you think he would never mention it?”
Although President Biden seldom speaks to the press unscripted, when a pointed question does crop up (a rarity), he spews anger at the questioner, says how proud he is of Hunter, and orders an ice cream cone. The reporters dutifully ask, “What flavor?”
Hunter’s private correspondence tells a story far different from the White House version. Those emails describe his family’s crucial importance for his influence peddling. As Yahoo News’ Mairead McArdle reported:
In leaked emails from 2014, [Hunter] Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, then-vice president Joe Biden, who was heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine, referring to the elder Biden as “my guy.”
He also attracted criticism for entering into a consulting contract with China’s largest private energy company that initially earned Hunter Biden $10 million a year “for introductions alone,” according to leaked emails.
The White House press team dismisses all this evidence and depicts Joe Biden as if he were Sgt. Schultz, the clueless comedy foil on the old TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” Schultz was responsible for guarding some prisoners but never seemed to know they were constantly plotting escapes and other mischief. When Schultz’s boss asked about it, the good Sergeant always insisted, “I see nothing! I hear nothing! I know nothing!”
Here’s a free tip for the president and his press office: Sgt. Schultz’s defense is not a good motto for you. You can’t be clueless and competent at the same time. It’s not a good look for the White House press corps, either, even though it is a sadly accurate one when their favorite party is in power.
Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biden Inc.: Hunter, Joe, and the Mexican Oligarchs | RealClearPolitics