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James Biden says President Biden had no involvement in his business deals

President Biden’s younger brother James, in a lengthy opening statement at the start of a deposition for the House Republican-led impeachment inquiry, said Joe Biden had no role in any of his business dealings that are now under scrutiny.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures,” he said, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by The Washington Post. “Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities. None.”

He testified that he has kept his professional life separate from their personal relationship, adding, “I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else.”

The testimony comes as House Republicans have struggled to uncover firm evidence that Joe Biden benefited from — or played a role in — the business pursuits of his family members, especially his brother and his son Hunter, who is appearing before the House next week.

The appearances of James and Hunter Biden before the Oversight and Judiciary committees could provide Republicans with a final chance to alter the trajectory of an impeachment inquiry that so far has produced mostly exculpatory statements, despite Republicans’ efforts to prove that the president benefited improperly from his family’s businesses. Republicans argue that because Biden sometimes made informal appearances at business meetings, he was in effect using his office and its prestige to enrich his family (though a number of these meetings occurred when he was not in office).

While James Biden’s opening statement provided sweeping denials, it was to be followed by hours of closed-door questioning Wednesday afternoon that could yield more information.

During a break in the hearing, Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told reporters that little new ground was being broken during the interview. “We obviously again have heard nothing indicating that Joe Biden had anything to do with the business ventures of Hunter Biden or James Biden,” he said. “And nothing has contradicted that basic understanding that we’ve had for many, many months now.”

He described the room and the interview as “a subdued affair.”

“It feels to me as if everyone knows the impeachment investigation is over,” Raskin said. “There’s a quality of just going through the motions here.”

Republicans’ efforts to build a case against President Biden took a hit recently when special counsel David Weiss charged a former FBI informant with lying about the Bidens’ business dealings. Republicans had previously touted the informant’s explosive assertion that executives of a Ukrainian energy firm said they had hired Hunter Biden so his father could protect their company in various ways.

During his opening statement, James Biden for the first time provided his account of a $200,000 loan repayment that he made to his brother. House Republicans have focused on that transaction because the money was repaid on the same day James Biden received $200,000 from a health-care company that later filed for bankruptcy and sued James Biden.

James Biden said that his consulting work at times provided episodic income and that he struggled to pay all his predictable bills — including tuition payments for three children — along with unforeseeable ones, such as medical expenses and hurricane damage to a Florida home.

“In those instances, we have turned to financial institutions, friends, business partners, or family for loans,” James Biden said in the statement. “Some of those obligations were reduced to writing; others were not. On each occasion, we did our best to repay the debts in full. Some individuals forgave the outstanding obligations.”

James Biden said he does not believe that his brother knew about the loans other than the one he himself provided.

“They were short-term loans that I received from Joe when he was a private citizen, and I repaid them within weeks,” he said. “He had no information at all about the source of the funds I used to repay him. The complete explanation is that Joe lent me money, and I repaid him as soon as I had the funds to do so.”

James Biden has long been an integral part of the Biden family, though often in the background. President Biden has in recent years described him as “my brother Jimmy, who fixes everything.” He was by his brother’s side at his first wedding, was at the hospital when Joe’s son Beau died and found a neurosurgeon when Joe had a brain aneurysm.

“I’m the guy who assists in everything. When it comes to my family I try to be as supportive as I can,” James Biden told The Post in a rare interview in 2022. “But this notion of ‘the fixer,’ or any reference that has a negative connotation, is offensive.”

He added, “The notion I am some underworld figure and I am a fixer or the cleaner or I’m this or that — I’m a very concerned family member who tries to protect my family in every way I can, in what is a very ethical way.”

During his opening statement Wednesday, James Biden recounted the early part of his brother’s career and how it intertwined with his own. James Biden left the University of Delaware to work full-time on his brother’s Senate campaign, with a focus on raising money. He traveled around the country meeting with potential donors.

“The intensity of that process forged some very strong bonds. Many of the people I met during that initial campaign, and over the next several years in subsequent campaigns, became my life-long friends, acquaintances, and contacts,” he said in his statement. “And indeed, many of those people knew me first and far better than they knew my older brother Joe.”

He also talked about the family’s grief when Joe Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and their children were in a car accident shortly after the 1972 Senate election. Neilia and a baby daughter were killed, while Beau and Hunter were injured and spent weeks recovering in a hospital. It was James Biden who went to the hospital to identify the bodies, and he was the one to deliver the news to Neilia’s parents and his own.

He said he was about 15 credits short of graduation at the time, but he left college to spend time with his nephews and try to start a business career.

James Biden outlined some of the ventures he explored, including those that involved his nephew Hunter. Among other things, he provided new details of a lucrative deal that he and Hunter struck with a Chinese energy conglomerate called CEFC.

He said that Hunter had asked him to join and, partly because Hunter was in the throes of addiction and divorce, “I agreed to help, and I hoped that by staying nearby, I could provide Hunter with guidance and additional emotional support.”

Hunter and James Biden had several business partners in their negotiations with CEFC. One of those, Tony Bobulinski, has become one of the few witnesses to say that Joe Biden was aware of his family members’ business activities.

James Biden, however, said in his statement that he found Bobulinski was “tremendously arrogant; was often disrespectful and a bad listener; acted like a stubborn bully; and seemed intent on assuming control of the deal and undermining Hunter’s role.”

He suggested that Bobulinski’s disparaging comments reflected his frustration at being cut out of the deal at the time. “To the extent Mr. Bobulinski has said or suggested that I ever sought to, or did, involve my brother in any business dealings with CEFC — or anyone else for that matter — those allegations are false,” James Biden said.

He cast it as “a straightforward business venture,” adding, “My brother played no role, was not involved with, and received no benefits from my work with CEFC.”

And he concluded with an appeal to the lawmakers to bring their investigation to a close.

“It is difficult to open my personal and professional life to such intense public scrutiny, but I am doing so to comply with the Committees’ inquiry. And I have nothing to hide,” James Biden said. “With my appearance here today, the Committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong. There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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