Last month, Daily Wire media reporter Ben Johnson held an exclusive interview with New York Post columnist Miranda Devine about her book, Laptop from Hell: Hunter Biden, Big Tech, and the Dirty Secrets the President Tried to Hide, which is out now. They discuss the evidence she saw while reviewing Hunter Biden’s laptop appearing to tie the Biden family to a vast, international influence-peddling scheme that reaches from the board rooms of obscure Delaware corporations to the highest levels of the Russian and Chinese governments. This transcript has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity. — BJ.
BJ: The first thing that emerges to me upon reading your new book Laptop From Hell is that at one point Hunter Biden referred to himself as “community property.” That seems to be the way he was treated his entire life. You write about how his father arranged corrupt business deals through his political connections, and then Hunter was expected to finance the lavish lifestyles of everyone in the entire Biden family. In a sense, Joe Biden used his youngest son as a cash cow for himself, stepmother Jill, brother Beau, and others. Does that set the template for some of the tragedy that comes about in Hunter’s later life?
MD: I think that’s a really strong perception of Hunter, and I do think that that feeds into his addiction problems. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see that any father who puts someone with addiction problems in front of a gushing torrent of cash is not a good father. Hunter, in fact, even mentions this in his memoir. The Burisma money alone — $83,000-plus a month was just pouring into his bank account for doing nothing — was a real temptation for him. So, I think that that gives you an inkling that, as you said, Hunter was not ever allowed to be his own person. He wanted to be an artist or a writer — which, ironically enough, he’s now doing, one way or another. But he had to be his father’s tool, and so I think it tells you a lot about who Joe Biden is. And that’s really what I’m trying to do in the book. The laptop’s really not about Hunter Biden, even though it’s his laptop. Its value is in what it tells us about Joe Biden, Joe Biden’s corruption, and the history of it dating right back to his early days in Delaware. And also the fact that now that he is president, he’s — at least — compromised with Russia and China, and that has to affect America’s national security, particularly when you understand that Hunter Biden has not divested himself from BHR [Bohai Harvest Rosemont]; he’s still a 10% shareholder, a partner with the Chinese Communist Party.
BJ: Let’s talk about those deals a little bit. One of the most consequential deals, obviously, is the $6 million dollars that, as you write, Hunter Biden “managed to extract” from China Energy Fund Committee (CEFC). No business takes place with any Chinese industry unless it furthers the geopolitical interests of the People’s Republic of China. In this case, as you point out, CEFC inked a deal, signed by Vladimir Putin personally, to benefit Russia’s oil industry — and Hunter’s foreign deals ended up benefiting Joe Biden. Biden had been somewhat involved in Hunter’s previous deal by winging his son over to China on Air Force Two, correct?
MD: The Air Force Two visit in 2013 was about the BHR deal. Hunter had two Chinese deals. BHR had $2.5 billion under management, according to documents on the laptop, but he was dissatisfied with that deal. It was something that John Kerry’s stepson [and BHR business partner] Chris Heinz had warned him and [fellow partner] Devon Archer about; he was trying to tell them he thought they were naïve, that you do make a lot of money out of these equity funds straight up. You have to put a lot of money up and then then you have to wait — and, particularly when you are a partner of the Chinese, they’re calling the shots. Hunter and his U.S. partners were getting quite dissatisfied, because they weren’t getting the cash that they wanted. I think Hunter’s alimony was $36,000 a month, plus he had his drug habit, plus a very expensive lifestyle, plus he had to fund Joe’s lifestyle and the rest of the family. [Hunter’s uncle] Jim Biden and his wife were big spenders, as well. All the Bidens have very champagne tastes. So, he needed money. He needed cash. And this was the problem with BHR; it wasn’t producing cash fast enough,.
That was why this second Chinese deal came about with CEFC, which would be far more lucrative. That’s why he and his partners brought in Tony Bobulinksi, who was a legitimate businessman and was a self-made man. They wanted to set up this company with the proper governance and proper business practices, but that quickly ran into a problem — which was Hunter wanted cash. Tony Bobulinski really stood up against him, saying he just wanted to treat CEFC like his own “personal piggy bank.” And that was why, it appears, they decided to basically welch on the deal and go behind Bobulinski and the other partners’ back and do a side deal with the Chinese partners of CEFC to enrich themselves.
BJ: What do you think is the least reported aspect of the laptop?
MD: The fact that Hunter, along with Uncle Jim, was so deeply involved in the highest echelons of the inner sanctum of Vladimir Putin and President Xi; I don’t know if that’s really understood. Also, that Joe Biden was intimately involved in that business. That Cafe Milano section shows how Joe Biden lied for a long time, from the campaign right through until finally The Washington Post’s fact-checker managed to get the White House to sort of half-admit that, yes, he was there at that dinner in that private room in April 2015. That was where he met with Hunter’s Ukrainian benefactor, with the Kazakhstani benefactors, and the Russians were on the guest list. So that one Cafe Milano chapter really shows up Joe Biden’s lies. We knew that Joe Biden was financially benefiting, but there’s evidence that he benefited financially directly from Hunter, whether it was Hunter paying his AT&T bills, or maintenance on the house, or just moaning about having to give him half his salary or paying for his brothers, tuition, etc., etc.
BJ: As you mentioned, all of these deals have to be signed by the leading governmental authorities, both in China and in Russia. A cynical person might say that a politician may be tempted to change his foreign policy based on his own investments. How would that affect our national security?
MD: Well, you can see it now, even with just the perception of being compromised. The fact that Joe Biden has come in and cut off America’s ability to be energy-independent, stopped the XL pipeline, and stopped fracking on public lands — all of that benefits China and China’s oil supplies. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist; you just have to say that Joe Biden and his son were in business with the Chinese Communist Party and that Hunter was tipped into the businesses and given an enormous, unbelievable access to the very top of these Chinese state-owned enterprises (and these banks with billions of dollars of assets under management). This was not done, because he was some brilliant international businessman. It was solely because his father brought him along, introduced him to President Xi several times, and he had lunches in Washington, D.C. He was pulled along to Beijing on Air Force Two. This was all understood in China as American power come to do business. “I’ve brought my son with me; you do business with my son and make him rich, because that makes us all rich.” It’s sort of not as flagrant to American or to Western eyes, but if you look at it from the Chinese perspective, when Joe Biden arrived with Hunter Biden on Air Force Two, it was a signal that Hunter Biden would be taken care of financially; therefore, China could do what it liked.
Joe Biden went to China at that point as vice president, because he had been appointed by President Obama as point-man for China, There were some really pressing issues that needed to be sorted out on that trip, including the militarization of the islands in the South China Sea, which is crucial to America’s allies in the region, and to try to stem China’s aggression, which has only become even stronger over the years. And also to protect America’s intellectual property. Those things were really just ramping up on China’s behalf. And if America had firmly pushed back, they might have had an opportunity to do something about China’s aggression. But instead, Joe Biden went to China, got absolutely nothing, glad-handed, and had long conversations with President Xi. Hunter came away with the BHR deal, which he had 10% of and which ended up being a $2.5 billion dollar fund. And America came out as the loser, but China got a very good deal out of that. And you saw the same thing happened the other day, when President Xi had a virtual meeting with Joe Biden, and he has the measure of the president. He knows that he can do whatever he likes, that Joe Biden will never make any tough asks from him. And within hours of that meeting, China went ahead and was buzzing Taiwan with warplanes. So there’s just no respect for Joe Biden. They know who he is. They know that they’ve compromised him via his son. And he knew [Biden willingly participated]; it’s not that he’s not a willing participant.
BJ: In this particular case, perhaps, Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter’s own foreign affairs was not that flagrant. In other business deals, it was quite flagrant, particularly with that Cafe Milano meeting. Despite his denials, he was in fact present at that meeting. Based on the materials you have seen, what kind of a picture emerges of Joe Biden?
MD: That he’s deeply corrupt and a congenital liar. I mean, that’s a terrible thing to said about the president, but his history is one of being a fantasist, a plagiarist, a serial liar. And I think it’s, it’s some sort of a personal pathology, and I think that also feeds into the some of the pathologies that Hunter has. If you have a father who creates a false reality that you know isn’t true, or who makes promises that never come to fruition, then you have a pretty shaky foundation. And Joe Biden from his earliest days in Delaware had started this influence-peddling operation and you see it in Hunter’s career. Joe got all sorts of favors from his donors and from people businesses like the credit card company MBNA, which made a lot of money thanks to a lot of the decisions that Joe Biden pushed through in his powerful role in the Senate. The quid pro quo of that was that he was able to afford incredibly grand houses in Delaware and was helped into them by various donors, and Hunter’s entire career was these grace and favor jobs at way-inflated salaries. At one point, Joe’s asked about this by Tom Brokaw: What do you say about this scandal that your son got this very lavishly paid job with this credit card company? And he says. Oh, no, that’s just the same as you would have gotten if he’d become a lawyer in New York. In fact, the salary is two-and-a-half times more than the [typical Wall Street lawyer’s starting] salary.
I don’t even know at this stage if Joe Biden knows that he’s doing anything wrong, because it’s just now like breathing air for him. Everything is a favor. Everything is some kind of a Tammany Hall quid pro quo: “You scratch, my back. I’ll scratch yours.” And his entire family is in on this grift. Everybody gets grace and favor jobs. Everybody gets doors opened for them: the colleges they want to go to, the clerkships, internships, jobs, government sinecures for the friends and family. Anyone in the inner sanctum of the Biden family. Hunter even talks about how Joe Biden co-opted the Secret Service agents who were looking after him.
BJ: I guess, like American Express, membership in the Biden clan has its privileges, aside from the money. When it came to Hunter Biden’s alleged handgun violation, where he lied on a federal background check form while purchasing a .38 caliber pistol, two supposed Secret Service agents showed up at the gun store and demanded that the owner, Ron Palmieri, give them the form. Ultimately, he did not comply. But this was at a time where the Bidens had no Secret Service representation, because Joe was in between stints in government. How did this co-opting process work, and do we know about anything else that Secret Service agents or perhaps others in in the Deep State — the FBI, the DEA — would do for the Bidens, such as suppressing evidence?
MD: Yes, there’s a quite a lot of evidence about that. Some of these were certainly former Secret Service agents who had retired and had their own consultancy businesses. One, in particular, Dale Pupillo, had been Joe Biden’s head Secret Service guy when he was vice president, and they’d become very close. Dale Pupillo was a deputy assistant director of the Secret Service, so pretty high up. And this is classic Joe Biden: When Dale Pupillo’s father died, Joe and Jill flew on Air Force Two to Indiana, to his small town, and went to the service, and so Dale Pupillo was treated like royalty after that. And Dale used to guard Hunter Biden and his wife, Kathleen.
After he retired, Dale Pupillo did some private eye work for Hunter and Uncle Jim, doing due diligence into various business partners. And so he was definitely tied into the Bidens and, as such a senior person, maybe he had a sort of retinue of other retired Secret Service agents.
There was this time when Hunter, in 2018 was just on this crack bender pretty much the whole year in Los Angeles, bouncing in and out of different hotels: the Chateau Marmont and another hotels nearby in Hollywood. He had his credit cards skimmed multiple times, accidentally or not, by one of the escorts that he used — and it seems one of these credit cards was connected to Joe Biden’s account. They had a lot of co-mingling of their finances. And this sent these two former Secret Service agents to turn up at his door a few hours after about $65,000 that had been deducted from his credit card. These two former Secret Service agents knocked on his door and used his father’s Secret Service codename when he’d been vice president, which was “Celtic.” And they said, look, this money’s coming out of Celtic’s account. This is a problem. And so that was one example. Then, of course, the gun you mentioned.
The Secret Service seem to just show up whenever Hunter’s really in a bind, to get him out of the bind. And obviously, with the gun, the big thing was to try and get rid of all the evidence that he’d allegedly lied on that background check form, when he said that he didn’t use drugs. There’s evidence in the laptop that he was using drugs all through that period. The famous photograph of him with a crack pipe in his mouth asleep during a bender in Las Vegas was taken just weeks before he signed that form, so that was very incriminating. And he admits it in his memoir that he was hooked on crack at that time. People had gone to jail for doing the same. So, the clean-up crew went in and we’re told by the gun shop owner that that the these guys presented themselves as Secret Service, but the Secret Service itself says no, that they never were involved in that; they’ve never done any work for the Bidens. And so, all we can do is just provide the evidence that’s there in the police reports and witness reports and on the laptop, alongside the denials of the Secret Service.
BJ: Of course, the laptop not only quasi-indicts Joe Biden, but it essentially indicts the entire Biden family. You mentioned Uncle Jim and Sarah, Uncle Frank, Aunt Val, cousin Missy, and others. Influence-peddling seems like the cottage industry of the entire Biden clan. Is Hunter just the most widely publicized grifter in the Biden family?
MD: Yes, he is. The others have popped into view occasionally. Uncle Jim is under investigation for some alleged scams he’s involved in, just as Hunter is. Uncle Frank, who’s in Florida, had a lot of other sorts of activities overseas, and Joe Biden as vice president was instrumental in helping him get these deals. And Uncle Frank, who’s not a lawyer, but he’s attached to a law firm in Florida as a glad-hander, [because] the Biden name always helps. When Joe Biden was inaugurated, famously, his firm took out a full-page spread in a publication, just trumpeting the fact that they had the president’s brother as part of their team. So, you know, it’s shameless grifting, and they do it in front of your nose. It’s just like Hunter’s art dealership. They are completely shameless, but they’ve gotten away with it for so long that they really don’t care. They don’t even try to hide it anymore.
BJ: I appreciate that summary. Your original reporting casts a shadow well beyond just the Biden family. The emails you report on in your book involve offers to set up meetings with Kamala Harris, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and many others — the royalty of the Democratic Party on both coasts. If those politicians’ children lost their laptops, what do you think we might find?
MD: Well! I agree with you, they’re all in on the scam. But I do think that Joe is really one of the most practiced, if not the most practiced, practitioner of influence peddling, this very Washington form of corruption. There’s a lot of it going on in Washington, and I think he’s the best at it. He’s certainly the one who’s internationalized it. Maybe it was small beer in Delaware, but when he became vice president and Barack Obama basically abdicated his responsibility in the coverage of foreign affairs, Joe Biden just romped around the world — and, wherever he went, Hunter and Uncle Jim went along behind him, making money from his name. And Burisma is a particularly obvious, textbook example, because Joe Biden in arrogance or foolhardiness — maybe recklessness? — boasted on camera about having strong-armed the Ukrainian government to sack their chief prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, and he told us that he had threatened them with withholding a billion dollars’ worth of U.S. aid, which Ukraine desperately needed. He loved that power. He really does enjoy exerting power over other people, smaller people, and that was the way he felt about Ukraine.
His rationale for demanding the ousting of Shokin, which was just blindly repeated by The New York Times and The Washington Post and almost all the media in America, was that Shokin was not doing anything about corruption. He was not investigating anybody. He certainly wasn’t investigating Burisma. But that’s completely wrong. That’s a lie, and the contemporaneous media reports at the time proved that it’s wrong. Viktor Shokin’s own documents that he’s produced, and interviews he’s done since — and he’s even had a court case in Ukraine, which was hardly reported on here — would show that he’s telling the truth. In fact, just before Joe Biden demanded he be fired, he had seized the property of Burisma’s owner, a guy called Nikolai [or Mykola] Zlochevsky, including various mansions in Kiev, even his Rolls-Royce Phantom car. There was an active corruption investigation going on at the time, and Shokin has since said that he was going to subpoena Hunter Biden and his partner, Devon Archer, to testify about the corruption that was going on, and how the Biden family was involved in this corruption— this Ukrainian energy company that’s been paying Hunter Biden $83,333 a month for doing nothing except showing up once a year at a ritzy conference in Monaco. The evidence [showing] that he was being paid simply to get his father to do favors for Burisma and its owner, and get him out of trouble, was that within a few weeks after Joe Biden was no longer vice president, Hunter’s pay was cut in half.
BJ: Final question for you: What do you hope that people who read Laptop From Hell take away from it?
MD: Well, I hope they realize that Joe Biden is not the man he says he is. I hope they realize that he is corrupt and has been corrupt for a long time. And I hope that they’re aware that he’s compromised America’s national security when it comes to Russia and China and, therefore, vote accordingly, and put pressure on the various authorities accordingly. I hope that as many people as possible understand who Joe Biden is. He’s not humble Joe from Scranton, who’s a working-class guy with working-class tastes. He lives a very lavish lifestyle and so does his entire family. He talks about white privilege all the time. His family is the very embodiment of the worst of white privilege.
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The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.