Republicans senators have finished an investigation that President Donald Trump was impeached for pursuing. The central thesis of GOP’s findings about Hunter Biden focused on information largely known to the public: Biden’s position on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma while his father Joe Biden was vice president “created an immediate potential conflict of interest that would prove to be problematic for both U.S. and Ukrainian officials and would affect the implementation of Ukraine policy.” But other salacious claims and innuendos about Hunter Biden receiving a large wire transfer from the widow of Moscow’s former mayor and Biden allegedly making payments to Russian women linked to human trafficking are now entering the public sphere at the height of his father’s presidential campaign—a coup for Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Committee on Finance, led by Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) respectively, began by saying they would not allow Democrats to pigeonhole the investigation as nothing more and nothing less than an American taxpayer-funded Russian disinformation campaign.
“Access to relevant documents and testimony has been persistently hampered by criminal investigations, impeachment proceedings, COVID-19, and several instances of obstructive behavior. Accordingly, this investigation has taken longer than it should have. The Chairmen’s efforts have always been driven by our belief that the public has the right to know about wrongdoing and conflicts of interest occurring within government, and especially those conflicts brought about by the actions of governmental officials,” the report from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Committee on Finance began. “This is a good-government oversight investigation that relies on documents and testimony from U.S. agencies and officials, not a Russian disinformation campaign, as our Democratic colleagues have falsely stated.”
Much was made of Republican lawmakers obtaining Hunter Biden’s sensitive financial information as part of the investigation, and it appears we now know what that yielded.
“This report not only details examples of extensive and complex financial transactions involving the Bidens, it also describes the quandary other U.S. governmental officials faced as they attempted to guide and support Ukraine’s anticorruption efforts,” the 87-page report said.
The GOP said “transactions, including those to Biden and his companies, were identified for potential financial criminal activity.” Republicans focused in one instance on Biden and Biden associate Devon Archer’s “financial relationship” with Russian businesswoman Elena Baturina, the billionaire widow of Yuri Luzhkov (who just so happens to be the former mayor of Moscow).
It was suggested that there is reason to believe Baturina wired millions of dollars in dirty money to Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden:
[Luzhkov] was the mayor of Moscow and was fired in 2010 by then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations. Baturina became Russia’s only female billionaire when her plastics company, Inteko, received a series of Moscow municipal contracts while her husband was mayor. According to reporting, “Luzhkov used his position as mayor to approve over 20 real estate projects that were built by a Baturina-owned construction company and ultimately generated multibillion-ruble profits for his family.” In addition, a Russian investigation led to a criminal case against the former head of the Bank of Moscow, Andrey Borodin, who “allegedly used money from the Moscow City Budget to lend money to shell companies, which ultimately transferred $443 million to Baturina.”
On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a “Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.” Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.
Additional transactions were uncovered, the report said, because of “Baturina’s reported criminal activity.”:
From here, Republicans turned, perhaps, to the most controversial details of the report. Notice their use of the words “consistent with,” “possible,” “association with,” “potential association with,” “[s]ome recipients,” “linked to,” “appears to be.”
The senators said that aforementioned sensitive Biden financial records obtained from the Treasury showed “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals.”
“In particular, these documents show that Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was vice president of the United States and after,” the report said. “In addition to providing new and descriptive details about the nature, origin and extent of payments from Burisma Holdings to Hunter Biden, the documents acquired by the Committees also shed light on a much broader array of questionable financial transactions involving Hunter Biden, other members of the Biden family, and their associations with foreign nationals.”
Who were these “foreign nationals”? According to the GOP, they were individuals with “questionable backgrounds that have been identified as being consistent with a range of criminal activities, including but not limited to organized prostitution and/or human trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and embezzlement.”
There was a lengthy footnote on the alleged link to human trafficking, which noted that the Committees did not have records that “directly confirm or refute” public reports on Biden’s “alleged involvement with prostitution services.” The footnote went on to say that, nonetheless, records “confirm” Biden sent thousands of dollars to unnamed Russians and Ukrainians who have “been involved in transactions consistent with possible human trafficking”:
There is extensive public reporting concerning Hunter Biden’s alleged involvement with prostitution services. Records on file with the Committees do not directly confirm or refute these individual reports. However, they do confirm that Hunter Biden sent thousands of dollars to individuals who have either: 1) been involved in transactions consistent with possible human trafficking; 2) an association with the adult entertainment industry; or 3) potential association with prostitution. Some recipients of those funds are Ukrainian and Russian citizens. The records note that it is a documented fact that Hunter Biden has sent funds to non-resident alien women in the United States who are citizens of Russia and Ukraine and who have subsequently wired funds they have received from Hunter Biden to individuals located in Russia and Ukraine. The records also note that some of these transactions are linked to what “appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”
[Image via via Nightline screengrab]
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