Hunter Biden’s business partners had considerable influence in the office of then-vice president Joe Biden, going so far as arranging invitations to state functions, a new trove of emails released by the National Archives on Wednesday shows.
The emails, which were released to America First Legal as part of a lawsuit, raise questions about President Joe Biden’s repeated denials that he had no knowledge of his son’s overseas business dealings. In at least one instance, Hunter Biden’s former business partner Eric Schwerin initiated contact with the vice president’s top aides to get an associate into a 2010 State Department lunch with senior Chinese Communist Party officials. Other emails suggest Hunter Biden received confidential information from the vice president’s office about a 2010 state trip to Africa.
The emails come as Republican lawmakers scrutinize a host of the Biden family’s foreign business dealings. Hunter Biden lobbied the State Department on behalf of a corrupt Romanian official who paid the Biden family $1 million while his father was vice president, the Washington Free Beacon reported. House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R., Ky.) earlier this month subpoenaed FBI director Christopher Wray for documents that allegedly detail "a bribery scheme involving a foreign national and Joe Biden when he served as vice president."
The National Archives heavily redacted the emails it provided to America First Legal, citing executive privilege. But emails from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop shed more light on the redacted messages. One of the redacted emails released from the National Archive, for example, reveals that Schwerin reached out to Joe Biden’s then-executive assistant Michele Smith in a message titled "China Lunch" on Nov. 19, 2010. The Archives redacted the body of the email, which Hunter Biden was copied on, and claimed its release would "disclose confidential advice between the president and his advisors, or between such advisors."
But an unredacted version of the same email located on Hunter Biden’s hard drive shows that Schwerin informed Smith that Hunter Biden wanted to invite Greg Penner, a Walmart board member, to an upcoming State Department luncheon honoring then-Chinese president Hu Jintao.
The email came in response to a Nov. 18 email in which Schwerin informed Hunter Biden that the vice president needed help finding people who fit into the mold of a "business leader," "elected official," or "think tank" type to invite to the event. Joe Biden and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ultimately honored Hu with a State Department luncheon on Jan. 19, 2011. It is not clear if Hunter Biden, Schwerin, or Penner attended the event.
America First Legal says the emails show that "Biden family business was intertwined with the official business of the United States."
"These records–which are only a small portion of the actual records that the National Archives possess–demonstrate for the American people, yet again, continued evidence of influence peddling and personal enrichment by the Biden family," America First Legal vice president Gene Hamilton said in a statement. "The full extent has yet to be seen, but with each release, we are painting a fuller picture for the American people of the extent to which the Biden family business was intertwined with the official business of the United States."
Another set of messages obtained by the conservative legal group show that Hunter Biden reached out to his father’s then-deputy chief of staff, Alan Hoffman, on June 3, 2010, asking to call him to "talk about africa."
"Always available for you," Hoffman responded seconds later.
Later that day, Hunter Biden sent an email to Jill Biden adviser Anthony Bernal titled "Nairobi ideas," and another message to Joe Biden’s executive assistant, Nancy Orloff, titled "Summary Africa." The National Archives redacted the contents of both emails. Messages on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop from the same day, however, show Joe Biden staffers discussing the vice president’s schedule for an upcoming trip to Nairobi, Kenya, from June 7 through June 10, 2010.
Hunter Biden has a long track record of questionable African business deals. House Republicans in January launched an investigation into Hunter Biden’s role in the 2016 sale of a Congolese mine to a Chinese conglomerate, which helped Beijing gain control over the global cobalt supply. Hunter Biden also tried to help a Chinese energy executive purchase an oil field in Ghana, even after he was warned that the executive’s company was linked to countries sanctioned by the United States.
Though the emails show that Hunter enjoyed extensive access to his father’s staff, they also reveal that he was not always welcome on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Hunter Biden complained in an April 19, 2010, email to Orloff that his ex-wife, Kathleen Biden, and his children were asked to leave the White House "at least 5 times" for unexplained reasons, one email shows.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.