Both the New York Times and the Washington Post recently acknowledged the credibility of the evidence embedded in the laptop of President Biden’s son, Hunter. They did not, however, confess or apologize for suppressing the evidence when it was published by the New York Post a few weeks before the 2020 presidential elections. Headlined “Biden’s Secret Emails,” the Post’s articles detailed how Vice President Joe Biden had been significantly involved in his son’s business deals, especially in Ukraine and China. All references to the Post’s exposé were expunged from Twitter and Facebook, and none of the major newspapers or TV networks covered it. Adding to the information blackout, within a week “fifty former senior intelligence officials led by the former Obama administration’s CIA director, John Brennan, and director of National Intelligence, James Clapper” claimed the laptop contained nothing more than Russian “disinformation.” It’s now clear that the “coordinated censorship of America’s oldest newspaper, with the fourth largest circulation in the nation, amounted to election interference.” Indeed, post-election “polls suggest that if the full story of the Bidens’ international influence-peddling scheme had been told before the election it could have changed votes in crucial marginal seats and possibly flipped the result” (p. 11-12).
Miranda Devine, an Australian journalist working for the Post, probes the Bidens’ affairs in Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide (New York: Post Hill Press, c. 2021; Kindle Edition). She tells, in part, the sad “story of a son of political privilege tormented by the defining tragedy of his childhood” (p. 5). Hunter’s mother and baby sister were killed in 1972 when their car struck a truck. The truck driver tried to avoid the collision, which was probably caused by Mrs. Biden, though (thirty years later, after trucker was dead) Joe began accusing him of being intoxicated and causing the wreck. Hunter was nearly three years old when his mother died. He and his brother Beau were seriously injured, and though they recovered physically emotional scars endured. As the distinguished literary critic Leon Edel said: “There is no hurt among all the human hurts deeper and less understandable than the loss of a parent when one is not yet an adolescent.” With daddy Joe spending most of his time in Washington, his sister Val and her husband moved into Joe’s house to look after Beau and Hunter. In time Joe re-married, but Hunter never felt close to his step mother Jill. Tellingly, his happiest childhood days were spent in summers with his birth mother’s parents on Owasco Lake in upstate New York, and late in life he had a large map of the Finger Lakes tattooed on his back.
Hunter’s childhood trauma and struggles may help explain some of his laptop’s contents—“rampant drug use and explicit homemade pornography.” We learn of his relationship with Lunden Alexis Roberts, a stripper whose stage name was ‘’Dallas,” who gave birth to his child whom he acknowledged only after required to submit to a paternity test. Though ordered to pay child support, Hunter never recognized the child, claiming he “had no recollection” of this affair. We also learn that Hunter launched an affair with Hallie Hunter, the widow of his brother Beau, shortly after his death in 2015. Soon after the funeral Hunter left his wife and their three daughters to live with Hallie in Beau’s home, two miles distant from father Joe’s lakefront estate. They turned the house into “a party house where people would sit all night on the porch smoking crack. Hunter also filmed many of his sex sessions with Hallie and would upload the videos onto his PornHub account for the world to see, with titles such as ‘Lonely Widow’” (p. 30). Inevitably the press reported that Hunter and Hallie were having an affair, but Hunter persuaded his father to bless their twosome, saying: “‘We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness” . . . . They have mine and Jill’s full and complete support and we are happy for them’” (p. 55). Summing it all up in his 2021 autobiography, Beautiful Things, Hunter lamented: “I was the sicko sleeping with his brother’s wife.”
Such details might easily evoke a sympathetic analysis of Hunter’s inner turmoil. But his laptop, Devine discloses, also reveals significant evidence of his financial corruption. We find therein “corporate documents, bank transfers, and emails detailing a vast international influence-peddling scheme, sanctioned by the world’s most despotic regimes—and implicating ‘Honest Joe’ Biden himself. It would provide a window onto the corruption that is Washington’s original sin, as conducted on a global scale by one of its most skilled and calculating practitioners” (p. 9). With Devine we get glimpses into “the Biden family business, involving the president’s brothers as well as Hunter” from 2010 to 2019, detailing “Joe’s life as the globe-trotting vice president of the Obama administration, the favor-trading senator from Delaware who would go on to become leader of the free world. The laptop also puts the lie to President Biden’s repeated claims that he knew nothing about his son’s shady business ventures in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia, and beyond” (p. 11). He was a discreet but deeply involved player in Hunter’s endeavors.
When Joe Biden became Vice President in 2009, Hunter Biden’s fortunes soared. He landed a spot on the board of Eudora Global (a venture capital firm run by one of Joe’s best supporters) that garnered him $80,000 a year. He became a “counsel” for the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner—closely tied to the Clintons—doing little but getting $216,000 yearly. Hunter’s “work” for these companies mainly “meant opening doors using his family name. One of his 2017 emails celebrated a three-year deal with one of his Chinese partners, CEFC chairman Ye Jianming, which guaranteed him $10 million annually ‘for introductions alone’” (p. 38). He routinely followed his uncle’s Jim’s prescription: “‘Don’t worry about investors,’ . . . ‘We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden’” (p. 38).
This was simply part of the “Delaware Way” whereby Joe Biden (for four decades) “had leveraged a quid pro quo system of cronyism and trading favors for political influence” (p. 57). Becoming Vice President, Joe determined to “extend the ‘Delaware Way’ template internationally by using his son (often assisted by Joe’s devoted younger brother Jim) as bagman for family. During his decades as a senator, “Joe had become expert at not getting caught doing anything illegal or too obviously unethical. Never be too greedy, never leave a trail, never say too much—and always, but always, play the sympathy card if the heat comes on” (p. 58). He carefully cultivated his public persona as an honest man with a wholesome family. Privately, however, he wanted to head up a Delaware version of the Kennedy clan. “He constructed a mythical persona full of tall tales of derring-do, exaggerations, and outright lies about his accomplishments. He lied about nonexistent academic awards and scholarships. He plagiarized speeches willy-nilly, and in one infamous case, appropriated the personal life story of British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, pretending that he, too, was descended from coal miners and was the first in his family to get a college degree ‘in a thousand generations.’ He routinely repeated far-fetched stories with himself as the big guy, including a favorite in which he single-handedly faced down a ‘bad dude’ named ‘Corn Pop’ who was armed with a straight razor and ‘ran a bunch of bad boys.’ He pretended that he trained as a racial activist in black churches, claimed he was at the center of the civil rights movement in Selma and Birmingham, and stated he had been arrested in Soweto on his way to see Nelson Mandela in prison. None of it was true. Each lie served to boost his ego, to place him as the shining superhero of every grandiose story, smarter, tougher, more honorable than anyone, with the best marriage, the best children, the best house, the best life” (p. 77).
As the vice president, Joe Biden gave his son Hunter “the role of paying the bills for the rest of the family through lucrative grace-and-favor jobs and sweetheart deals facilitated by Joe’s network of connections in Delaware and, later, throughout the world” (p. 56). Though he claimed he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” the laptop proves he lied. For example, in 2015 Joe attended a meeting in a Georgetown restaurant, Cafe Milano—known as a favorite spot for “the world’s most powerful people” to mingle. Hunter had been cultivating contacts around the world who wanted to meet his dad, so he arranged for “his benefactors from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia” to talk with the vice president in one of the cafe’s private rooms. Among the invitees were “Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, corrupt former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov” (p. 100). She had sent Hunter $3.5 million on February 14, 2014, to underwrite some of his endeavors. Aware of the impropriety of attending such a session, Joe Biden initially denied he did so. He later confessed he was there but claimed he’d not discussed politics or business! Whatever he discussed, Devine says, all that mattered was for him “to show up and shake hands. All that matters is that Hunter demonstrates his pulling power” (p. 102).
Laptop from Hell contains important evidence concerning the Biden family’s ties to a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burismo. Soon after Joe became vice president, his son Hunter, Chris Heinz (John Kerry’s stepson), and Devon Archer, a former senior adviser to John Kerry, formed an investment firm: Rosemont Seneca Partners. In 2014, Devon Archer proudly posed for a photograph with the Vice President in his West Wing office. Precisely one week later Archer would join Burisma’s board. Soon thereafter “Hunter joined Archer on the Burisma board, for the handsome sum of $83,333 per month” (p. 112). Neither Archer nor Hunter Biden had any background qualifying them to serve on the board of an energy company. Apparently they needed only sit in on occasional meetings and get hefty paychecks. When Burisma’s questionable maneuvers led to a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating the company, board members Biden and Archer came under scrutiny. Reacting quickly, Vice President Biden flew to Kyiv in 2015 and spoke to the Ukrainian parliament, denouncing “the cancer of corruption” plaguing the Office of the General Prosecutor who was spearheading the Burisma investigation. Privately Biden demanded the prosecutor be fired, and he was, quite quickly. Subsequently, with a new prosecutor in office, the Burisma investigation was discontinued. “In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018, Joe boasted that he had flown into Kyiv and threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees for Ukraine unless Shokin [the prosecutor] was fired. ‘I looked at them and said, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.’ Shokin insists that he was pressured to resign precisely because he was pursuing Zlochevsky [chairman of Burisma] and seizing his assets. In a bombshell interview with Ukrainian publication Strana in 2019, he said he had been planning ‘to interrogate [Hunter] Biden Jr., Archer and so on’ before he was ousted” (pp. 120-121). No incident more clearly reveals the Biden family at work than the Burisma case.
Equally concerning are the Bidens’ China ties. Though Joe Biden claimed, in his final presidential debate, that Hunter had not made money in China, abundant evidence proves the contrary. Hunter and his uncle Jim were, the laptop shows, involved in a “venture with energy conglomerate CEFC, the capitalist arm of President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative” (p. 162). The CEFC chairman, Ye, offered Hunter $10 million a year for “introductions alone” and soon gave him a 3.16 carat diamond. Hunter, during the years 2015 and 2016, made crucial contacts for CEFC in various places, including Kazakhstan, Georgia, Oman, Ukraine, and Romania. As ever, Hunter gained entree by trading on his father’s name. Expecting compensation, Hunter confronted CEFC Director Zang Jianjun: “‘You owe my family $20 million!’ he [Hunter] screamed. ‘We’ve done work for you all over the world the last couple of years. Why haven’t we been paid?’” (p. 178). Though many Chinese promises went unfulfilled, “the Bidens did manage to extract more than $6 million from CEFC” (p. 204).
In many of these endeavors Vice President Biden was surreptitiously involved. Laptop emails refer to him in code words such as the “big guy,” and an important, credible witness, Tony Bobulinski confirms the laptop’s contents. A business associate of Hunter’s, Bobulinski personally discussed a China business deal with both him and the the Vice President. “‘Keep an eye on my son and brother and look out for my family,’ Joe told him” (p. 162). Bobulinski soon learned that Hunter and Jim waved the Biden name while keeping Joe from any apparent involvement in their dealings, for they were “paranoid” about the ramifications should the vice president be implicated. Nevertheless, Bobulinski says, he soon “‘saw behind the Biden curtain, and I grew concerned with what I saw. The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist controlled China’” (p. 167).
When he was inaugurated as President in 2021, Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jan Psaki, assured the nation he was “committed to ensuring we have the most ethically vigorous administration in history.” But no one reading Laptop from Hell could have any illusions regarding such a claim! Page after page, detail after detail, show how the Biden Familys’ Delaware Way enriched both Joe and his clan.
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For many years Peter Schweizer has been scouring the records of powerful political and business figures, diligently exposing the corruption of both Republicans and Democrats. He devoted an earlier book to Clinton Cash, and he effectively zeroes in on Republicans such as Senator Mitch McConnell when looking at American politicians with questionable ties to China. Very much a muckraker, Schweizer doubtlessly seizes upon especially egregious details and probably fails to provide proper contexts, but he does give us the kind of investigative journalism needed to hold the powerful accountable. The Biden family has appeared in three of his recent works.
In Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends (New York: Harper, c. 2018; Kindle Edition), written two years before Hunter Biden’s laptop was discovered, Schweizer devoted a chapter to “American Princelings”—Hunter Biden, Christopher Heinz (Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson), and Devon Archer, a friend of both Heinz and Kerry. In 2009 they launched an investment firm, Rosemont Seneca, and opened an office in Washington D.C. a couple of miles from Vice President Joe Biden’s residence. One of their companies, “Rosemont Realty openly touted its ties to Vice President Joe Biden.” Its prospectus proudly noted—as a “key consideration”—that “Hunter Biden (the son of Vice President Biden) is on the advisory board” (p. 58). “Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals often with those same foreign governments” (p. 26). Some of those deals were made with Chinese tycoons. Within a year of Rosemont Seneca’s founding, the three Princelings spent two days meeting and taking pictures “with the largest and most powerful government fund leaders in China” a few hours before the Vice President Biden met China’s president Hu. In 2013 Hunter flew with his father on an official trip to Asia. In Beijing the vice president was royally welcomed, while his son simultaneously secured “an exclusive deal with Chinese officials” which was announced ten days later. Hunter led the way in managing to get a deal “that no other Western firm had in China,” ultimately garnering $1.5 billion in investments. Carefully examined, this is but one of many such deals, so a “troubling pattern emerges from this research, showing how profitable deals were struck with foreign governments on the heels of crucial diplomatic missions carried out by their powerful fathers” (p. 27).
Schweizer’s Profiles in Corruption: The Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite (New York: HarperCollins, c. 2020; Kindle Edition) devotes one chapter to Joe Biden and his “self-enriching” schemes, involving “no less than five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, daughter Ashley, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie” (p. 48). In Joe’s endless political campaigns, beginning in 1972, family members served as campaign and finance managers and were richly rewarded for doing so. “Valerie ran all of his senate campaigns, as well as his presidential runs in 1988 and 2008. But she was also a senior partner in a political messaging firm named Joe Slade White & Company; the only two executives listed at the firm were Joe Slade White and Valerie. The firm received large fees from the Biden campaigns that Valerie was running. Two and a half million dollars in consulting fees flowed to her firm from” contributions for his “2008 presidential bid alone” (p. 54). Running for the Senate in 1972 Biden admitted he “went to the big guys for the money” and was willing “to prostitute” himself in the process. This meant delivering the goods the “big guys” wanted. Predictably, as a senator he routinely supported legislation favoring the corporations chartered in Delaware, including banks, credit card giants, and law firms engaged in lucrative litigation, especially dubious asbestos-damage suits. He also helped sons Beau and Hunter get good positions with legal firms or as lobbyists pulling in high-dollar “consulting fees.”
An illuminating episode showing the Biden family strategy involved StartUp Health, established by three Philadelphia family members. Obamacare had just been enacted, and various firms were competing to cash in on its provisions. In 2011 two StartUp executives scored a meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office. The very next day the company was featured at a HHS conference. “StartUp Health would continue to enjoy access to the highest levels of the White House as they worked to build up the business. Indeed, StartUp Health executives became regular visitors to the White House. Should you wonder why, just note that the chief medical officer of StartUp Health was Howard Krein, who was married to Joe Biden’s youngest daughter, Ashley. “Advancing the commercial interests of StartUp Health using the Oval Office and Air Force Two would continue over the next half-decade while Biden was in office” (p. 71). Needless to say, StartUp Health prospered. As did Ashley!
The most recent Schweizer treatise is Red Handed: How America’s Elites Get Rich Helping China Win (New York: HarperCollins, c. 2022; Kindle Edition), showing how congressmen, Silicon Valley technocrats, Wall Street brokers, diplomats, the Bush and Trouderau “dynasties,” and scores of academics line up get lucrative deals with China. Leading the crowd, naturally, are the Bidens. Repeating much of what he detailed in earlier books, Schweizer says the Biden-China ties continue. Father and son simply follow a “business model offering access to the highest levels of power in Washington in exchange for big-money international deals” (p. 15). This was evident when, soon after Joe Biden was elected in 2020, a meeting of prominent Chinese businessmen and Communist Party leaders revealed their delight at the good news. “They smiled, laughed, and applauded as [a respected insider, Di] discussed the global stage and China’s influence in the United States.” “Old friends” in Washington and on Wall Street, he assured them would prove helpful. Alluding to the new president’s “son’s deals, the audience laughed knowingly. ‘There are indeed buy-and-sell transactions involved in here, Di added” (p. 10). Vice President Biden’s door was frequently (if secretly and off-the-books) open to Chinese leaders, and Di obviously expected the pattern would continue while he was president.
Such transactions, Schweizer calculates, have brought the Bidens “some $31 million from Chinese businessmen with very close ties to the highest levels of Chinese intelligence during and after Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president. Indeed, as of this writing, some of those financial relationships remain intact.” Though Hunter Biden was most visible in these endeavors, newly-uncovered documents “provide even more evidence that this is a story about not just Hunter Biden, but Joe Biden himself” (p. 11). Emails from Hunter show him claiming he gave “Pop” significant sums. The initials JRB (Joseph Robinette Biden) appear in correspondence discussing money. For a decade Hunter paid for his father’s multiple private phone lines. He also paid remodeling costs for Joe’s Delaware home. As the cascade of data flows on, the pattern gets ever-clearer: the Biden Family “Delaware Way” brought them carloads of cash.