Hunter Biden Is Downplaying a Threatening Text He Sent a Chinese Executive. His Explanation Doesn't Add Up.

Hunter Biden in father's corvette on July 30, 2017
February 29, 2024

Hunter Biden’s explanation for a threatening text message he sent a Chinese business partner doesn’t add up, a review of publicly available records shows.

Hunter Biden was asked during a congressional deposition Wednesday about a July 30, 2017, message in which he pushed a counterpart at CEFC China Energy to finalize a lucrative business deal with the energy conglomerate. The troubled first son told his associate he was "sitting here with my father" and awaiting a phone call to discuss their deal. "You will regret not following my direction," Biden told the recipient, identified as CEFC China Energy executive Henry Zhao.

Hunter Biden downplayed the message during Wednesday’s deposition, telling lawmakers he was likely high on drugs when he sent it, that he was not actually with his father, and that he sent the message to the wrong person.

But those claims don’t add up, according to public records and one of the Republican lawmakers present at the deposition.

"The facts don’t back up what he’s saying," Rep. Pat Fallon (R., Texas) told WMAL’s Vince Coglianese.

For one, Biden was photographed at his father’s Delaware home the day he sent the message. The Washington Free Beacon reported Biden was photographed on July 30, 2017, at his father’s Delaware home. Biden’s new claim that he was likely high that day could raise other concerns, since he was driving his dad’s Corvette with his young daughter and her friend.

It also seems unlikely that Biden sent his message to the wrong person. That’s because Zhao, the CEFC China Energy official, responded to the threatening text message with a promise to rectify their disagreement.

"Copy. I will call you on WhatsApp," Zhao responded, according to records released by the House Oversight Committee.

Biden’s threat appears to have worked. CEFC China Energy wired $100,000 to Biden’s law firm, Owasco LLC., on Aug. 4, 2017, according to bank records. CEFC China Energy sent $5 million to Hudson West III, Biden’s joint venture firm, on Aug. 8, 2017.

The message has been a focal point of Republicans’ impeachment proceedings against the president, because it suggests Biden was more involved in his son’s business dealings than either have admitted. It also shows the cut-throat tactics the Biden family was willing to deploy to cement a partnership with China. President Joe Biden has said he had "no involvement" in his son’s affairs.

But Joe Biden was keenly aware of Hunter’s dealings with CEFC China Energy by the time of the threatening texts. The elder Biden attended at least two meetings in which a deal with CEFC China Energy was discussed, according to two Biden family associates.

California businessman Tony Bobulinski told the FBI and Congress that he met with Hunter and Joe Biden in May 2017 to discuss a joint venture with CEFC China Energy. And longtime Biden family friend Rob Walker has testified Joe Biden stopped by a meeting with CEFC China Energy officials shortly after his tenure as vice president.

Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell, who accompanied him at the deposition, did not respond to a request for comment.