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President Joe Biden denied taking part in his son’s alleged shakedown of a Chinese businessman recently revealed in a 2017 WhatsApp message.
Reporters questioned Biden over the WhatsApp message, revealed last week by IRS whistleblowers who investigated the president’s son’s tax affairs, at the White House on Wednesday. The president has so far refused to comment at length about the message that allegedly ties him with his son’s dealings with foreign agents.
“How involved were you in your son’s Chinese shake-down text message? Were you sitting there? Were you involved?” a reporter asked the president.
Biden responded: “No, I wasn’t.”
Reporter: “How involved were you in your son’s Chinese shake-down text message? Were you sitting there? Were you involved?"
Biden: “No, I wasn’t.”
Reporter: “Were you?”
Biden *yelling*: “No!” pic.twitter.com/dwLwbVQrju
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 28, 2023
On Monday, in response to another reporter’s question, Biden reiterated his claim that he has never spoken with his son about business. A statement from the White House counsel’s office released last week in response to the revelation in the WhatsApp message hedged the president’s stance, however.
“As we have said many times before, the President was not in business with his son,” said Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House counsel’s office.
The president’s claim that he had never spoken with his son, Hunter, about business as Hunter struck deals overseas — in China, Romania, and Ukraine as his father oversaw U.S. diplomacy in the country — has long been in doubt. Last year, a voicemail left by the elder Biden for his son suggested that the president spoke with Hunter about his business affairs in 2018 in connection with a story from The New York Times.
IRS agents investigating Hunter Biden revealed his alleged WhatsApp message in testimony to the House as part of an attempt to blow the whistle on what the IRS agents say is an effort to stall and thwart the Hunter Biden investigation from the Department of Justice. The agents said the message was sent on July 30, 2017, from Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, an executive at the Chinese energy company CEFC.
“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” Hunter allegedly wrote to Zhao.
Less than ten days after that message was allegedly sent, CEFC-associated accounts wired more than $5 million to accounts associated with Hunter Biden.
The IRS whistleblower testimony has sparked talk of impeachment on Capitol Hill focusing on Attorney General Merrick Garland, who allegedly improperly interfered in the Hunter Biden investigation, and President Biden.