James Biden tells Republicans that his brother was not involved in business affairs

When a young Joe Biden embarked on his first political campaign more than 50 years ago, his brother Jimmy dropped out of college and crossed the country to raise money for his bid.

A few months later, when Joe Biden’s wife and 13-month-old daughter were killed in a car accident, it fell to Jimmy to go to the hospital to identify their bodies.

And while Joe Biden built his political profile, it was Jimmy who took his brother’s two surviving children under his wing, forming an especially strong bond with the younger, Hunter, with whom he shared much in common. That relationship eventually turned into a business partnership that would bring both of them millions of dollars in overseas business — and has now put them under the scrutiny of congressional Republicans bent on impeaching President Biden.

On Wednesday, James Biden, known to his family as “Uncle Jimmy,” testified before the House Oversight and Judiciary committees leading the impeachment inquiry that his business ventures were above all others, that his older brother was not involved in them and that he had never he did nothing wrong, and that, if anything, the elder Mr. Biden helped him financially – not the other way around.

In a 10-page opening statement obtained by the New York Times, James Biden also painted himself as a dutiful but sometimes troubled brother who made sacrifices to support his family after tragedy struck, though he denied allegations he tried to take advantage access to his brother in order to enrich himself.

“I’ve had a 50-year career in various business ventures,” said James Biden, 74, in his opening remarks during a closed-door interview in the House office building. “Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in these activities. None.”

The prepared testimony offered a fuller picture of James Biden as a key figure in the president’s life, a man who, like his nephew Hunter, has clearly benefited financially from the cash and connections that come with his politically prestigious last name, but who also sees himself as an anchor for members. families that have fallen on hard times.

Hunter Biden called James Biden “my best friend in the world,” who accepted him during some of the worst moments of his drug addiction. His uncle told deputies that he once struggled with alcoholism, even though he has been sober for more than 40 years.

James Biden on Wednesday also turned on one of the Republicans’ central accusations against the president, saying that payments he made to Joe Biden that GOP lawmakers say were a way to launder money from China were actually repayments of loans the elder Mr. Biden had made. extended when he lacked money.

“They were short-term loans that I got from Joe when he was private, and I paid them back within a few weeks,” James Biden said. “He didn’t have any information about the source of the funds I paid him. The full explanation is that Joe loaned me money and I paid him back as soon as I had the means to do so.”

Mr. Biden’s testimony comes at a critical time for the GOP investigation after a series of witnesses undermined Republican claims about President Biden’s involvement in the affairs of his son and brother.

At least three associates of Hunter Biden have denied in recent interviews any involvement by Joe Biden in Hunter Biden’s financial affairs. One, James Gilliar, said: “I am not aware that at any time the former vice president was involved.” Another, Eric Schwerin, who did bookkeeping for Joe Biden during his VP tenure, called the GOP’s allegations “absurd.”

“I am not aware of any financial transaction or compensation received by Vice President Biden in connection with businesses conducted by any of his family members or their associates, or any involvement by him in their businesses — none,” Mr. Schwerin said.

The GOP investigation was dealt another blow last week when a former FBI informant whose claims were promoted by Republicans was the accused on charges of fabricating his claims that President Biden and his son sought bribes from a Ukrainian energy company. The informant, Alexander Smirnov, claimed to have received information from Russian intelligence, according to a court filing Tuesday.

Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, called on Republicans to drop their investigation.

“The impeachment inquiry essentially ended yesterday in substance if not in form with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnov’s allegations about Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were concocted in conjunction with Russian intelligence agents,” Raskin said. “The whole thing appears to be not only patently false and bogus, but the product of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”

Mr. Raskin called the mood in the interview room “somber.”

“It seems to me that everybody knows that the impeachment inquiry is over,” Raskin said.

Representative William R. Timmons IV, Republican of South Carolina, asserted that there remains “an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence showing that Hunter and Jim are selling the brand and Joe Biden is profiting financially from it.”

“So we’re going to find out if that’s true,” Mr. Timmons said. “That’s why we’re here. And for a ranking member to say it’s not there, they went after President Trump for far, far less.”

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the indictment of Mr. Smirnova “doesn’t change the fundamental facts” in the Republican v. Joe Biden case.

Republicans pointed to testimony from former Hunter Biden aide Tony Bobulinski, who told lawmakers that “Joe Biden was a ‘brand’ sold by the Biden family” and that Mr. Biden was “an aide, despite being protected by a complex scheme to keep plausible deniability.”

Democrats argue that while Mr. Bobulinski has made many allegations, he is unhappy about being excluded from a business deal and has not backed up his claims with any direct evidence against the president.

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