President Joe Biden personally requested an audience with a Chinese oil executive whose company weeks earlier paid Hunter Biden millions of dollars in consulting fees, text messages obtained and released by the House Ways and Means Committee this week suggest.
Hunter Biden said his uncle’s "brother" would be in New York City and wanted to meet with Ye Jianming, the chairman of the Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC, in an Aug. 27, 2017, WhatsApp message to CEFC director Gongwen Dong. Emails from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show that he and his uncle, Jim Biden, were in the city that week to meet with Ye and discuss their ongoing business relationship. Earlier that month, CEFC had wired more than $5 million to Hunter Biden’s company, Hudson West III.
"My uncle will be here with his BROTHER who would like to say hello to the Chairman," Hunter Biden texted Dong as they were arranging a luncheon meeting with Ye later that afternoon. "So please give me location and time. Jim’s BROTHER if he is coming just wants to say hello he will not be stopping for lunch."
Hunter Biden appears to be referring to his father, who had extensive involvement in the Biden family’s dealings with CEFC. His other uncle, Frank Biden, had no known involvement with the Chinese company.
It’s not clear why Joe Biden would have wanted to meet with the chairman of CEFC, which had links to Chinese military intelligence, just weeks after the company wired millions of dollars to his son. The White House did not return a request for comment.
On the same day of the proposed meeting with the Chinese executive, Joe Biden published an op-ed in the Atlantic proclaiming America was "living through a battle for the soul of the nation." Joe Biden would later use that line as a slogan for his 2020 presidential campaign.
It’s no surprise that Hunter Biden beat around the bush when referring to his father in the message. His former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released texts in 2020 showing that Biden family associates were instructed not to mention Joe Biden’s involvement in the CEFC deal in writing.
"Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face, I know u know that but they are paranoid," Biden associate James Gilliar wrote to Bobulinski on May 20, 2017.
"OK they should be paranoid about things," Bobulinski responded.
Bobulinski said he met with Joe Biden in person on May 2, 2017, to discuss the Biden family’s deal with CEFC. At the time, the deal involved payment of $10 million for "introductions alone," with bonus payments for successful business deals the Biden family introduced. Joe Biden, referred to as the "big guy" in emails discussing the deal, was poised to receive a 10 percent equity stake in the family’s joint venture with CEFC.
Another associate involved in the deal, Rob Walker, told the FBI in December 2020 that Joe Biden attended a meeting with his son and CEFC executives.
CEFC dragged its feet for much of the summer of 2017 in wiring funds to the Bidens, text messages released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee show. By June 2017, a rift formed between Hunter Biden and Bobulinski, with the former alleging that the latter had too much control over the arrangement. This led Hunter Biden to remind his associates that the Biden family "brand" was the only real asset driving the deal.
"Explain to me the one thing Tony brings to MY table that I so desperately need that I’m willing to sign over my family’s brand and pretty much the rest of my business life?" Hunter texted Jim Biden on June 6, 2017. "Why in gods name would I give this marginal bully the keys to my family’s only asset?"
Frustrated with CEFC’s delays in wiring funds, Hunter Biden invoked his father’s name in a message to CEFC executive Henry Zhao threatening professional ruin if the firm did not follow through on its "commitment." Hunter was pictured at his father’s home the same day he sent the threatening text, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
"I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled," Hunter texted the Chinese executive on July 30, 2017. "I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction."
Hunter Biden's invocation of his father’s name in the threatening messages appears to have lit a fire under CEFC’s feet. The Chinese energy firm moved swiftly to modify the deal by removing Bobulinski and Hunter Biden’s other associates. By Aug. 8, 2017, CEFC had wired more than $5 million to Hudson West III.
Joe Biden further solidified his ties with CEFC the following month. Hunter Biden told the general manager of his K Street office building in a Sept. 21, 2017, email that Joe Biden, Jim Biden, Jill Biden, and Dong, the CEFC executive, would be moving into his office suite.
"[P]lease have keys made available for new office mates," Hunter Biden wrote in the email, identifying Dong as the "emissary" for CEFC’s chairman.
Joe Biden has repeatedly claimed he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son. And though he attended more than 20 meetings with Hunter Biden and his business associates as vice president, Democratic lawmakers contend that Joe Biden did nothing more than discuss "niceties" such as "the weather or whatever" during the meetings.
Hunter Biden attorneys Abbe Lowell and Paul Salvaty did not return requests for comment.