House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) has asked the National Archives to provide unrestricted access to currently redacted communications between then-Vice President Joe Biden's office and business associates of Hunter Biden as the panel expands its probe into alleged Biden family influence peddling.
Mr. Comer said the House Oversight Committee needs access to complete and unredacted versions of the partially secret documents because he expects they will provide further "evidence of collusion" between members of the Biden family and then-Vice President Biden's office and prove that President Joe Biden engaged in "abuse of power."
“Joe Biden never built an ‘absolute wall’ between his family’s business dealings and his official government work–his office doors were wide open to Hunter Biden’s associates," Mr. Comer stated.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. Comer's request by the time of publication.
More DetailsThe unrestricted access that Mr. Comer is seeking relates to hundreds of emails exchanged between business entities tied to Hunter Biden and his father, while the latter served as Vice President of the United States and was deeply involved in American foreign policy on Ukraine.
The redacted emails that Mr. Comer wants unrestricted access to review were released to the public as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by America First Legal (AFL).
"The latest documents reveal a staggering number of emails between Rosemont Seneca and the Office of the Vice President, revealing further evidence that there was no separation between Hunter’s private business dealings and the official business of the Obama-Biden White House," AFL wrote in a press release announcing it had obtained over 1,000 emails between Hunter Biden's firm Rosemont Seneca and then-Vice President Joe Biden's office.
The documents show that Hunter Biden and his associates at Rosemont Seneca used the Biden family name to leverage access to the White House, AFL said, while calling Rosemont Seneca a "private arm" of then-VP Biden's office.
Mr. Comer quoted from the emails to support his allegations that communications between then-VP Biden's office and Hunter Biden's business associates amount to "evidence of collusion."
"For example, on December 4, 2015, at 10:45 a.m.—in an email with the subject of ‘Quotes’—Eric Schwerin (a longtime Biden family business associate) wrote to Kate Bedingfield in the Office of the Vice President providing quotes the White House should use in response to media outreach regarding Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company," Mr. Comer wrote in the letter. "Later that day—at 2:30 p.m.—Ms. Bedingfield responded to Mr. Schwerin, saying, ‘VP signed off on this[.]'"
"The timing of this email traffic is concerning to the Committee," Mr. Comer continued in the letter. "According to Devon Archer (another longtime Biden family business associate), after a Burisma board of directors meeting in Dubai—on the evening of December 4, 2015 (midday in Washington, D.C.)—Hunter Biden ‘called D.C.’ to discuss pressure that Burisma asked him to."
Biden Family 'Brand'The reference to Devon Archer (Hunter Biden's former business partner) and the "concerning" timing of the emails relates to several threads in the Biden family's alleged influence-peddling saga.
While Mr. Archer said that then-Vice President Biden wasn't directly involved in Burisma, he said the company (which faced scrutiny from investigators) "was able to survive for as long as it did ... just because of the [Biden family] brand."
Mr. Archer also told the House panel that Hunter Biden "called D.C." to discuss pressure that Burisma was facing, with the alleged phone call coming after a Burisma board of directors meeting in Dubai on Dec. 5, 2015.
Not long afterward, then-VP Biden traveled to Ukraine and threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless Ukrainian officials agreed to fire then-prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was accused of corruption.
Mr. Shokin was leading an investigation into Bursima and its founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, at the time, while Hunter Biden was serving on the company's board, reportedly earning about $1 million a year.
While President Biden has insisted that Mr. Shokin was fired due to long-standing corruption allegations, Mr. Shokin has said it was because he was investigating Burisma.
Mr. Comer said in a statement on Sept. 6 that "there is evidence of collusion in the efforts to spin media stories about Burisma’s corruption while Vice President Biden was publicly pushing an anti-corruption agenda in Ukraine."
"Suspiciously, Hunter Biden’s associate had a media statement on Burisma approved by Vice President Biden himself the same day Hunter Biden ‘called D.C.’ for help with the government pressure facing Burisma," Mr. Comer continued.
"Americans demand accountability for this abuse of government office for the benefit of the Biden family. The Oversight Committee will continue to pursue all evidence to provide much-needed transparency to the American people,” Mr. Comer added.
Mr. Archer's testimony has provided a number of new leads for the Committee's investigation into the Biden family, according to Mr. Comer, who said that he expects that members of the Biden family will be subpoenaed in the course of the investigation.
These leads include broadening the panel's investigation to include President Joe Biden's brothers, Hunter Biden's artwork sales, and a meeting the president and his son had with a Russian oligarch in 2014.