Hunter Biden’s memoir is notable for what it doesn’t discuss, gliding past deals with shady Chinese businessmen, not mentioning the name of the child he had with a stripper, noting his infamous “purported” laptop only once, and avoiding a Justice Department tax investigation and a missing gun incident altogether.
Biden claimed in his book, titled Beautiful Things, that “I became a proxy for Donald Trump’s fear that he wouldn’t be reelected. He pushed debunked conspiracy theories about work I did in Ukraine and China.”
Concerns about Biden gained broader attention in late 2020 after multiple outlets reported that he is being federally investigated in connection with his taxes and potentially related to his overseas business with China. Although he devoted a chapter to defending his work for Burisma, he largely dodged the controversy surrounding his attempted Chinese deal-making.
Biden wrote that in 2013, then-Vice President Joe Biden asked his son’s teenage daughter to join him on Air Force Two to Japan and then to Beijing, where he was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Hunter Biden said he tagged along to China to spend time with his father and daughter. At the time, Hunter Biden was working with Devon Archer at Rosemont Seneca, and “our deal with the biggest potential was a partnership with a Chinese private equity fund seeking to invest Chinese capital in companies outside the country.” Hunter Biden wrote, “While we were in Beijing, Dad met one of Devon’s Chinese partners, Jonathan Li, in the lobby of the American delegation’s hotel, just long enough to say hello and shake hands.” He lamented, “Trump declared I walked out of China with $1.5 billion. … The actual amount raised before that trip to China: $4.2 million. I had no equity in the company at the time and only bought a 10 percent stake after my father left office.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked in early February about reports that Hunter Biden still owned a 10% stake in the Chinese investment firm formed with state-owned entities, and she said he “has been working to unwind his investment.” Two Chinese business websites run by Baidu and Qixin seem to show a limited liability corporation, Skaneateles, as still having Hunter Biden as a “sponsor/shareholder” with 3 million yuan invested in the company, purportedly comprising the 10% stake in the venture.
Hunter Biden’s dealings in China do not stop there.
When Patrick Ho, one of Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming’s lieutenants, was charged by the Justice Department in 2017, the first call he reportedly made after his arrest was to Joe Biden’s brother James, who has said he thought the call was meant for Hunter Biden. Ho was indicted and convicted for his role in a global money laundering and bribery scheme. Ho, likely under FISA surveillance at one point, had tried reaching out to Joe Biden’s son for help because he agreed to represent Ho as part of his efforts to work out a liquefied natural gas deal worth tens of millions of dollars with CEFC China Energy leader Ye, who has since disappeared in China. Ye reportedly had links to the Chinese military, and CEFC has links to the Chinese government.
A Senate GOP report from September concluded that Hunter Biden also “opened a bank account with” CEFC deputy Gongwen Dong to fund a $100,000 global spending spree with James Biden and James’s wife, Sara.
In 2017, former business partner Tony Bobulinski worked with James Biden, Hunter Biden, and others to create a business dubbed Sinohawk, formed to establish a joint venture with CEFC. Bobulinski repeatedly expressed in 2017 messages that he expected the venture to get off the ground with $10 million in startup money from CEFC. The Senate GOP report concluded that millions of dollars were sent by CEFC to accounts linked to James and Hunter Biden instead.
None of this was hinted at in Hunter Biden’s memoir.
Members of the Secret Service attempted to retrieve gun paperwork from a Wilmington, Delaware, gun store in October 2018 after a firearm owned by Hunter Biden went missing, according to a Politico article in March — another incident not mentioned in Hunter’s memoir. According to a police document, Hallie Biden took the .38-caliber revolver and placed it in a public trash can near Janssen’s Market in Wilmington. Hunter Biden instructed her to go retrieve it, but it was no longer in the trash. Local police were notified, and the gun was soon recovered.
Secret Service agents allegedly asked the owner of the gun store to hand over the paperwork related to the sale. Politico reported that Ron Palmieri, the owner of StarQuest Shooters and Survival Supply, refused. The Secret Service said it had no involvement in this.
“No idea,” Hunter Biden said during an interview on CBS This Morning when asked if he knew anything about the Secret Service involvement. “I don’t know whether the Secret Service were or why they would be — I don’t think that that’s true, to my knowledge.”
That contradicts reported texts by the president’s son from January 2019, which the New York Post said it obtained, in which he mentions Secret Service involvement.
In addition to the police report, Politico obtained copies of the Firearms Transaction Record dated Oct. 12, 2018. Hunter Biden responded “no” to a question asking if he was an illegal drug user, with his response coming five years after he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. His memoir discusses his drug addiction at great length, and lying on the form is a felony.
The book mentioned his missing laptop only once, in a passage written as a letter to his brother, Beau, saying, “Your strength and love was embodied in the strength and love that surrounded me. That was never truer than when Giuliani, Bannon, and their collaborators purported to have a laptop that chronicled the lurid details of my descent into addiction the last three years.”
The president’s son gave evasive answers about the laptop during an interview on CBS This Morning when asked if the laptop was his.
“You don’t need a laptop. You’ve got a book. The book — it’s all in the book. And I don’t know,” Hunter Biden said. He was then pressed on whether he ever left a laptop with a Delaware repairman, and he said, “But whether or not somebody has my laptop, whether or not I was hacked, whether or not there exists a laptop at all, I truly don’t know.”
When asked if he was missing a laptop, he said that “you’ll realize that I wasn’t keeping tabs on possessions well for about a four-year period of time.”
John Paul MacIsaac, the owner of the Delaware computer repair shop, told the New York Post that he made a copy of the hard drive and provided it to a lawyer for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was a lawyer for former President Donald Trump at the time. MacIsaac also provided a copy to the FBI after the younger Biden never picked up the hardware after dropping it off in April 2019.
Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, along with many in the media, dismissed the laptop story as being part of a Russian disinformation operation, without evidence. When asked if the laptop could be his during a previous CBS interview, Hunter Biden replied, “Of course, certainly. There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was Russian intelligence.”
Trump’s director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, said on Oct. 19, 2020, “There is no intelligence that supports that, and we have shared no intelligence … that Hunter Biden’s laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”
Also largely unmentioned in the book was a son whom Hunter Biden had with a woman who reportedly worked at a strip club in Washington, D.C.
“I’m a fifty-one-year-old father who helped raise three beautiful daughters, two in college and one who graduated last year from law school, and now a year-old son.” Hunter Biden was married to Kathleen Biden from 1993 until their divorce in 2017, and their three daughters, Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy, are mentioned by name and discussed at length in the memoir. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015, and Hunter Biden carried on a relationship with his widow, Hallie, starting at least in 2016 through 2019. He then married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen shortly after meeting her in May 2019, and their son, named after his brother, was born in March 2020.
The child he had with Lunden Alexis Roberts, though, gets only one passing mention near the end of the book, right in the middle of a section where Hunter Biden described meeting Cohen for the first time at the Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles in 2019.
“It was my first actual date in twenty-six years. My relationship with Hallie belonged to a whole other category, and the other women I’d been with during rampages since my divorce were hardly the dating type,” Hunter Biden wrote. “We would satisfy our immediate needs and little else. I’m not proud of it. It’s why I would later challenge in court the woman from Arkansas who had a baby in 2018 and claimed the child was mine — I had no recollection of our encounter.”
Despite the glaring omissions in the book and hazy recall in interviews, Hunter Biden’s memory seemed impeccable much of the time in his memoir, describing his first drink at age eight, getting busted for cocaine just after high school graduation, searching for crack cocaine while in law school, his alcoholism and drug use, his crumbling personal relationships, his addiction to crack cocaine, allowing a homeless woman who was his crack conduit to live with him in his Washington apartment for five months, learning how to cook his own crack, his drug-and-alcohol benders in various cities, and much more, including a “crack-fueled, cross country odyssey.”
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