Hunter Biden scandals explained: Ukraine, China, drug history and more.
From his eyebrow-raising dealings in
Delaware, China and Ukraine to controversies involving drug use
and child support, Hunter Biden is no stranger to scandal.
Hunter Biden is the
son of former vice president and Democratic presidential
candidate Joe Biden has faced accusations of corrupt
behavior from both sides of the political aisle, and played a
starring role in the recently concluded impeachment proceedings
against President Trump.
Hunter Biden's distinct scandals are
best understood in rough chronological order because
Republicans have argued that Biden's apparently irresponsible
behavior only made it more likely that his later sweetheart gigs
were obtained not through merit, but because of connections that
he could monetize.
In 2008, both The New York Times and The American
Spectator highlighted Hunter Biden's sweetheart gigs while his
father rose in political prominence. The articles, written as
Barack Obama and John McCain vied for the White House, found
that Hunter Biden received consulting fees from the financial
services company MBNA from 2001 to 2005 while his father, then
a senator, was pushing successfully for legislation that would
make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection.
The precise amount of the payments was unclear, but a company
official once said Hunter Biden was receiving at least a
$100,000 per year retainer, the Times reported. Hunter Biden,
now 49, previously had been an executive at MBNA beginning in
1996, but the consulting fees came years after his departure
from the company as a full-time employee.
Aides to then-presidential candidate Barack Obama at the time
denied that any lobbying had occurred, and insisted the payments
were proper. However, that explanation was immediately treated
with skepticism. The Trump campaign recently posted a
contemporaneous interview in which an incredulous Tom Brokaw
asked Joe Biden whether it was "inappropriate" for the
then-senator to have his son "collecting money from this big
credit card company while you were on the [Senate] floor
protecting its interests."
Hunter Biden's previous work as an executive at MBNA from
1996 to 1998 also has raised what critics called red flags.
Rachel Mullen, a former senior personal banking officer at
MBNA from 1994-2001 who later went into Republican politics, tweeted that
managers referred to the younger Biden as "Senator MBNA" after
he was hired into a lucrative management-prep track right after
he graduated from Yale Law School.
An MBNA source who previously worked at the company told Fox
News that other employees heard Hunter Biden boasting that his
salary was unusually high, even for the management-prep track
which was widely seen in the company as a way to groom and
pamper well-connected executive candidates with powerful family
The source said Biden's "Senator MBNA" nickname was not
politically motivated, but rather reflected a widely held belief
among managers who did not work directly with Biden that he
essentially was engaged in lobbying.
The Bidens' connections with MBNA apparently ran deep. In a January
2008 article entitled "The Senator from MBNA," columnist
Byron York recounted how then-MBNA vice chairman John Cochran
paid "top dollar" for Joe Biden's home in February 1996, just
prior to his Senate reelection bid, and that "MBNA gave Cochran
a lot of money $330,000 to help with 'expenses' related to
The $1.2M sale was a "pretty darned good deal for Hunter
York wrote, noting that "Cochran simply paid Biden's full asking
price" even though the "house needed quite a bit of work;
contractors and their trucks descended on the house for months
after the purchase."
Asked how Cochran and Hunter Biden found each other for the sale, an
MBNA spokesperson told York: "That's a very personal question."
Aside from MBNA during this period, the younger Biden worked
at a lobbying firm and served on the board of Amtrak -- a
prestigious role he apparently obtained through his connections,
although Democrats claimed he deserved the post because
he traveled regularly on trains.
"Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains. Like
his father, like our congressman, Mike Castle, and myself,
Hunter Biden has lived in Delaware while using Amtrak to commute
to his job as we commute to our job in Washington almost every
day of the week," Democratic
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper said at a hearing on Biden's
nomination to the Amtrak board in June 2006. "You know, you
learn a lot about what could work and what would work better at
Amtrak by riding trains and talking to the passengers, the
commuters, the passengers, the folks who work on the trains and
make them work every day."
In 2014, Hunter Biden was kicked out of the military after testing
positive for cocaine. The Navy said that Hunter Biden, a former
lobbyist who worked at a private equity firm, was discharged
barely a year after he was selected for his part-time position
as a public affairs officer in the Navy Reserve.
Two people familiar with the situation quickly told the media
that Hunter Biden was discharged because he failed a drug test in 2013.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Biden's discharge and
failed drug test.
TREASURY COMPLIES WITH HUNTER BIDEN INQUIRY, HANDS OVER
An attorney by training, Hunter Biden applied to join the Navy
Reserve as a public affairs officer and was selected in 2012 one of seven candidates recommended for a direct commission for
public affairs. A board of senior Navy officers interviewed
Biden before making the recommendation.
Because he was 42 at the time, he needed a special waiver to
be accepted. Cmdr. Ryan Perry, a spokesman for the Navy, said
Hunter Biden had been assigned to the Navy Public Affairs Support
Element East, based in Norfolk, Va.
Hunter Biden and and his friend Devon Archer joined the
natural gas company Burisma Holdings board in April 2014.
apparently cannot speak Ukrainian and had no relevant natural
Joe Biden has
camera that in spring 2016, when he was vice president and
spearheading the Obama administration's Ukraine policy, he
successfully pressured Ukraine to fire top prosecutor Viktor
Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating the notoriously
Holdings where Hunter's role was especially lucrative.
The vice president threatened to withhold $1 billion in critical
U.S. aid if Shokin was not fired.
"Well, son of a b---h, he got fired," Biden joked at a panel
two years after leaving office. Shokin himself had already been
widely accused of corruption.
WHOOPS: BIDEN CAMPAIGN TOUTS UKRAINE ACTIVIST WHO CALLED
HUNTER'S ACTIONS 'VERY BAD'
Critics alleged Hunter
Biden might have been selling access to his father, who had
pushed Ukraine to increase its natural gas production.
Government officials have raised similar concerns. During the
House impeachment proceedings, a career State Department
employee testified that he had flagged
Hunter Biden's apparent conflict of interest, but was told
essentially not to bother the vice president's office.
"Impossible to justify $50k/month for Hunter Biden serving on
a Ukrainian energy board w zero expertise unless he promised to
sell access," political scientist Ian Bremmer previously tweeted.
Joe Biden has said he never discussed his son's overseas
business dealings -- an assertion seemingly contradicted by
both his son and a photo exclusively obtained by Fox News.
"I know I did nothing wrong at all. Was it poor judgment to
be in the middle of something that is a swamp in many ways?
Yeah," Hunter Biden said in an exclusive sit-down with ABC's Amy
Robach at his Los Angeles home last October.
TENSIONS FLARE IN CONGRESS, AS GOP REP BRINGS UP HUNTER
BIDEN'S COCAINE USE
He acknowledged he may not have gotten the job were it not
for his connections to the vice presidency.
In the ABC News report last year which also delved into the
Bidens' China dealings, journalist Tom Llamas called it
"strange" that Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings,
widely accused of corruption, had appointed Hunter Biden to its
board of directors -- and agreed to pay Hunter Biden's company
"more than a million dollars a year."
"Hunter -- a lawyer, who had just been discharged from the
Navy Reserves for testing positive for cocaine," Llamas says
incredulously. "He had served on other boards, but had no known
experience in Ukraine or natural gas."
Earlier this month, the Treasury Department complied with a
Senate inquiry into the younger Biden's business dealings
in Ukraine and reportedly handed over highly sensitive financial
records and "evidence of questionable origin."
Top Republican senators recently requested travel records
from the Secret Service that might shed light on Hunter Biden's
dealings in China, which Trump has long said merit a state
Much of the focus concerns Biden's position as one
of nine directors at BHR -- a private-equity company
controlled by Chinese government-backed stakeholders. Senate
Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman
Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said the arrangement raised red flags.
"In December of 2013, one month after Rosemont Seneca's joint
venture with Bohai Capital to form BHR, Hunter Biden reportedly
flew aboard Air Force Two with then-Vice President Biden to
China," the senators wrote. "While in China, he helped arrange
for Jonathan Li, CEO of Bohai Capital, to 'shake hands' with
Vice President Biden."
"Afterward," they continued, "Hunter Biden met with Li for
reportedly a 'social meeting.' After the China trip, BHR's
business license was approved.
Then, in 2015, BHR joined with Aviation Industry Corporation
of China (AVIC) to acquire Henniges, which was the 'biggest
Chinese investment into U.S. automotive manufacturing assets to
The senators also sought travel records relating to Biden's
trips to Ukraine, if any.
Last year, Hunter Biden
stepped down from the board of BHR and said Hunter Biden wouldn't take
similar roles if his father won the presidency. The Wall Street
Journal reported that BHR Partners filings show that while
Hunter was a director of BHR since its founding, Hunter Biden didn't
become a shareholder until October 2017.
Trump has specifically accused Biden of walking "out of China
with $1.5 billion in a fund." The Journal
reported in 2014 that BHR was trying to raise that much
money to invest outside of China, but it's otherwise unclear
what the president was referencing.
In January of this year Hunter Biden agreed
to pay monthly child support retroactive to November 2018,
temporarily ending a standoff that began after the judge in his
Arkansas paternity case ordered him to appear in person for a
hearing to explain why he shouldn't be held in contempt.
But, the standoff
reignited in March, when Biden apparently failed to meet a
court deadline to turn over additional financial documents.
Republicans suggested he was hiding evidence of corruption. The
matter remains pending.
Hunter Biden had previously denied paternity, before a DNA test
HUNTER BIDEN FINALLY AGREES TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT FOR KID
FATHERED WITH EX-STRIPPER
The court redacted the amount of child support that Hunter
agreed to pay, pursuant to his agreement with plaintiff Lunden Alexis
Roberts, who alleged Biden was an entirely absent father.
However, Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer
noted that she "lacks sufficient information" to determine the
appropriate amount of "permanent" child support "based off the
defendant's income," and that modifications to the child support
owed each month could be made based on additional evidence.
Contempt proceedings over Biden's repeated failure to turn
over relevant financial documents were only delayed until March
1, and Biden apparently has not resolved the issue.
"After months of hiding, one has to wonder if the reason
Hunter Biden continues to defy the court is because there are
financial documents could shed light on his father's massive
conflicts of interest as vice president," Republican National
Committee (RNC) spokesman Steve Guest told Fox News.
READ THE ORDER REQUIRING BIDEN TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT
The paternity dispute has presented headaches for the elder
Biden ever since a court filing showed that DNA results
indicated he was now a grandfather. Joe
with a Fox News reporter on camera when asked about that
development last November.
"No one has said my son has done
"I'm wondering if you have a comment on this report, and
court filing, out of Arkansas, that your son Hunter just made
you a grandfather again," Fox News' Peter Doocy asked.
"No, that's a private matter and I have no comment," Biden
fired back before attacking the reporter.
"Only you would ask that," Biden said. "You're a good man.
You're a good man. Classy."
Campaigning late last year, Biden
has also lashed out at voters -- even appearing to
call one man "fat" for bringing up issues with his son's
possible corruption and questioning his fitness for office.
"You're a damn liar, man," Biden said. "Let's do push-ups
together here, man. Let's run. Let's do whatever you want to do.
Let's take an IQ test. ... No one has said my son has done