One of the Biden family’s closest political and legal advisers whose name shows up in Hunter Biden’s laptop computer is on President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s Justice Department transition team.
Alexander S. Mackler, who served as a deputy counsel to Vice President Biden, was a prosecutor in the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office in 2018 about the time the Justice Department opened an inquiry into whether Hunter Biden had cheated on his taxes.
Mr. Mackler told The Washington Times that he did not know about the case when he was a federal prosecutor. “I learned about the investigation through Hunter Biden’s press statement,” he said.
He was referring to a Dec. 9 statement from the president-elect’s son. Hunter Biden said the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office, headed by David C. Weiss, had informed his attorney that he is under criminal investigation. He said he is confident he did nothing wrong.
Press reports, including those by The New York Times and CNN, put the probe’s beginning in 2018.
Mr. Mackler was an assistant U.S. attorney in Delaware from 2016 to 2019.
Mr. Mackler shows up in the trove of Hunter Biden emails contained in a laptop computer that Hunter dropped off at a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, in April 2019 and abandoned.
Through his investment and law firms, Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh oligarchs starting in 2014, when his father was vice president, according to a Sept. 23 report by Senate Republicans.
Hunter Biden also received million-dollar payments from Chinese firms connected to the Communist Party. He transferred thousands of dollars to women involved in human trafficking, the report said.
The Senate report cited U.S. Treasury Department suspicious activity reports, which lending institutions file when they suspect tax avoidance and money laundering. Legal experts say suspicious activity reports are reviewed by the FBI and could have been the impetus to begin a tax investigation.
Mr. Mackler’s resume shows he is part of the Biden family’s inner circle. He was the vice president’s deputy counsel from 2014 to 2016. In 2010, he was campaign manager for Mr. Biden’s eldest son, Joseph “Beau” Biden, who won reelection for Delaware attorney general. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.
In 2007 and 2008, Mr. Mackler was press secretary for Mr. Biden when he was in the Senate. With Mr. Biden’s election as vice president, Mr. Mackler moved to the office of the appointed replacement, Sen. Edward E. “Ted” Kaufman, with the title of communications director. Mr. Kaufman is a longtime Biden adviser who is helping him with the transition.
Before those Senate posts, Mr. Mackler was communications director for the Delaware Democratic Party.
He became an assistant U.S. attorney in August 2016 and left in May 2019 for his current senior position of chief deputy attorney general in the Delaware Department of Justice.
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced Mr. Mackler’s appointment in January 2019 and said he would join her staff once he completed Army National Guard duty. Ms. Jennings served as state prosecutor under Attorney General Beau Biden.
The Wilmington repair shop owner, who has since received death threats and closed his business, shared the contents of Hunter Biden’s MacBook Pro under subpoena from the FBI in late 2019 and then with Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney.
Mr. Giuliani filed a criminal complaint against Hunter Biden with Delaware police. The police referred the complaint to Ms. Jennings’ office, where Mr. Mackler is the No. 2 official.
Mr. Giuliani shared the MacBook contents with the New York Post, which broke the story in October. The Washington Times has acquired a download of the hard drive.
As Vice President Biden’s legal adviser in June 2015, Mr. Mackler did Hunter Biden a favor by giving him the cellphone numbers of 17 Cabinet members who attended an unidentified function that lasted more than one day, an email from Mr. Mackler to Hunter shows. The list included U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who now chairs the Democratic National Committee.
That same month, Mr. Mackler sent Hunter Biden an email, under the heading “these are all cell numbers,” with a list of 25 top political players, including former President Bill Clinton; then-Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat; and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat and now House speaker.
‘JRB can do quite well’
In 2015, Hunter Biden was receiving substantial payments as a board of directors member for Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm in Ukraine that the State Department considers corrupt. The money stream to Hunter Biden and investment partner Devon Archer, also a board member, amounted to at least $8 million before both resigned, according to the Sept. 23 Senate report.
Archer has been convicted in connection with an unrelated bond-trading fraud and is due to report to prison.
In 2014, the same year Hunter Biden attained his lucrative board seat, Vice President Biden became the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine to try to rid the country of rampant bribery and money laundering.
A Hunter Biden laptop email in 2015 shows that Vadym Pozharskyi, Burisma’s corporate liaison to the board and a frequent contact for Mr. Biden, thanked the son for getting him a meeting with the vice president. At the time, Burisma was working to burnish its image in Washington and end various investigations in Ukraine.
The email was striking because Joseph R. Biden has said repeatedly that he knew nothing about son Hunter’s business activities.
Burisma owner and oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky has faced a number of investigations for suspected bribery and money laundering. He issued a statement in June denying any wrongdoing.
There were other Mackler emails.
The National Pulse news website first reported on a July 23, 2016, email from Mr. Mackler to Hunter Biden and other members of the Joseph R. Biden network. Mr. Mackler gave advice on how the vice president, referred to as “JRB,” could make millions of dollars by joining corporate boards of directors after leaving the Obama administration.
“If [former Sen.] Evan Bayh can sell out for $1m/year in corporate boards, have to believe JRB can do quite well,” Mr. Mackler wrote.
Laptop emails and other messages provided to investigators by former business partner Tony Bobulinski show that Hunter Biden talked of sharing proceeds with his father.
Mr. Bobulinski came out as a whistleblower after Democrats claimed without evidence that the revelation of the laptop’s contents was a Russian plot. He has spent hours with FBI agents.
Mr. Bobulinski told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he met with Joseph R. Biden in a Los Angeles hotel bar in May 2017. Mr. Bobulinski said the vice president wanted to size him up as he was about to become chief executive officer of a Hunter Biden investment partnership in conjunction with Chinese business figures tied to the Communist Party. Those partners discussed how to cut in the “big guy,” Joseph R. Biden, for a 10% share, an email shows.
It does not appear that any journalist has asked Mr. Biden whether he ever shared in Hunter Biden’s business proceeds.
On Dec. 9, Hunter Biden released a statement via the president-elect’s transition office: “I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs. I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, issued the September report that detailed Hunter Biden’s far-flung foreign financial deals with corrupt individuals.
“The Treasury records acquired by the Chairmen show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals,” the report said. “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.”
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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