Biden’s Brother Says President Was Not Involved in His Business Deals

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

James Biden testified on Wednesday that his older brother, President Joe Biden, had no role in any of his business ventures—yet another blow to Republican lawmakers leading a flagging impeachment inquiry centered around as-yet-unproven allegations to the contrary.

The younger Biden brother’s assertion was part of a lengthy opening statement he gave ahead of fielding questions from the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees in a closed-door deposition. “I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures,” he said, according to a copy of the 10-page statement obtained by The Daily Beast.

“Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities,” Biden said. “None.”

It was one of several “critical points” that Biden, 74, wanted to make clear in his interview, along with his “intimate knowledge” of the president’s “personal integrity and character” and his own “strong ethics.” Because of these factors, Biden claimed, he had always sequestered his professional life from his relationship to his brother.

“I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else,” Biden said, adding, “In every business venture in which I have been involved, I have relied on my own talent, judgment, skill, and personal relationships—and never my status as Joe Biden’s brother.

“Those who have said or thought otherwise were either mistaken, ill informed, or flat-out lying.”

Republicans, led by Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY), then proceeded to pepper Biden with questions over the next few hours, according to Politico, digging for dirt or any sign of a link between the president and his family’s overseas business deals.

During a break in the proceedings, Jordan told reporters that he wondered if Biden might have been “conveniently forgetting something.”

“I don’t know, but some of his answers just don’t make a whole lot of sense,” the Ohioan added.

Republicans have zeroed in on two checks worth $200,000 and $40,000 that Biden sent to his older brother in 2017 and 2018, circling them as a possible smoking gun. But James Biden characterized the checks in his opening statement as nothing more than “short-term loans that I received from Joe when he was a private citizen, and I repaid them within weeks.”

“The complete explanation is that Joe lent me money, and I repaid him as soon as I had the funds to do so,” he said, an explanation backed up by previous reporting.

Democrats reacted to Wednesday’s proceedings with eye-rolls and weary frustration, as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) called for Republicans to close their inquiry. “I think it’s time for Chairman Comer and the Republicans to fold up the circus tent,” Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, told reporters.

He also said that it felt in the interview room as though everybody was aware the investigation was fizzling out, according to The New York Times.

“The impeachment investigation essentially ended yesterday in substance if not in form with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnov’s allegations about Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were concocted along with Russian intelligence agents,” Raskin said.

The congressman was referring to Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI informant and—until last Thursday, when he was charged with lying about a bribery scheme involving the Bidens to federal authorities—a key witness in the Republicans’ impeachment quest. Smirnov has since told federal agents that Russian intelligence officials fed him false information about Hunter Biden, according to prosecutors.

“It appears like the whole thing is not only obviously false and fraudulent,” Raskin added on Wednesday, “but a product of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”

But Jordan soft-pedaled the news of Smirnov’s indictment in speaking with reporters, dismissing it as insignificant in the grand scheme of the inquiry. “Well, I mean, it is what it is,” he said, according to The Hill. “It doesn't change the fundamental facts.”

Hunter Biden is expected to testify before the House committees next week.

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