White House bans The Post from Biden event as Hunter indictment looms
Posted For: Layla Godey
WASHINGTON — The White House press office barred The Post from attending President Biden’s only daytime public event Monday as federal prosecutors near a decision on criminally charging first son Hunter Biden for tax fraud and other crimes.
The Post has closely covered the president’s ties to his relatives’ foreign dealings and first reported in October 2020 on files from Hunter’s abandoned laptop that link Joe Biden to ventures in China and Ukraine.
Biden, who falsely characterized The Post’s reporting as Russian disinformation, appeared with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to talk about airline policies in the White House-adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Biden ultimately took no shouted questions at the venue, which houses the set of a “fake” White House and about 50 theater-style seats for reporters — about 20 of which were empty Monday.
In the same room this February, Biden chose to answer The Post’s query about whether his family’s links to China compromised his ability to steer US policy. He fumed about the lack of “polite” reporters and stormed out.
The Post has the fifth-largest news website by US readership — or fourth when excluding aggregator MSN. It is the nation’s second-most-read newspaper online and as of last year, The Post had the fifth-largest print circulation.
In a Monday email, however, White House staff said: “We are unable to accommodate your credential request to attend the Investing in Airline Accountability Remarks on 5/8. The remarks will be live-streamed and can be viewed at WH.gov. Thank you for understanding. We will let you know if a credential becomes available.”
The email does not claim that the exclusion is due to “space limitations” — an excuse that was used until recently to justify the press office’s mysterious prescreening of reporters let into large presidential events, which under past administrations were open to all journalists on White House grounds.
In June 2022, 73 journalists representing nearly two-thirds of White House briefing room seats signed a letter demanding the end of the mysterious prescreening process for events. But the unprecedented access restrictions remained in place and press officers refuse to explain the criteria for selection even to leaders of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
The criminal investigation of Hunter Biden, meanwhile, appears to be nearing its end. His legal team met with Justice Department lawyers on April 26 in Washington in what could be a final step before a charging decision.
President Biden attracted attention by attending church in Washington Sunday with his younger brother James Biden, who partnered with Hunter on a variety of international dealings.
On Friday, the president declined to take reporter questions by falsely claiming he would host a “major news conference” that afternoon — two days after House Republicans subpoenaed the FBI for a file that a whistleblower said alleged that Joe Biden took bribes.
Instead, Biden sat for a Friday night interview with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who gently approached investigations of the first family’s business dealings.
“While there’s no ties to you, your own son could be charged by your Department of Justice … how will that impact your presidency?” Ruhle asked.
Biden replied, “It will not because he has done nothing wrong. And I’m proud of him.”
There actually are extensive ties between President Biden and his son’s business dealings — and congressional Republicans have subpoenaed bank records of Biden family associates and reviewed bank Suspicious Activity Reports in an effort to track the flow of funds.
Hunter and James Biden allegedly involved their powerful relative in many business relationships.
In 2013, Hunter co-founded with Chinese state entities BHR Partners, which was registered 12 days after he joined then-VP Biden aboard Air Force Two for an official trip to Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported. Hunter introduced his dad to BHR CEO Jonathan Li during the trip to China’s capital and Joe Biden later wrote college recommendation letters for Li’s children. The current status of Hunter’s 10% stake in the firm, which says it manages nearly $2.2 billion in assets, remains unclear.
In a different Chinese venture, Hunter and James Biden received at least $4.8 million in 2017 and 2018 from CEFC China Energy. Joe Biden was referred to as the “big guy” in a May 2017 email that said he was due a 10% cut, and an October 2017 email from first son Hunter Biden’s laptop identifies Joe Biden as a participant in a call about CEFC’s attempt to purchase US natural gas.
In 2015, Joe Biden hosted his son’s Mexican business associates at the vice president’s residence in Washington. In 2016, Hunter Biden emailed one of them, Miguel Aleman Magnani — apparently while en route to Mexico aboard Air Force Two with yet another business associate — complaining that he hadn’t received reciprocal business favors.
At an April 16, 2015, dinner at DC’s Cafe Milano, then-VP Biden joined his son and a small group including Vadym Pozharskyi of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma — which paid Hunter up to $1 million per year to serve on its board — a three-person Kazakhstani delegation and Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov.
Baturina allegedly paid $3.5 million to a firm associated with Hunter Biden in February 2014 as she sought out US property investments. Baturina and another Russian billionaire who sought out US property investments with Hunter Biden have avoided President Biden’s sanctions against Russia’s business elite over the more than one-year war in Ukraine.
The family’s overlapping political and business dealings began even before Biden’s eight-year vice presidency.
In 2006, when Biden was the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, James Biden openly boasted about selling influence on his brother as he and Hunter Biden sought to take over a hedge fund based in New York, according to the book “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power” by Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger.
“Don’t worry about investors,” James Biden allegedly told a corporate executive. “We’ve got people all around the world who want to invest in Joe Biden … We’ve got investors lined up in a line of 747s ﬁlled with cash.”
After his father assumed the presidency, Hunter Biden launched an art career seeking as much as $500,000 for his novice works. The House Oversight Committee is demanding that Hunter’s Manhattan art dealer Georges Berges hand over a list of buyers.
The White House did not respond to questions from The Post about the exclusion from Monday’s presidential event. At least two other journalists initially were barred, but the press office relented and let one of them in.
In addition to prescreening reporters let into Biden’s events — which critics say sets a troubling precedent for press access — the White House moved Friday to close a longstanding legal loophole that prevented authorities from stripping reporters of press badges and unveiled a formal process to do so.