- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2023

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer said Monday he will cast a wide net in probing President Biden’s potential involvement in his son Hunter’s far-flung business deals, saying anyone involved in the family’s overseas ventures should be prepared to answer to Congress.

Speaking to reporters at the National Press Club, the Kentucky Republican said he was prepared to follow the investigation wherever it leads, starting with a tranche of banks’ “Suspicious Activity Reports” that he says will shed light on a web of potentially illegal business ventures spearheaded by the Biden family.

“Anyone that was in business with the Bidens, that were on these accounts, that were partners in these LLCs, they need to tell everyone exactly what the business was,” Mr. Comer said. “You got a two-, three-million-dollar wire from this company that’s affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party, what service were you providing? Because it wasn’t real estate. They weren’t manufacturing anything. What were they doing?”

Mr. Comer stopped short, however, of committing to hauling the president’s son before the panel, telling reporters: “Right now, we just want the bank records.”

“We’re investigating the president,” he said. “[This] isn’t a Hunter Biden investigation. This is an investigation of the president.”

Mr. Comer’s requests that the Treasury Department hand over the approximately 150 SARs — reports generated by banks to flag suspected illegal activity — have been rebuffed.

In a letter to Mr. Comer last week, the Treasury Department said it would work with the committee to “properly scope” its response and “make determinations concerning how to accommodate legitimate legislative needs while also protecting Executive Branch interests.”

Republicans on the committee have accused the Treasury Department of stonewalling its multiple requests for the reports.

“If they’re no big deal, then why won’t they let us have access to them?” Mr. Comer said Monday. “I would find it very surprising that a bank would file a suspicious activity report on the son of a sitting vice president of the United States unless there had been some type of major violation.”

Hunter Biden’s far-flung business deals have raised eyebrows for years about potential influence peddling and possible crimes. He served on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company, pursued deals with Chinese Communist Party-linked energy tycoons and allegedly pocketed more than $3 million from a Russian businesswoman who is the widow of a former mayor of Moscow.

Mr. Comer laid out the evidence in November that he said “raises troubling questions” about whether the president has been “compromised by foreign governments” in connection with his son’s ventures.

Citing evidence obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop and through whistleblowers, Mr. Comer said his committee had uncovered a “decade-long pattern of influence peddling, national security risks and political cover-ups” committed by the Biden family with the knowledge and involvement of the president.

Republicans on the oversight committee said in a 31-page report that the president was directly involved in his family’s business deals, including those involving foreign interests, despite claiming he did not know the details.

“This family has made millions of dollars from China,” Mr. Comer said on Monday. “If China or anyone pays you billions of dollars, they expect to get a return on that investment. I don’t know what that return was. We want to find out.”

“The administration has had every opportunity to say ‘look, this is legitimate work.’ If they would explain that then I think a lot of these problems would subside a little bit,” he said.

The White House has consistently brushed off Republicans’ pledge to expand their inquiry. It called the lawmakers’ claims “politically motivated attacks chock-full of long-debunked conspiracy theories.”

In addition to information on suspicious payments to the Biden family, Mr. Comer has also demanded information related to Hunter Biden’s art sales.

In a letter to Hunter Biden’s New York art dealer, George Berges, Mr. Comer raised concerns about the “exorbitant amounts of money” the president’s son raked in from selling his paintings to anonymous buyers despite “being a novice artist.”

“Your arrangement with Hunter Biden raises serious ethics concerns and calls into question whether the Biden family is again selling access and influence,” Mr. Comer wrote. “It is concerning that President Biden’s son is the recipient of anonymous, high-dollar transactions — potentially from foreign buyers — with no accountability or oversight (other than you).”

He has also called three former Twitter executives to testify before the committee on their role in suppressing The New York Post’s story exposing Hunter Biden’s discarded laptop computer weeks before the 2020 election.

The executives will appear before the committee for its first official hearing related to the Biden family probe on Feb. 6. 

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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