James Biden Rebuts Allegations Against His Brother in Impeachment Testimony

James Biden Rebuts Allegations Against His Brother in Impeachment Testimony

When a young Joe Biden launched his first political campaign more than 50 years ago, it was his brother Jimmy who dropped out of college and traveled across the country to raise money for his bid.

Months later, when Joe Biden’s wife and 13-month-old daughter died in a car accident, it was up to Jimmy to go to the hospital to identify their bodies.

And as Joe Biden built his political profile, it was Jimmy who took his brother’s two surviving children under his wing, forming a particularly strong bond with the younger child, Hunter, with whom he had a lot in common. That relationship eventually turned into a business partnership that earned both men millions of dollars from foreign deals — and has now put them under the control of Republicans in Congress who are eager to impeach President Biden.

On Wednesday, James Biden, known to his family as “Uncle Jimmy,” testified before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee, which was leading the impeachment inquiry, that his business ventures were orderly, that his older brother was not involved and never did anything wrong, and that, if anything, it was the elder Mr. Biden who helped him financially – and not the other way around.

In a 10-page opening statement obtained by The New York Times, James Biden also painted a portrait of himself as a dutiful if sometimes troubled brother who sacrificed to support his family after they were rocked by tragedy was, even if he denied allegations of trying to use access to his brother to enrich himself.

“I have had a 50-year career in various areas of business,” James Biden, 74, said in his opening statement during a closed interview in a House office building. “Joe Biden was never involved in these activities or had any direct or indirect financial interest. Nobody.”

The prepared testimony provided a fuller portrayal of James Biden as a key figure in the president’s life, a person who, like his nephew Hunter, has clearly benefited financially from the prestige and connections that come with his politically prestigious family name, but also himself as Anker sees these for family members who have gone through difficult times.

Hunter Biden has called James Biden “my best friend in the world” who took him in during some of the worst moments of his drug addiction. His uncle told deputies that he, too, once struggled with alcoholism, despite being sober for more than 40 years.

On Wednesday, James Biden also upended one of Republicans’ central allegations against the president, saying that payments he made to Joe Biden that GOP lawmakers have alleged were a way to launder money from China , in reality were repayments of loans that the elder Mr. Biden extended when he ran out of money.

“These were short-term loans that I received from Joe when he was a private citizen and that I paid back within a few weeks,” said James Biden. “He had no information at all about the origin of the funds I used for the repayment. The full explanation is that Joe lent me money and I paid him back as soon as I had the money for it.”

Mr. Biden’s testimony comes at a critical time for the GOP investigation after a series of witnesses debunked Republican claims about President Biden’s involvement in his son and brother’s businesses.

At least three Hunter Biden aides denied any involvement by Joe Biden in Hunter Biden’s financial dealings in recent interviews. One, James Gilliar, said: “At no point am I aware that the former vice president was ever involved.” Another, Eric Schwerin, who performed accounting duties for Joe Biden during his vice presidency, called the Republican allegations “absurd “.

“I am not aware of any financial transactions or compensation that Vice President Biden has received in connection with the businesses of his family members or their associates, nor is he aware of any involvement in their businesses – none,” Schwerin said.

The Republican investigation suffered another blow last week when a former FBI informant whose claims Republicans had touted was indicted for alleging that President Biden and his son solicited bribes from a Ukrainian energy company. The informant, Alexander Smirnov, claimed to have received information from Russian intelligence, according to a court filing Tuesday.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, called on Republicans to drop their investigation.

“The impeachment inquiry essentially, if not formally, ended yesterday with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnov’s allegations about Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were fabricated in conjunction with Russian intelligence agents,” Mr. Raskin said. “It appears that the whole thing is not only blatantly false and fraudulent, but also a product of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”

Mr. Raskin described the mood in the interrogation room as “subdued.”

“It feels to me like everyone knows the impeachment inquiry is over,” Mr. Raskin said.

Rep. William R. Timmons IV, Republican of South Carolina, argued that there is “a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence showing that Hunter and Jim are selling the brand and Joe Biden is benefiting financially from it.”

“So we’re going to find out if that’s true,” Mr. Timmons said. “That’s why we’re here. And for the ranking member to say that’s not the case, they have pursued President Trump much, much less.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the indictment of Mr. Smirnov “does not change the basic facts” of Republicans’ case against Joe Biden.

Republicans have pointed to testimony from Hunter Biden’s former aide Tony Bobulinski, who told lawmakers that “Joe Biden is ‘the brand’ being sold by the Biden family” and that Mr. Biden “was a trailblazer even though he was was cushioned by a complex system to maintain plausible deniability.”

Democrats counter that while Mr. Bobulinski has made many allegations, he is unhappy about being excluded from a deal and has not backed up his claims with direct evidence against the president.

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2024-02-21 21:53:30