President Biden acted amused Tuesday when asked about the alleged existence of audio recordings of himself and the Ukrainian businessman who allegedly bribed him while he was vice president.
“Are there tapes that you accepted bribes, President Biden? Is that true?” The Post asked Biden as he left an event with US diplomats in the White House East Room.
Biden, 80, stopped mid-stride and turned around with a smile on his face — then seemed to chuckle to himself and shook his head as he turned to walk away without saying a word.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) revealed Monday that a paid FBI source said the same Ukrainian businessman who allegedly paid $5 million apiece in bribes to then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter in 2015 and 2016 said that he had 15 audio recordings of Hunter and two of Joe Biden that he kept as “insurance.”
Grassley accused the FBI of redacting information about the tapes from an informant file that the bureau allowed House Oversight Committee members to read last week.
It’s unclear if the FBI has possession of any of the alleged tapes.
As Biden continued walking with his back turned to the press Tuesday evening, he answered “no” to a CNN reporter’s request for comment on the arraignment of former President Donald Trump on charges related to mishandling classified records.
Many elected Republicans said that the Justice Department’s treatment of Trump sharply contrasts with its treatment of the Bidens.
The informant file accusing Biden of bribery was created in June 2020 after the FBI discovered information provided in 2017 from the same longtime informant. The document received public attention this year when a whistleblower contacted Grassley, who then told House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.).
The informant file alleges that the Bidens were paid bribes to aid the interests of Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky, according to lawmakers who read it. Burisma hired Hunter to serve on the company’s board beginning in April 2014 as his vice-president father took over the Obama administration’s Ukraine portfolio. Former White House stenographer Mike McCormick says Joe Biden pushed US support for Kyiv’s natural gas industry just days after Hunter quietly joined Burisma.
Biden on Thursday attempted to laugh off the bribery allegation when The Post asked about South Carolina GOP Rep. Nancy Mace’s claim that the file contained “damning evidence” that the commander-in-chief “sold out his country.”
“Where’s the money?” Biden replied, quickly adding: “I’m joking, it’s a bunch of malarkey.”
“Are there tapes that you accepted bribes, President Biden? Is that true?”
BIDEN: *laughs* pic.twitter.com/bP3US2X2Dw
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 14, 2023
House Republicans who read the informant file said last week said that it describes how the elder Biden allegedly pushed for the ouster of Ukrainian prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was fired in 2016, in return for the payment. The informant file also makes reference to Burisma seeking to partner with or buy a US energy business, they said.
Hunter Biden has been under investigation for about five years by the US attorney’s office in Delaware for alleged tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, money laundering and lying about his drug use on a gun-purchase form.
Two IRS whistleblowers recently testified to the House Ways and Means Committee to outline an alleged coverup in the Weiss-managed Hunter Biden case — featuring slow-walked decision-making, “preferential treatment” and alleged false testimony to Congress about US Attorney David Weiss’s ability to independently bring charges.
Hunter reportedly paid off about $2 million in unpaid federal taxes last year, with the money said to come from his “sugar brother” Kevin Morris, a wealthy Hollywood lawyer. The payment does not absolve him of the original non-payment.
In September, 33 Senate Republicans called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint Weiss as special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden. On Tuesday, three Senate Republicans sent Garland a letter demanding a special counsel with a broader charge of looking into Joe Biden’s role in his family’s foreign business dealings.
President Biden denies ever discussing business with his son Hunter or brother James Biden— even though evidence has emerged that he interacted with their associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, according to laptop records, photos and witness recollections.