Photographs on Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop place him at his father's Wilmington, Delaware, residence on the day he invoked President Joe Biden's name in a text message, threatening his Chinese business partner to come down on him with their full weight if the business partner did not fulfill his "commitment."
In that message, sent on July 30, 2017, to an official, Henry Zhao, working with a Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC Energy—linked to Chinese military intelligence—Hunter Biden said he was sitting next to his father and that "we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled."
The message became public on Thursday, when Congress made public testimony from an IRS whistleblower, Gary Shapley, who obtained the message during his investigation of Hunter Biden's various tax crimes. Hours after the message was sent, Hunter Biden was pictured at his father’s home sitting behind the wheel of the president’s beloved 1967 Corvette Stingray with family members.
While Shapley did not supply evidence that Joe Biden was in fact in that room with his son, the timing indicates that he very well could have been sitting alongside the president as he said. Four photographs on the hard drive of Hunter Biden's laptop show him posing behind the wheel of Joe Biden’s 1967 Corvette Stingray at 6:49 p.m. on July 30, 2017. GPS metadata embedded in the photos shows they were taken in close proximity Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware home.
If Joe Biden was sitting next to his son as he sent the message as it suggests, it would be a fatal blow to the president’s repeated claims that he never discussed overseas business deals with his son, and the photographs of Hunter Biden at what appears to be a family gathering at the Delaware home is the strongest indication that he was in close proximity to his father when he threatened the Chinese businessman. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
In the WhatsApp message, Hunter Biden continued: "Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, 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. All too often people mistake kindness for weakness—and all too often I am standing over top of them saying I warned you. From this moment until whenever he reaches me."
"I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father. I sure hope whatever it is you are doing is very very important," Hunter Biden said in a subsequent message, adding that it was 9:45 a.m. when he sent the message.
The Washington Free Beacon initially reported on the picture of Hunter Biden in the Corvette after classified documents were found in the garage where his father kept it.
It is not clear whether the Bidens received a call from their Chinese counterparts that day, but the two sides appear to have settled their differences. Hunter Biden wrote to Zhao a few days later on Aug. 2, 2017, that "my family sends their best wishes and looks forward to playing some golf when the director has time." Zhao extended his "best regards to you, Jim and VP," an apparent reference to Joe Biden and his brother, Jim Biden.
That same day Hunter Biden invoked "me and my family" in an email to CEFC director Gongwen Dong confirming that they had agreed to a $10 million contract for "introductions alone," with bonus payments for any successful business deals the Biden family introduces.
The relationship proved lucrative for the Biden family. CEFC Energy paid Hunter Biden at least $5 million in the ensuing months to scout out potential investments for the Chinese firm. The company paid Biden another $1 million to provide legal services for CEFC Energy executive Patrick Ho, who faced charges that he tried to bribe African officials for oil rights.
Biden and his father were at the time sharing office space in Washington with their Chinese partners, according to emails from Hunter’s abandoned laptop. Biden asked the building manager to make a set of keys for his father, step-mother Jill Biden, his uncle Jim Biden, and CEFC executives, who were referred to as "office mates."
There is other evidence that Joe Biden was aware of his son’s involvement with CEFC Energy.
Rob Walker, a longtime Biden family friend, told FBI agents on Dec. 8, 2020 that he was present when Hunter and Joe Biden attended a meeting at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C., with CEFC officials. Walker said he believed Hunter brought his father into the meeting to impress the Chinese executives.
Tony Bobulinski, a California businessman, said he met with Hunter and Joe Biden in Los Angeles in May 2017 to discuss their CEFC venture. According to Bobulinski, "the big guy" Joe Biden was poised to receive a 10 percent equity stake in their joint venture with CEFC.
Hunter Biden's attorney, Chris Clark, did not respond to a request for comment.