Saturday, 12 December 2020

Joe Biden says 'I'm proud of my son' as he is asked if Hunter 'committed a crime' after revelation of federal probe into his Chinese business millions

 President-elect Joe Biden yelled back to reporters 'I'm proud of my son,' as he wrapped up an announcement Friday of new administration picks. 

Biden was asked about Hunter Biden's Wednesday revelation that he is under investigation by federal authorities as he entered the Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware and ignored the query then. 

But as he got up to leave the Friday afternoon event, the president-elect briefly responded to a reporter who asked if Hunter Biden 'commit[ted] a crime' before leaving the theater's stage. The same journalist also asked if father and son had spoken. 

President-elect Joe Biden was asked twice Friday about the revelations that his son Hunter Biden was under federal investigation. He yelled back to reporters, 'I'm proud of my son,' as he departed the event

President-elect Joe Biden was asked twice Friday about the revelations that his son Hunter Biden was under federal investigation. He yelled back to reporters, 'I'm proud of my son,' as he departed the event 

As President-elect Joe Biden entered the Queen theater Friday he ignored reporters' questions on Hunter Biden

As President-elect Joe Biden entered the Queen theater Friday he ignored reporters' questions on Hunter Biden 

Hunter Biden announced on Wednesday that his taxes were under investigation in a federal probe

Hunter Biden announced on Wednesday that his taxes were under investigation in a federal probe 

Biden says he's proud of his son when pressured by reporters
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Biden was introducing his latest rounds of picks to the public, including Susan Rice as director of the Domestic Policy Council, Rep. Marcia Fudge to lead Housing and Urban Development, Tom Vilsack to again run the Agriculture department, Denis McDonough, a former White House Chief of Staff, to be secretary of Veterans Affairs and finally Katherine Tai, the top trade lawyer at the House Ways & Means committee, as U.S. Trade Representative. 

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, after voting in the Senate earlier Friday, appeared with Biden onstage. 

Biden began his remarks by talking about the worsening coronavirus crisis. 

He then went one-by-one through his choices, highlighting their diversity, but also teasing old friends. 

'He wasn't anxious to come back, he wasn't looking for this job, but I was persistant,' Biden said of Vilsack, laughing. 

Vilsack had campaigned for Biden when the ex-vice president was competing in the Iowa caucuses earlier this year, a race he badly lost. 

Rep. Marcia Fudge, who had wanted to take over the Agriculture department, was nominated to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Rep. Marcia Fudge, who had wanted to take over the Agriculture department, was nominated to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development 

Susan Rice, the Biden-Harris administration's pick to lead the Domestic Policy Council, briefly spoke at the Friday event in Wilmington, Delaware

Susan Rice, the Biden-Harris administration's pick to lead the Domestic Policy Council, briefly spoke at the Friday event in Wilmington, Delaware

President Barack Obama's former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Veterans Affairs department

President Barack Obama's former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough was chosen by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Veterans Affairs department 

Fudge had publicly said she wanted the job the Vilsack was given. 

As Biden talked her up as the head of HUD, he said she 'could do many jobs beyond the one I'm asking her to do.' 

Biden also pointed out that Fudge would be the first woman to run the agency in 40 years and she would be the second black woman to do so. 

Biden has borrowed heavily from the Obama administration, while also rewarding allies like Vilsack and John Kerry, who will be a special envoy on climate, who stood alongside him in the early primary states when his campaign was taking on water. 

As Biden has tried to roll out his slate of nominees, Hunter Biden - again - stole the headlines when he revealed Wednesday that he is under federal investigation over his taxes.   

The Biden-Harris transition team put out a statement Wednesday from Hunter Biden and President-elect Joe Biden, in which Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation for his taxes

The Biden-Harris transition team put out a statement Wednesday from Hunter Biden and President-elect Joe Biden, in which Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation for his taxes 

'I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,' Hunter said.

The statement was put out by the Biden-Harris transition office.

The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department is scrutinizing some of Hunter Biden's Chinese business deals and not the contents of his laptop, shared in the weeks before the election by Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

While the investigation started in 2018, a new round of subpoenas went out on Tuesday, including to Hunter Biden, the Associated Press said.  

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had also been looking at Hunter's business and financial dealings, as part of a broader criminal investigation that two people familiar with the matter told the WSJ was an international financial investigation that had been going on for at least a year. 

Hunter is implicated in that investigation but was never a specific target for criminal prosecution, the people said.

Fox News reported that Hunter is a 'subject/target' of the grand jury investigation. A target means there's a 'high probability that person committed a crime' and a subject is someone you 'don't know for sure' has committed a crime.

Fox's sources said transactions from 'China and other foreign nations' triggered Suspicious Activity Reports, prompting the probe.

Fox said the probe began in 2018, meaning it predated Barr taking over the top post at the Justice Department.

Hunter Biden has long raised suspicion with his business dealings in places such as Ukraine

Hunter Biden has long raised suspicion with his business dealings in places such as Ukraine

Hunter, pictured with his father celebrating his win on November 7, has tried to lay low

Hunter, pictured with his father celebrating his win on November 7, has tried to lay low 

Hunter Biden FINALLY appears after weeks of controversy
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Barr has said publicly that the the president-elect isn't under investigation and two sources told CNN that the probe doesn't allege any wrongdoing on Joe Biden's part.

Neither the tax investigation nor the Manhattan financial inquiry implicate the president-elect, the paper reported.

The Biden transition team has declined to say when Joe Biden learned of the investigation.

A statement circulated by that team on Wednesday said President-elect Mr. Biden is 'proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger.'

Barr was under intense pressure to formally declare that he was investigating Hunter and his father.

Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman representing Ohio who is the ranking member of the House Judiciary panel, wrote to Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray asking what steps the FBI had taken to investigate the information in the 'explosive report.'

An FBI spokeswoman said the bureau responded to the letter and declined to comment further.

On October 19, Republicans in Congress urged Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden and his father, and demanded that Barr respond within five days.

A day later, asked on Fox News whether he supported tapping a special prosecutor, Trump said: 'We've got to get the attorney general to act. He's got to act, and he's got to act fast. He's got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption and this has to be known about before the election.'

The tax investigation into Hunter Biden was sparked in part by reports of suspicious activity filed by a bank that handled foreign transactions related to him, a source said.

Hunter, a lawyer, has worked for numerous international companies.

For around five years, until April 2019, he sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, where he was paid roughly $50,000 a month for his work.

Laptops belonging to Hunter with photos and emails were obtained by the New York Post. They included a revealing peak into Hunter's life and pictures of himself

Laptops belonging to Hunter with photos and emails were obtained by the New York Post. They included a revealing peak into Hunter's life and pictures of himself

Hunter also did advisory work for China CEFC Energy Co., as the company pursued deals in Europe and the Middle East.

Around the time CEFC was trying to break into the U.S., its activity became a focus of a corruption case brought by the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office, which resulted in the 2018 conviction of a former Hong Kong official on charges that he bribed African officials to secure business benefits for CEFC.

The company, which is now effectively defunct, wasn't charged in the U.S. corruption case.

One item of interest to investigators could be a 2.8-carat diamond gifted to Hunter Biden in 2017 from the founder and former chairman of CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, after a Miami business meeting, CNN said.

The diamond was part of the original inquiry, but it's unclear if it's still a focus, the network reported.

Hunter Biden described receiving the diamond during his July 2019 interview with The New Yorker, saying that after meeting Ye and offering to use his contacts to help the Chinese businessman identify liquified natural gas projects in the U.S., the diamond was sent to his hotel room.

Hunter Biden said he didn't interpret as a bribe. 'What would they be bribing me for?' he asked. 'My dad wasn't in office.'

But he decided not to keep the gem anyway.

'I knew it wasn't a good idea to take it. I just felt like it was weird,' he said.

Hunter Biden said he gave the diamond to one of his associates and he didn't know what happened to it. 

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