“Where is the money?” This President Joe Biden joke was his surprising reaction to the revelation that a trusted FBI informant had passed on an alleged bribe worth millions, paid to Joe Biden by a Ukrainian businessman.
Biden seemed to almost transform into Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character in “Jerry Maguire,” making Tom Cruise’s character sing “show me the money” over and over again. Just like in the movie, pundits and politicians have taken up the refrain, insisting that nothing matters unless critics can show a direct payment to Jill or Joe Biden among the millions sent to members of the Biden family. At the same time, they opposed any House investigation.
Today, the House Oversight Committee released evidence of such a transfer that might satisfy even Cuba Gooding, Jr.
The payment occurred in 2018, after the president’s brother, James Biden, received $200,000 from a company called Americore. James has long been criticized for his heavy-handed influence peddling, and Americore was one of the companies he allegedly suggested would sell to his brother.
On March 1, 2018, Americore transferred the money to James to his personal account rather than his business account. That same day, James wrote a check for the same amount to the personal bank account of his brother Joe, who had stepped down as vice president and was widely discussed as a possible presidential candidate.
James listed the money as a “loan repayment.”
“Loans” have long been a source of controversy among the Bidens. IRS whistleblowers, for example, detailed how Hunter received massive payments from corrupt foreign sources and listed them as “loans”, despite no proof of repayment or any standard loan agreement. He allegedly neither reimbursed them nor paid taxes on the money.
Even if Joe Biden loaned his brother nearly a quarter of a million dollars, it would raise concerns about whether that disbursement occurred while he was vice president. These payments could have interested Joe Biden not only in his brother’s influence peddling but also in the viability of this company.
The White House insisted it was a loan to his brother that had been repaid. But if there is no evidence of an actual loan, it would be a payment from a company seeking influence to Joe Biden.
At a minimum, the payment shows the fluidity of the accounts and finances of the Biden influence peddling operation. Although I have long criticized the influence peddling of Republicans and Democrats for decades, the Bidens are in a class of their own. House committees have now traced millions of dollars flowing through a maze of shell companies and accounts to members of the Biden family, and even their grandchildren.
This operation has become undeniable in recent months. Devan Archer admitted under oath that they were selling the “Biden brand” and suggested that these companies were seeking influence and access to Joe Biden.
While the media has long dismissed this corruption scandal, it has recently adopted a last line of defense recognizing that Hunter and his associates were selling influence, but that it was a mere “illusion” of ‘influence.
That’s why the president and his media allies have started channeling Cuba Gooding Jr.
It is important to note that it is not necessary for Joe Biden to directly receive money to constitute either a crime or an impeachable offense. Like I stated in my testimony During Biden’s first impeachment hearing, payments made to Joe Biden’s family would be considered a “benefit” to him under standard criminal jurisprudence.
Still, Biden’s taunt to show him the money would normally send the media into a frenzy – much like Gary Hart’s. invitation to journalists follow him to see if he was a womanizer. They followed him directly to a ship called “Monkey Business,” and it ended with a late-career photo of Hart with Donna Rice on his lap.
Few media outlets were eager to follow the money after Joe’s taunt, for the same reason they were eager to follow Hart – they’re pretty sure what they’d find.
There have long been allegations of cross-benefits and payments involving Joe Biden. This includes an agreement with the Chinese to pay for an expensive office for the use of Joe and Jill Biden, as well as the use of shared accounts And credit card (including a card used by Hunter to pay a prostitute). There were also references to taxes and housing costs paid into these accounts for Joe and Jill Biden. Indeed, Hunter Biden complained of being forced to pay half of his earnings to his father.
This brings us back to the last transfer. At a minimum, the payments show that Joe Biden was aware that his brothers and son were in dire need of funds throughout these years. Frank Biden, the president’s younger brother, evaded efforts to force him to pay damages for his involvement in a reckless driving accident in California. The surviving daughters of the victim of this accident wrote to the then senator several times. Joe Biden (Del.) to ask for his help in getting Frank to accept responsibility and pay up. Just before running for vice president, Biden coldly responded: “As you know…Frank has no assets to satisfy the judgment. The senator regrets that things have reached this point and that he cannot be more useful.
In Hunter’s case, he was so financially desperate that he threatened a Chinese celebrity to send him money or his father would take action. In one message, Hunter told a Chinese businessman that his my father was sitting next to him to be sure that the payment has been made.
Hunter’s financial difficulties were so severe that James was sent (after allegedly speaking with Joe Biden) to offer Hunter a “safe harbor» to avoid disaster.
Today, Joe Biden claims he had to give James almost a quarter of a million dollars.
Throughout this period, the influence peddling of James, Frank and Hunter Biden has been the subject of constant media coverage. According to the Oversight Committee, it now appears that James received $600,000 in loans from Americore despite the company’s financial difficulties.
Evidence that money was moved from one of these companies through James to Joe Biden’s personal accounts will likely produce an immediate change: the media is likely to shift the goalposts once again.
Of course, influence peddling is inherently corrupt, and the benefits to the family are already enough to warrant criminal charges (including as in the case of the charges against Senator Bob Menendez). However, now even the money received by Joe and Jill Biden will be deemed insufficient to warrant further investigation.
Now, they will say, there must be a trail of money coming directly from one of the companies, preferably recorded on the books as a “bribe” and not as a “loan repayment.” And even photos of Joe sitting with Hunter’s clients in restaurants and offices will be insufficient to establish knowledge or involvement.
When it comes to Biden’s “Monkey Business,” even a photo of a Burisma executive on the president’s lap wouldn’t be enough. The new demand will be somewhere between an envelope of cash and an outright confession.
Jonathan Turley is the JB and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School.
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