Federal tax probe into Biden’s son Hunter moves forward

WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury has heard testimony in recent months about Hunter Biden’s earnings and payments he received while serving on the board of directors of a Ukrainian energy company, according to two people familiar with the matter. ‘investigation.

It is still unclear if he could be charged. But grand jury activity underscores that a federal tax probe into President Joe Biden’s son that began in 2018 remains active as prosecutors continue to examine foreign payments and other aspects of his finances.

A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not return a phone message or email seeking comment on Friday. A Justice Department spokesperson referred a request for comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, which is handling the investigation. A spokesperson for the office did not return a phone message seeking comment.

People familiar with the investigation could not publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

However the inquiry resolves, it has already presented a political headache for the Biden administration, particularly if Republicans who have already seized on the inquiry to attack the president regain control of the House in the election. midterm later this year. Republicans would then control congressional committees and shape the direction of any investigation.

A White House that has sought to refer questions on law enforcement matters to the Justice Department was asked this week if it stood by the president’s assertion during a 2020 debate that his son had no unethical business dealings with Ukraine or China. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said yes.

The investigation could also force a tricky decision for a Justice Department that has sought to assert its independence and has publicly underlined its willingness to let facts and evidence, not political decisions, guide its investigative and prosecution decisions. ‘charge.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has not publicly shed light on the investigation. But the Justice Department left Delaware’s top federal prosecutor — David Weiss, a holdover from the Trump administration — in place, presumably to provide continuity.

Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of an investigation into his taxes in December 2020, a month after the presidential election. He said in a statement that he was “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have conducted my affairs lawfully and appropriately, including with the assistance of professional tax advisers.”

The Associated Press reported later that month that a subpoena served on the young Biden sought information relating to more than two dozen entities. One was Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company whose board he joined when his father was vice president. The move raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest given that the elder Biden was deeply involved in US policy toward Ukraine under the Obama administration.

The scale of the subpoena highlighted the broad scope of the investigation into Hunter Biden, although there is no indication that the probe includes scrutiny of the president himself. Biden said he did not discuss his son’s international business dealings with him and denied ever taking money from a foreign country.

In recent months, witnesses have been questioned about payments Hunter Biden received while serving on Burisma’s board, people familiar with the investigation said.

Republicans have tried to make Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine a major issue in the 2020 presidential election.

A year earlier, then-President Donald Trump tried to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to launch investigations into the Bidens just as Zelenskyy was asking states for military aid. -United.

Trump was later impeached by the House during the phone call, but was acquitted by the Senate.

Helen L. Cuellar