Former Vice President Joe Biden has routinely dismissed questions about his son Hunter’s dubious foreign business dealings by saying he had no knowledge of them, that there was no wrongdoing whatsoever, and, more recently, that any negative stories about his son are derived from “Russian disinformation.”
All of those excuses already appeared increasingly implausible — but now, a newly discovered 2014 email from Hunter Biden to a business associate shows that the vice president’s son was consciously leveraging his father’s position and influence for his own financial gain, Just the News reported.
The email doesn’t directly implicate Joe Biden — though he is referenced in the email as “my guy” — nor does it conclusively reveal illegalities, but it does display a deliberate scheming on the part of Hunter on how to make the most use of his father’s influence to further his own gains.
Leveraging the Biden name
The email, dated April 13, 2014, from Hunter Biden to former partner Devon Archer, came about a week before then-Vice President Joe Biden visited Ukraine and about a month before it was officially announced that the younger Biden and Archer had joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy firm.
The message was something of a strategy guide with numbered points laying out the plan for Hunter Biden and Archer to make the most of their new lucrative positions with Burisma and how best to exploit their connections and “value” amid various geopolitical realities in the region, particularly involving Russia’s energy dominance over the area and Europe more broadly.
After laying out the realities of the situation in Ukraine and the surrounding region, Hunter Biden reportedly wrote: “We can actually be of real value here. Developing relationships, bringing US expertise to the company, supplying strategic advice on politics and geopolitical risk assessment.”
Of Hunter Biden’s own law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, he wrote, “BSF can actually have direct discussions at state, energy and NSC. They can devise a media plan and arrange for legal protections and mitigate US domestic negative press regarding the current leadership if need be,” according to Just the News.
With regard for his father’s upcoming visit to Ukraine, Hunter Biden added, “The announcement of my guys upcoming travels should be characterized as part of our advice and thinking-but what he will say and do is out of our hands. In other words it could be a really good thing or it could end up creating too great an expectation. We need to temper expectations regarding that visit.”
Protecting themselves from risk
Hunter Biden also told Archer that they should “ask for long term agreement and across the board participation. This is a huge step for us that could easily become very complicated. And if we are not protected financially regardless of the outcome we could find ourselves frozen out of a lot of current and future opportunities,” he added, according to Just the News.
Those complications included the Foreign Agent Registration Act and “any other U.S. laws” that might be pertinent to what they were doing, hence they needed to make it clear to Burisma “in no uncertain terms that we will not and cannot intervene directly with domestic policy makers,” though, as noted previously, they could indirectly wield their influence and connections to achieve favorable outcomes for the natural gas producer.
As for the financial compensation that Hunter Biden expected to receive for his work on behalf of Burisma, the younger Biden wrote:
The contract should begin now — not after the upcoming visit of my guy. That should include a retainer in the range of 25k p/m w/ additional fees where appropriate for more in depth work to go to BSF for our protection. Complete separate from our respective deals re board participation.
In his concluding thoughts, Hunter sought to make it clear that Burisma needed to be “smart enough to understand our long term value” for the company and not “use us” for short-term gains. He also discussed some of their other plans for expansion, and griped about a lack of funding from China that had been previously promised, as well as various actions that needed to be taken to help insulate and protect themselves from future risks, Just the News reported.