Biden heads to California to rev up his fundraising in anticipation of a costly rematch with Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden heads to California on Tuesday looking to soak up more cash for his reelection bid during a three-day swing through the state.

Going into the trip, Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that they had collected $42 million in contributions during January from 422,000 donors. Biden ended January with $130 million in cash on hand. Campaign officials said that is the highest total amassed by any Democratic candidate at this point in the cycle.

Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez called the haul “an indisputable show of strength to start the election year.”

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“While Team Biden-Harris continues to build on its fundraising machine, Republicans are divided – either spending money fighting Donald Trump, or spending money in support of Donald Trump’s extreme and losing agenda,” she said.

The figures suggest Biden is cementing an early cash advantage over Trump, his likely general election opponent. But the numbers still lag what Trump had amassed during a similar period in 2020, when his campaign routinely smashed fundraising records.

Raising money is only part of the equation. How well that cash is spent is also a major factor — as Trump well knows. His 2020 campaign effectively lit his massive cash surpluses on fire through a series of questionable spending decisions.

This year, Trump retains his impressive ability to hoover up campaign cash, particularly from grassroots donors who typically chip in small amounts online. Trump, who hasn’t released his January fundraising numbers yet, also faces a new threat to his campaign’s finances: the staggering legal bills he racked up while defending himself in four separate criminal cases.

In order to maintain an edge in what’s widely expected to be an expensive rematch with Trump, Biden’s campaign will need to accelerate his fundraising.

This week’s trip to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area will mark Biden’s third visit to California in just over two months for political events. He’s trying to make up for lost time after largely avoiding the Democratic donor stronghold during last year’s strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Biden heads first to Los Angeles, where he will take part in a fundraiser. He’ll also make campaign stops in San Francisco and Los Altos Hills this week and deliver a policy speech near Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Biden made a quick visit to Los Angeles earlier this month for a meeting with supporters in the city’s upscale Bel Air neighborhood. He and first lady Jill Biden also spent a weekend in December in the Los Angeles area for campaign events.

The first lady is traveling Tuesday to Guilford, Connecticut, to hold a campaign fundraiser on behalf of her husband.

While the Bidens will be pursuing deep-pocketed donors this week, the campaign points to the number of smaller donations it has raised as an encouraging sign for the president.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

Third Party Candidates Widening Trump’s Lead Over Biden

There’s a reason why Democrats are freaking out over comparative anti-interventionists RFK Jr., Jill Stein, and Cornel West.

Adam DelGiudice/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

Though the majority of general-election presidential polls at this stage of campaign 2024 feature only President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, a growing number are beginning to reflect what most voters’ ballots are going to actually look like: pretty crowded.

So what happens when other names are added to the two least popular presidents in the modern polling era? Led by former Democrat and current independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., they combine to attract support in the low double digits, usually. But what really has Democratic operatives in a funk is how the introduction of competition affects the spread between the Big Two. Long story short, it widens Trump’s lead. At least as of now.

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There have been at least 19 polls taken since mid-January that include both the simple Trump-Biden option and a choice that adds 1–5 additional candidates, thereby allowing an apples-to-apples numerical evaluation of the third party/independent impact on the same set of voters. In only two of those polls—one in Pennsylvania, the other in Georgia—did Biden’s position vis-à-vis Trump improve with those extra names; in 13, Trump gained ground.

For example, an I&I/TIPP survey of 1,266 registered voters released Wednesday showed Trump leading the two-way race within the margin of error—43 percent to 41 percent (with 10 percent saying “other” and 6 percent undecided). But adding five new candidates to the mix extended Trump’s lead by 4 points: 40 percent to 34 percent, with Kennedy receiving 8 percent, presumed No Labels candidate Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.) 3 percent, independent progressive Cornel West 2, and presumed Green nominee Jill Stein and presumed Libertarian Lars Mapstead tied at 1 percent apiece. (“Other” shrinks down to 2 percent, and undecided shoots up to 10.)

No Labels will decide whether it will jump into the fray, and if so with what ticket, sometime after the March 5 Super Tuesday primaries; the organization has amassed ballot access in 14 states and expects to achieve 32, with hopes that any eventual nominee can elbow onto most of the remaining 18. Cornel West, who raised just $250,000 in the third quarter of 2023 (compared to RFK’s $8.7 million in the third and $7 million in the fourth), and whose personal finances are notoriously shambolic, nevertheless has unofficially qualified for ballot access in two states, and is (like RFK) forming new political parties in selective states to reduce his petitioning burden.

The Libertarian Party, which has led the non-Democratic/non-Republican field for presidential ballot access five elections running, says it expects to be on 48 ballots; the Greens north of 30.

While much of the Democratic Party’s freakout over third-party challengers has focused on No Labels, with its untold millions and clustering of well-known centrist politicians (Manchin, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, and perhaps former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie), at least two factors suggest a low electoral ceiling for the group: 1) As I pointed out last July, “the centrist moneybags lane of presidential politics over the past half-decade is full of carcasses: Evan McMullinLarry HoganJohn KasichHoward SchultzMichael BloombergBill Weld, and American Renewal, for starters.” And 2) the organization and its floated candidates are considerably more hawkish on foreign policy than Joe Biden, at a time when much of the political passion being expressed particularly on the left is focused on criticizing Israel (and Biden’s support thereof) for its war in Gaza.

“It will be difficult for [Biden] to talk about redeeming the soul of the nation when he is enabling genocide,” Cornel West told The Washington Post in an article published Thursday.

Biden in his public appearances has been serially hounded by anti-Israel protesters. White House staffers in the hundreds have been engaging in semi-regular protests against his Mideast policy. Fifty-one percent of Democrats, per a YouGov survey in November, and 55 percent of all Americans ages 18–29 (a key Democratic Party demographic) consider Israel’s actions in Gaza to be a “genocide,” compared to just 29 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans.

A December New York Times/Siena poll showed that the 18–29 cohort thinks that Biden has been too supportive of Israel (45 percent vs. 6 percent who said too supportive of Palestinians); that the Palestinians were the most sympathetic side (46 percent to 27 percent for Israelis); that America should not send more support (55 percent); that Israel is not seriously interested in a peaceful solution (59 percent); and that Israel should stop the war even before all its hostages are free (67 percent). All of those numbers are way out of whack with the rest of American adults, and help explain why—in this one poll, anyway—the under-30 vote prefers Trump over Biden 49 percent to 30 percent.

“Forget No Labels. Biden’s Third-Party Peril is on the Left,” went the headline on a Politico magazine article this weekend written by the influential campaign journalist Jonathan Martin. “How many Biden speeches must be shouted down,” Martin wondered, “until Democrats realize that a hot war in Gaza this fall may mean 30,000 fewer votes apiece in Madison, Dearborn and Ann Arbor and therefore the presidency?”

In five-way general election polls this cycle—Trump vs. Biden vs. Kennedy vs. Stein vs. West—Stein and West are polling at around 2.2 percent apiece. That may not sound like a lot, until you consider that a combined 4.4 percent for left-of-the-Democrat candidates would be the highest number since the Progressive Party’s Robert La Follette over a century ago. Also, in the five such polls taken in 2024 that also feature the simple Trump vs. Biden matchup, the bigger ballot saw Trump’s lead widen by an average of two percentage points.

Both Stein and West and the entire field currently seeking the Libertarian Party nomination are decidedly more anti-interventionist, and critical of the American empire, than Biden or Trump. For most of the 21st century, comparative foreign policy skeptics have punched far above their weight in presidential elections: Ralph Nader in 2000, Howard Dean in 2004, Ron Paul and Barack Obama in 2008, Paul again in 2012, Trump in 2016.

The wild card this time around might be RFK Jr., who initially thrilled many anti-interventionists with his dovish take on the Russia-Ukraine war only to alienate them with his staunch post–October 7 support for Israel. According to The Washington Post, Kennedy’s advisers “say he will deliver a speech soon to address concerns both among leftist activists and libertarians that his approach to Israel is too hawkish.”

You will rarely go broke betting against independent and third-party candidates to undershoot their expectations and to fail (as they have every presidential election after 1968) to win a single state. Many, though not all, of the conditions that dampened third-party enthusiasm in 2018, 2020, and 2022 remain in place, chiefly high negative polarization and the related anxiety that the worse of the two major parties will introduce authoritarianism. Third-party poll numbers almost always march steadily downward from February to November, and even the final day’s polling typically overstates support by a third.

But America’s anti-interventionist sentiment almost always dwarfs that of their highest representatives in Washington, even those who were elected promising a more humble foreign policy. And it’s not hard to imagine overseas entanglements sprouting all over the globe this calendar year, against a domestic backdrop of highly charged politics and profound youth-vote alienation from the rest of the country.

“This is a disaster politically,” an unnamed House Democrat told Politico‘s Martin. “The base is really pissed—and it’s not just the leftists. I have never seen such a depth of anguish as I’ve seen over this Gaza issue.”

Click here to read the full article in Reason

House votes to formalize impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden along party lines

WASHINGTON — House Republicans voted Wednesday to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden as their investigation reaches a critical juncture and right-wing pressure grows.

All 221 Republicans supported the resolution.

Up until this point, House Republicans had not had enough votes to legitimize their ongoing inquiry with a full chamber vote. The probe has struggled to uncover wrongdoing by the president, which is why it hasn’t garnered the unified support of the full GOP conference.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unilaterally launched the inquiry in September, even though he had previously criticized Democrats for taking the same step in 2019 when they launched the first impeachment probe of then-President Donald Trump without taking a vote at the beginning.

The vote came after Hunter Biden defied Republican investigators’ subpoena for closed-door testimony and reiterated that he is willing to testify publicly as part of the GOP-led investigation into the president.

“I am here to testify at a public hearing, today, to answer any of the committees’ legitimate questions,” Hunter Biden said in his first public statement since being criminally indicted twice. “Republicans do not want an open process where Americans can see their tactics, expose their baseless inquiry, or hear what I have to say.”

Following Hunter’s statement, the Republican chairman behind the impeachment inquiry into the president said they will start contempt of Congress proceedings against the president’s son for not participating in the closed-door deposition.

Hunter defended his father, saying, “Let me state as clearly as I can, my father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not in my partnership with the Chinese private businessman, not in my investments home nor abroad, and certainly not as an artist.”

He continued, “In the depths of my addiction, I was extremely irresponsible with my finances. But to suggest that is grounds for an impeachment inquiry is beyond the absurd. It’s shameless. There is no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business because it did not happen.”

Part of the reason for Wednesday’s vote came from the White House telling the trio of GOP-led congressional committees leading the investigation that its subpoenas were illegitimate without a formal House vote to authorize the inquiry. That prompted some reluctant, more moderate Republican lawmakers to get on board with their party’s investigative efforts. The Trump administration made a similar argument against House Democrats at the start of his 2019 impeachment.

The argument from Republican proponents of the effort, according to multiple GOP lawmakers and aides, is that a floor vote will strengthen their legal standing against the White House and fortify their subpoenas to secure key witness testimony.

“The inquiry will help us be more informed,” GOP Rep. Nick LaLota, who represents a swing district in New York, told CNN.

Potentially bolstering the GOP inquiry: Last week’s tax indictment against Hunter Biden, which overlapped with many of the alleged financial imports and overseas business deals that Republicans have intensely scrutinized with their own probes.

In response to allegations they have stonewalled the inquiry, a recent White House memo touted that Republicans have accessed more than 35,000 pages of private financial records, more than 2,000 pages of Treasury Department financial reports, at least 36 hours of witness interviews, and just this week began receiving 62,000 more pages from the National Archives including much of Joe Biden’s communications as vice president.

But even as the majority of House Republicans rally around the inquiry vote, GOP leadership has made a point to indicate that formalizing the inquiry does not mean impeaching the president is inevitable, even as pressure within the party and among the Republican base grows.

“We’re not going to prejudge the outcome of this because we can’t,” House Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters Tuesday. “It’s not a political calculation. We’re following the law and we are the rule of law team and I’m going to hold to that.”

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican, echoed Johnson’s sentiment by telling reporters, “Voting in favor of an impeachment inquiry does not equal impeachment.”

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who has been pushing Republicans to impeach the president, told CNN the reason he sees his party’s leaders signaling caution is because House Republicans do not have the votes to actually impeach the president, particularly in their shrinking, narrow majority.

“I think it’s a realistic approach,” Gaetz said. “I don’t think we have the votes to impeach anyone.”

Indeed, moderate GOP Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who supports authorizing an impeachment inquiry, said that “more likely than not,” Republicans will not end up bringing articles of impeachment against the president because the evidence will not raise to the bar of high crimes and misdemeanors, the standard for impeachment.

While Republican leaders are emphasizing caution, others in the party are ready to go full steam ahead.

“I think we start the inquiry and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next thing is impeachment,” GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas told CNN.

At every stage, House Democrats and the White House have refuted and sometimes even debunked the accusations leveled by Republicans, who have tried to connect Joe Biden to his son’s million-dollar overseas deals.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, attacked Republican efforts to open an impeachment inquiry, and argued that House Republicans are trying to create a “dark cloud” that will follow the president into the election next year.

“That of course is the whole purpose of the impeachment inquiry,” he said Monday. “There is not one particle linking Joe Biden to a crime, and yet they insist that there is going to be a Senate trial for impeachment of Joe Biden in the fall during the presidential campaign,” Raskin said.

Since McCarthy launched the inquiry in September, the trio of committees leading the investigation have interviewed various officials from the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service while also obtaining a mountain of documents and new bank records, including from Biden family members.

Click here to read t he full article at ABC30

Day 2 of President Biden’s LA fundraising sweep rolls on Saturday

Biden attended a shiva at the residence of Lyn and Norman Lear in honor of the pioneering TV producer’s death last week at the age of 101.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden rolled into Day Two of their their Los Angeles-area fundraising blitz on Saturday, Dec. 9, criss-crossing the city for myriad meetings, many of them at private homes in posh neighborhoods.

While most of the president’s stops were thought to be linked to efforts to fuel his campaign coffers, one was a solemn experience: Biden attended a shiva at the residence of Lyn and Norman Lear in honor of the pioneering TV producer’s death last week at the age of 101.

“You know, (Lear’s) cast of characters painted a fuller picture of America, of our hopes and our hardships, our fears, our resilience, and changed the way we look at ourselves,” Biden said Friday at an evening gala. “In explaining his approach to getting the laugh — to get us to laugh and think, Norman Lear said, and I quote, “You stand a better chance if you can get them caring first” — “if you can get them caring first.”

Biden added: “Folks, at our best, we’re a nation that cares.  We care about each other; we care about the nation.  And in — and in three years, we’re going to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Norman brought an original — bought an original copy of that.  And he shared it with schools and museums.”

The president gave a 15-minute speech at an event hosted by investors Jose Feliciano and Kwanza Jones, where he touted items he regards as his administration’s accomplishments, from efforts to combat climate change to funding programs to undo the effects of pollution in poor and minority communities to jump-starting high speed rail.

As he hailed the rate at which Latinos were starting small businesses, a small child in the front rows piped up.

This weekend’s meetings are aimed at helping Biden reach a fundraising target of roughly $67 million for the fourth quarter of the year, according to a source close to the president’s campaign who spoke to the Associated Press but insisted on anonymity to discuss internal numbers.

The first lady also campaigned individually or her husband, appearing at a fundraising event Saturday at NeueHouse Hollywood hosted by Matthew Crowley and Martha Leon De La Barra. She was introduced by actress Connie Britton and spoke for 11 minutes to an audience of about 100 guests, according to a pool report.

“I wish that this election were about simple policy differences. I wish it were about differences of character or merit. But fundamentally, what this election will be about is democracy,” she said.

“We are the party defending it, not the one tearing it at its seams. We are the party that holds sacred the peaceful transfer of power, not the one that assaulted the Capitol on January 6. You and I — we are the party protecting the right of this nation’s people to live freely, not the one praising the oppressive thumb of dictators.”

After the speech, she participated in a discussion moderated by actress Elizabeth Banks.

On Friday, the first lady appeared at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to tour research laboratories as part of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. She toured the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center and Smidt Heart Institute.

The couple was scheduled to attend at least six different meetings around the L.A. area between the two of them, swooping into events drawing a throng of musicians, movie stars and moguls. 

Meanwhile, police continued to investigate numerous acts of vandalism by some of the more than 1,000 protesters who demonstrated not far from the president’s appearance at a celebrity-studded fundraiser Friday in Holmby Hills.

“At one point an unlawful assembly and dispersal order was issued due to the protesters’ actions including throwing objects at officers and passing vehicles,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement.

The protesters gathered Friday afternoon to condemn U.S. funding of Israeli military strikes in Gaza with one holding a sign, “No votes for mass murderer.”

At one point, the crowd blocked entry to the president’s fundraiser as cars attempted to enter. Some demonstrators slammed on cars, shouted “Free Palestine,” at drivers, and refused to let up their street blockage.

After about an hour and a half and some tense back and forth between officers and protesters, the demonstrators began marching toward Wilshire Boulevard. Completely blocking traffic on the southbound side of Wilshire, the protesters marched for several blocks. Some people in cars traveling the opposite way shouted their support for the movement; others displayed their opposition with thumbs down and middle fingers.

The demonstration was put on by the Palestinian Youth Movement, an organization comprising Palestinians and Arabs living in the U.S. and Canada, according to its website. Other activist groups, including Code Pink and the Los Angeles chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, also planned to participate in the demonstration.

“We are making sure that Biden hears the voices of Palestinian youth,” said Justice Crudup, a 29-year-old from LA, who works with the Orange County Justice Initiative. “We are seeing so many young voters who will turn 18 next year and who will see what’s transpiring this year…a lot of young people are going to be holding the power.”

Chief Moore said the protest ended without arrests.

“The crowd slowly dispersed and no arrests were made, no use of force, and no officers were injured,” he said.

Someone spray-painted “Free Gaza” on the wall of an apartment building on Wilshire Boulevard across from Sinai Temple. Some of the building’s residents inside threw objects at the crowd. Other Westwood businesses were tagged, Fox11 reported.

“The LAPD is aware of the acts of vandalism that occurred in the Westwood area last night by protestors who marched from an earlier demonstration. The graffiti is being removed today and crime reports have been taken,” the LAPD announced Saturday.

“The LAPD is actively investigating these crimes. While the LAPD fully supports 1st Amendment rights for peaceful demonstrations, we will not tolerate violence or vandalism of any kind.”

Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, condemned the vandalism.

“The anti-Semitic acts and vandalism in Westwood are despicable. There is no ‘context’ in which anti-Semitism is acceptable. It is vile, repugnant and abhorrent,” Lieu wrote on X. “I urge law enforcement to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

Meanwhile, inside the gala, Biden touted his record to the gathering of high-profile supporters and took a few swings at the GOP front-runner, former President Donald Trump.

“You’re the reason,” Biden told the crowd — co-hosted by such folks as former L.A. mayoral candidate and entrepreneur Rick Caruso and former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco — “that Donald Trump is a former president, or he hates when I say it, a defeated president.”

Rhetoric swapped between the two political foes has grown increasingly bitter in the past few days, with Trump declaring Biden as “the destroyer of American democracy” this week. At Friday’s event, Biden declared: “The greatest threat Trump poses is to our democracy, because if we lost that, we lose everything.”

Earlier in the week, Trump declared Biden “the destroyer of American democracy.” The former president said Tuesday in Iowa: “(Biden has) been weaponizing government against his political opponents like a Third World political tyrant.”

Polls have shown Trump holds an overwhelming lead in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Other polls have shown he has a slight lead over Biden in a potential 2024 general election race.

“I’m the only thing standing between you and Lenny Kravitz,” Biden joked before yielding the stage for a performance by the veteran rocker.

Also attending the gala were filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Rob Reiner, television producer Shonda Rhimes, Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass andand Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank.

Former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi reportedly co-hosted the event along with former L.A. mayoral candidate and entrepreneur developer Rick Caruso.

According to Deadline, tickets ranged from $1,000 to $500,000. Those who contributed $25,000 or more had access to a photo line.

Republican Party officials condemned Biden’s fundraising swing.

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Biden launches a Hollywood fundraising blitz to tap into star power with strikes over

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Here’s a Hollywood ending that President Joe Biden wants to bring to life: An incumbent facing tough polling numbers and questions about his advanced age overcomes a brash opponent to win a second term at the White House.

With strikes by writers and actors now over, Biden is beginning to make that pitch to the Southern California set in person. He and first lady Jill Biden were attending six fundraising events and meetings between them this weekend in the Los Angeles area, asking some of the glitziest names in town to open their checkbooks for his reelection campaign.

“This is an incredibly successful night,” the president said at his first fundraiser kicking off the weekend on Friday night, joking that he didn’t want to talk long because he was “the only thing standing between you and Lenny Kravitz.”

Friday night’s event featured a performance by Kravitz was hosted by celebrity designer Michael Smith and his partner, James Costos, and has already pulled in over $8 million, according to a person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal campaign details.

“It’s just a normal Friday at our house,” Costos joked to the crowd of hundreds that filled his backyard to near overflow capacity. He added, “This is not just a Hollywood gathering, it’s more like a national event,” saying that supporters from around the country joined the event.

Biden used the event to lay into Donald Trump, calling him “the first losing president and candidate in history who refused to except the result” of the 2020 race.

“He refused to show up at my inauguration. I can’t say I was disappointed,” Biden said. Then he added, to hoots, ”My guess is he won’t show up at the next inauguration.”

Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against the Biden administration’s support for Israel during its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip could be heard chanting and blowing whistles down the hill from the fundraiser, but it’s unlikely the president could hear them from the stage.

Some of the events will be public and others private over roughly 36 hours in California. But organizers say Biden should raise more this weekend than in any similar time frame since announcing his campaign in April and could potentially take in more than any presidential candidate has in greater Los Angeles this far out from Election Day.

“The pent-up excitement, enthusiasm is really unprecedented,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-founder of DreamWorks Pictures and longtime Democratic presidential fundraiser in Los Angeles, who is one of the Biden campaign’s national co-chairs. “People are excited. They’re mobilized. And they’ve been waiting months to show their support for him.”

This weekend’s events are aimed at helping Biden reach a fundraising target of roughly $67 million for the fourth quarter of the year, according to a source close to the president’s campaign who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal numbers.

The Friday night fundraiser featured luminaries like Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand, director Rob Reiner, recording industry mogul David Geffen and Shonda Rhimes, the showrunner of “Scandal” and executive producer of “Bridgerton.” Rocker Lenny Kravitz performed and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the crowd.

Another fundraising meeting is set for Saturday at Katzenberg’s home.

Biden, who frequently calls himself the “most pro-union” president in U.S. history, stayed away from raising money in Los Angeles during the monthslong writers and actors work stoppages. Now, though, he’s free to court Hollywood — a traditional source of large-dollar donations for Democrats — without political blowback.

Katzenberg said this weekend should kick off more frequent fundraising travel out West by Biden.

Biden has also been collecting cash on the East Coast. He flew to Boston on Tuesday for a trio of gatherings to raise money, including one that featured singer-songwriter James Taylor, and attended a high-dollar event Wednesday at a hotel near the White House.

Biden has another fundraiser scheduled Monday in Philadelphia that’s expected to feature Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, who has been mentioned as a potential post-2024 presidential candidate. He is also planning an upcoming Maryland reception with Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, 45, a key voice for Biden’s campaign with young voters.

The major push to raise money could quiet some donors who have privately grumbled that the president hasn’t done enough to stock his campaign coffers ahead of a 2024 race that is likely to be hard-fought and close.

Some in the broad coalition of voters that helped Biden defeat Donald Trump in 2020 are wary about Biden’s low approval ratings and there are questions, even among reliable Democrats, about whether the 81-year-old president’s age could be an issue in 2024. Others, though, have watched Trump build a commanding early lead in the Republican presidential primary and are now even more anxious to back Biden, given that a rematch with Trump seems likely.

“Whether the enthusiasm is because of the exceptional accomplishments of President Biden, or because of the extreme alternative of someone who is declaring themselves to be an autocrat, either way, you get to the same place,” Katzenberg said. “Which is, Joe Biden’s your person.”

Costos, a former HBO executive, was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain. His partner, Smith, is a celebrity interior designer who helped redesign the Oval Office during the Obama administration.

Other co-hosts for Friday’s event included Jim Gianopulos, former chairman of Paramount Pictures, and Wendy Schmidt, wife of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, another possible presidential candidate after next year’s election, was also set to attend.

Ticket prices ranged from $1,000 for general admission to $500,000 to attend at “chairman” level.

Also listed as cohosts were Bob Tuttle, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom under Republican President George W. Bush, and his wife, Maria Hummer Tuttle.

Biden has held just one campaign rally so far, addressing a summer event in Philadelphia with large unions who jointly endorsed his reelection. Instead, he’s focused on governing and raising money. The campaign has also coordinated with the Democratic National Committee to help defray advertising costs and build out staffing in key states around the country — trying to keep spending low until the race heats up next year.

The president and the DNC reported raising more than $71 million in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Biden’s joint fundraising agreement with the DNC and state parties allows him to receive a check from a single donor that is in the range of $1 million.

His third-quarter haul exceeded the roughly $70 million that Obama and his affiliated committees raised in the same quarter in 2011, without adjusting for inflation. But it fell short of Trump, who reported raising $125 million with the Republican National Committee during the third quarter when he was seeking reelection in 2019.

The Biden campaign also noted, however, that its third-quarter total outpaced the $45.5 million Trump’s campaign reported taking in during the same period this year, and said that the president had $91 million cash on hand at the end of September, which it said was the highest total by a Democrat at that point in an election cycle.

Click here to read the full article in AP News

What About California Taxes?- Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Robert Hunter Biden with Three Felony Tax Offenses and Six Misdemeanor Tax Offenses

A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment today charging Robert Hunter Biden (Hunter Biden) with three felony tax offenses and six misdemeanor tax offenses.

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – JULY 26: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building and United States Courthouse on July 26, 2023 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges in a deal with prosecutors to avoid prosecution on an additional gun charge. However, the federal judge overseeing the case unexpectedly delayed Biden’s plea deal and deferred her decision until more information is put forth by both the prosecution and the defense. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

According to the indictment, Hunter Biden engaged in a four-year scheme in which he chose not to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed federal taxes he owed for tax years 2016 through 2019 and to evade the assessment of taxes for tax year 2018 when he filed false returns.  As alleged in the indictment, to further this scheme, Hunter Biden:

  • subverted the payroll and tax withholding process of his own company by withdrawing millions outside of the payroll and tax withholding process;
  • spent millions of dollars on an extravagant lifestyle rather than paying his tax bills;
  • in 2018, stopped paying his outstanding and overdue taxes for tax year 2015;
  • willfully failed to pay his 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 taxes on time, despite having access to funds to pay some or all of these taxes;
  • willfully failed to file his 2017 and 2018 tax returns, on time; and
  • when he did finally file his 2018 returns, included false business deductions in order to reduce the very substantial tax liability he faced as of February 2020.

The indictment charges Hunter Biden with the following offenses:

Click here to read the full document

Biden Administration Awards $3 Billion to Brightline West Las Vegas-So Cal High Speed Rail Project

Cost of line has jumped from $8 billion to $12 billion in only the past few years

The Biden Administration announced on Tuesday that they would be awarding $3 billion through the Department of Transportation as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to help start construction of the Brightline West project, a high-speed rail project that is expected to connect Las Vegas with several cities in the Inland Empire.

Since the late 2010’s, the Florida-based Brightline has been planning a Las Vegas to Southern California high-speed route, with many issues, such as where the California end terminus should go, managing to be resolved. However, final hurdles, such as financing issues and construction delays, plagued the company in the last few years. In 2020, the state of California approved $600 million worth of bond allocations, paving the way for Brightline West, then paired with Virgin Trains USA, to build soon. However, according to Brightline, “election uncertainty, the lack of approval of a Covid-19 vaccine, and lack of liquidity in the market did not allow [Brightline West] to price the bonds to provide long-term stability for the company.”

As a result, state treasurer Fiona Ma took back the allocation bonds in November 2020 and Virgin dropped out of the project, stopping the project indefinitely. However, the company bounced back the next year, even planning groundbreaking ceremonies and getting final okays from the Californian Government.

The final plan, of having stations in Rancho Cucamonga, Hesperia, Victor Valley, and Las Vegas and a track that would largely be placed in the median of I-15. Future stations would include a linkup with Los Angeles proper, as well as routes to  Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Denver.

In February, union agreements were finalized, and a construction start date was soon announced for later in the year. However, two major hurdles still remained: Final regulatory approval of the route, which is expected to largely be built in the I-15 median, and final federal funding, with California and Nevada lawmakers petitioning the federal government for $3.75 billion of the estimated $12 billion needed to complete it in time for the planned 2027 opening.

Last month, the Surface Transit Board (STB) approved the modified new line, now stretching 186 miles from Rancho Cucamonga to Las Vegas. This led to the Department of Transportation awarding a grant of $3 billion to the Brightline West project, with many being won over by economic benefits to both states, traffic relief along I-15, a cut in car emissions, and providing a cheaper option of travel between the two regions.

“This historic high-speed rail project will be a game changer for Nevada’s tourism economy and transportation,” said Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in a statement on Tuesday. “It’ll bring more visitors to our state, reduce traffic on the I-15, create thousands of good paying jobs, and decrease carbon emissions, all while relying on local union labor.”

Opposition against Brightline West

However, the Brightline West project has been opposed by many transportation experts, as well as many Californian and Nevadan locals who have said that the project will ultimately do more economic harm than good and that other options, such as a mass installation of charging stations along I-15, would prove to be more successful.

“This is as big a mistake as the California High-speed rail system,” said German passenger railroad consultant Horst Bauer to the Globe on Tuesday. “To have a successful high-speed line you need several cities to support the system along the way, even if connecting two large Metro areas. Besides a few two city lines in Germany, all high-speed rail here connects more cities. The same goes for Japan, the UK, and even the other Brightline project in Florida.

“Also, not too long ago, Brightline West had a price tag of $8 billion. As any Californian knows, an initial rail line price means nothing, and today it is at $12 billion. Who knows where it will be at mid-construction.”

In a previous interview with the Globe, Bauer also noted how many cities in between Las Vegas and Rancho Cucamonga would be ignored, including the heavily travel dependent cities of Barstow, Baker, and Primm.

“But Brightline has had a very bad reputation,” said Bauer in March. “Unlike Europe where they try to integrate cities with rail service to help businesses, they have not. In Florida, they have severely hurt local businesses and severely struggled financially for years. It is doing better now, but they also have the benefit of several nearby cities on the lines providing a better passenger stream, and like I said, severely hurts the ignored cities.

“The Inland Empire-Las Vegas route has even more issues. First of all, they need to stop calling it the ‘LA to Las Vegas route’ because it doesn’t even come close to Los Angeles. Second, the rails placement in the middle of a major highway. That should not have happened. It makes sense for lower speed rail to do that. But one wrong jump from the track or derailment and you could see highways blocked. It’s not exactly the most likely scenario, but it’s not zero either. Third, this rail system is going to kill off a lot of town dependent on car traffic. If they had stops there, they would help, but they don’t, instead relying on speed. And that would make sense going between two larger cities, but remember, this train is not between two large cities, it’s the Inland Empire and a station in Las Vegas but away from everything major.”

Bauer then added that Brightline would likely not hit passenger goals beyond the initial month.

“In the first month, there will be a lot of ridership. You know, it’s the new thing. But it will quickly shore up all those flaws, especially how people would then need to either physically park and drive from both locations or take public transit, which will only worsen parking areas along side those routes. Congestion along I-15 will go down, but it is going to be hell at a local level because of a lack of local services.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

President Biden is heading to Hollywood for a major fundraiser featuring Steven Spielberg and Shonda Rhimes

President Joe Biden will head to Los Angeles next week for a big-dollar event that will be his first since strikes by writers and actors effectively ground his fundraising to a halt in the heart of the entertainment industry, which has long served as the ATM for the Democratic Party.

The event next Friday at the home of Michael Smith, a celebrity interior designer, and his partner James Costos, a former HBO executive who was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Spain, is expected to raise millions and draw a star-studded crowd. Rocker Lenny Kravitz is slated to perform.

Director Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, who starred in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” are among the hosts of the event, as are recording industry mogul David Geffen, “Scandal” showrunner Shonda Rhimes and “This is Spinal Tap” director Rob Reiner, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is also a co-host. Barbra Streisand is set to attend.

“We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. We don’t do many events, but when we do, we do it out of a great passion,” Smith said.

The event is part of a broader fundraising swing by Biden and comes as the Democratic president tries to stockpile cash for what will likely be a grueling rematch against Republican Donald Trump.

Biden is also planning fundraisers in Boston, which will include a concert by James Taylor, Washington and Maryland, where he will appear with Gov. Wes Moore, according to two people familiar with the schedule who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal planning details. He will also appear in Philadelphia alongside Gov. Josh Shapiro.

With a cash haul from elite party donors expected to reach into the millions, the Los Angeles event could help ease concerns among Democrats about Biden’s reelection chances. He already has drawn one primary rival, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, whose candidacy is a symbolic challenge to national Democrats trying to project the idea that there is no reason to doubt Biden’s electability, even as many Americans question whether the 81-year-old Biden should serve another term.

As of the last fundraising reporting deadline at the end of September, Biden and his party reported $91 million cash on hand. He is helped by the fact that as the party’s leader he has entered into a joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee, as well as state parties, which enables him to receive a check from a single donor that is in the range of $1 million.

This being Hollywood, there is a bit of intrigue and melodrama playing out.

For decades, Jeffrey Katzenberg, a co-founder of DreamWorks Pictures, has served as an arbiter of presidential fundraising in Los Angeles, usually dictating the terms of who gets to host the first premier event — often himself.

Katzenberg, now co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, will be hosting his own fundraising “meeting” during Biden’s California visit, according to three people with direct knowledge of the event who insisted on anonymity to provide details.

Should Katzenberg be outshined, it could help reshuffle a Hollywood pecking order that has been in place since Bill Clinton was president.

A Katzenberg spokesman declined to comment.

During the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, Smith and Costos hosted Biden’s first major fundraiser in the area, during a Los Angeles swing that raised over $1 million.

Click here to read that the full article in the Mercury News

The Biden Family Grift and Hunter’s Fake Offer To Testify

Hunter Biden’s offer to testify before the House Oversight Committee is a clever evasion, nothing more. The president’s son says he will testify only if the hearing is publicly televised. Nice try. Subpoenaed witnesses don’t get to set the terms. The committee does.

Why make an offer that is bound to be rejected? For two reasons. The PR goal is for Hunter to appear willing to testify, when he actually wants desperately to avoid it. The legal goal is to prevent, or at least delay, the committee from enforcing its subpoena. Hunter and his hardball attorney, Abbe Lowell, probably figure the Biden administration’s Department of Justice won’t go to court and demand compliance. That’s not a bad bet. If the DOJ does refuse, the House will go to court itself, but that will take time and may not succeed.

This kerfuffle over testimony is only the latest twist in the investigation of Biden family influence peddling. The complexity of that family operation makes it easy to lose sight of what we know, what we don’t, and how deeply the president himself is involved.

It is useful to unpack the whole operation because it has lots of moving parts, law enforcement has covered it up, and the legacy media has remained deaf, dumb, and blind. Here’s an overview.

Hunter Biden is the center of multiple investigations, but his sleazy activities only matter politically if they implicate his father. There are really three overriding questions about his father and the law enforcement agencies that have looked into the alleged corruption.

  1. What did Joe Biden know about the millions flowing into his family from overseas, based solely on their connection to him?
  2. What, if anything, did Joe do to aid this family operation?
  3. Why did several top law enforcement agencies stifle legitimate investigations into this corruption?

The crucial points, as the investigation stands now, are that the Biden family earned tens of millions by selling its “brand”; the brand consisted solely of the family’s connection to Joe’s political power; Joe knew about that sales pitch and aided it, despite his denials. But there is very little evidence, so far, that he personally benefited from this family grift.

Without that direct evidence, an impeachment vote on the House floor would likely fail and, in any event, would be very costly politically. There is no chance the Senate would vote to remove the president without ample evidence that Joe himself committed corrupt acts. It’s not enough to show he met with Hunter’s business partners or lied about what he knew. He did both, but that’s not enough.

What do we know? What is still uncertain? And what happens next?

  • The family members who earned this money had no marketable skills except their relation to the second-highest official in the U.S. government under Barack Obama.
  • Nearly all of the Biden family income came from foreign sources – and not just any foreign sources. It came from countries where corruption was pervasive, where oligarchs earned big money from it, and where Vice President Biden had primary responsibility for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
  • Hunter Biden traveled to many of these countries on Air Force Two. Arriving with his father on that plane conveyed Hunter’s ultimate insider status. That, of course, is what foreign partners were buying since Hunter had no other expertise.
  • Joe Biden has consistently and vociferously denied he knew anything at all about these extensive, multi-year efforts to monetize his name and influence. There is ample evidence to refute that assertion. More on that later.
  • To earn serious money, Hunter needed to do more than flaunt his family name. He needed to show his clients he maintained a close, working relationship with his father.
  • Joe demonstrated that working relationship in at least two ways: making phone calls to his son’s business meetings and facilitating meetings for Hunter’s associates at the White House.
  • On several occasions, Vice President Biden went further. On one official trip to California, he met with Hunter’s business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who says he and Joe discussed Hunter’s overseas business venture with Bobulinski, but only in general terms.
  • Closer to home, the Vice President dined with Ukrainian Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi and Hunter in a private room at Georgetown’s chic Café Milano (April 2015). “The Bidens are also said to have met with Kazakh oligarch Kenes Rakishev and former Kazakhstan prime minister Karim Massimov at Milano,” according to the New York Post.
  • After many such meetings, Hunter received substantial payments. Here’s just one instance. “Kazakh businessman Kenes Rakishev inexplicably wired $142,000 to Hunter Biden in April 2014 so he could buy himself a sports car. Mr. Rakishev sent the money around the same time then-Vice President Joe Biden dined with him at a Washington restaurant at Hunter Biden’s request.”
  • As the foreign income flowed in, Hunter took extensive steps to conceal its sources and distribution to various family members. He had no legitimate business reason to open dozens of bank accounts or form multiple LLCs. They were used to move money between accounts, hiding the sources and ultimate recipients.
  • Banks are familiar with transactions like this and were troubled enough to contact the U.S. Treasury, filing well over a hundred “suspicious activity reports.”
  • Since SARs often signal money laundering, the Treasury routinely investigates them, especially when they are so numerous. Not in Hunter’s case. Later, when an IRS team probing Hunter’s taxes sought to follow up, they were blocked by the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
  • Family members who received these foreign funds made sizable payments to Joe, marking the checks as “repayment of debts.” That claim is still ambiguous since no supporting documents have been made public.
  • Joe Biden made extensive efforts to hide any traces of personal involvement in his family’s enterprise, using burner phones and fake email names and addresses. The content of those messages is still secret.
  • Senior officials at the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS, and Department of Treasury have consistently blocked investigation of payments and transfers to Hunter and, even more intensively, to Joe. In several cases, lawyers in the U.S. attorney’s office explicitly said they would prohibit investigative steps that might touch on Joe Biden.
  • When IRS tax investigators prepared to raid a location where Hunter stored documents and conduct surprise interviews with his business associates, some administration officials tipped off Hunter’s team. The documents then disappeared, and the associates became unavailable. This disclosure was improper and almost certainly illegal. No one has been investigated for it.
  • The DOJ and senior IRS officials repeatedly blocked the IRS forensic team from undertaking investigative measures that would be routinely approved for other targets. One involved a direct threat Hunter made to a Chinese business partner, demanding a major payment. Hunter added leverage to the threat by saying his father was sitting beside him during the phone call and that Joe and Hunter would work together to harm the partner’s reputation if he didn’t send a large sum immediately. (He sent it.) When the IRS team investigating Hunter’s taxes learned of that call, they sought permission to use GPS data to determine if Joe Biden was actually sitting near his son at the time. They were denied permission without explanation. Photos taken later that day show Joe and Hunter were together in Delaware.
  • After the IRS investigative team had been blocked multiple times, they sought and received whistleblower status from Congress. The IRS and Department of Justice retaliated by removing the entire team from the tax investigation they had been conducting for five years.
  • IRS leaders falsely claimed the agents had no authority to request whistleblower status from Congress. In fact, requests like theirs are the purpose of the whistleblower act.
  • When two IRS investigative agents finally testified before Congress, it was obvious they were non-partisan professionals with no political agenda. They were simply following normal procedures but facing unprecedented obstructions without legitimate explanations.
  • The lead prosecutor in the Hunter Biden case, David Weiss, U.S. attorney for Delaware, was originally appointed by President Trump. Biden’s defenders stress that point. They omit that his name was put forward by Delaware’s two Democratic Senators. Whoever is responsible for Weiss’ appointment is less important than his painfully slow pace and inaction. Those speak for themselves.
  • Weiss has taken over five years to investigate charges, some of which could have been filed within months. He inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to expire on several major tax charges, leaving some taxes unpaid.
  • Weiss dropped nearly all other charges, including Hunter Biden’s representation of foreign businesses. Those should have been prosecuted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
  • Weiss’ office proposed a sweetheart deal with Hunter Biden, which fell apart when the federal judge asked basic questions about whether the U.S. attorney was granting Hunter immunity on all other crimes.
  • Another of Weiss’ failures involved his failure to obtain testimony from Hunter’s partner, Tony Bobulinski, who spoke on national television about his business relationship with Hunter and his meetings with Joe and Hunter about that business. Those public statements showed Bobulinski had information directly relevant to Weiss’ investigation. Yet the U.S. attorney never bothered to contact him. Faced with that stonewall, Bobulinski reached out to Weiss’ team and offered to testify. They never returned his calls. Bobulinski still hasn’t testified before a grand jury.
  • As far as we know, neither Weiss nor the DOJ has investigated the accuracy of written notations that divided shares in some lucrative foreign business deals. The notes indicated that, in addition to Hunter’s own share, he would pocket an additional 10% for “the Big Guy.” Hunter is known to use that term for his father, and his business partners understood the term that way.
  • Hunter also communicated privately with his daughter, complaining about having to share his earnings with his father. It is unclear if his claim is true or if the DOJ undertook any inquiries.
  • Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland falsely informed House investigators that Weiss had full authority to bring criminal charges against Biden family members outside the US attorney’s home district in Delaware. When he actually tried to do that, however, he was blocked by Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys in California and D.C. That could not have happened if Weiss and Garland’s testimony were true.
  • To overcome these roadblocks, Weiss then went to top officials at the DOJ and requested authority to bring charges outside Delaware. He was denied. The request and denial further contradict claims by both Weiss and Attorney General Garland to Congress, stating Weiss had full authority to file those charges in other districts. He didn’t, and Main Justice declined to give it to him.
  • Weiss did finally receive that authority, but only after the DOJ was publicly humiliated by the IRS whistleblowers’ testimony.
  • After Weiss received that authority, he opened a grand jury investigation of Hunter Biden in California, probably for tax issues and perhaps for FARA violations.

Joe Biden’s defense against this tsunami of family corruption is that he loves his son, that his son’s mistakes are attributable to his drug addiction, that any evidence of family corruption on Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation (a claim now disproven by multiple forensic investigations), and that there is no proof Joe himself was ever involved in influence peddling, benefited from it, or even knew about it.

The DOJ, IRS, FBI, and Treasury Department have offered no explanation for their sustained efforts to prevent investigations that would touch on Joe Biden, to block standard procedures by IRS specialists, and to let the statute of limitations expire on major charges, including some that let federal tax obligations go unpaid. They have not explained why FARA charges against Hunter disappeared despite ample evidence of violations.

James Comer (R-KY), who heads the House Oversight Committee and leads the impeachment inquiry, appears to be nearing the conclusion of his investigation. Over the past two weeks, he issued subpoenas to Hunter Biden, Hunter’s business partners, James Biden (Joe’s brother), and other witnesses with direct knowledge of the family’s transactions. He has also sought their bank records. Zeroing in on these key witnesses normally signals the impending conclusion of an investigation.

The latest subpoenas raise hard questions. The first is whether all the witnesses, including Hunter Biden, will comply. The second is whether, if some refuse, the Department of Justice will enforce the subpoenas, as they should. If the DOJ declines, the committee could go directly to federal court and seek enforcement, but that’s time-consuming and requires approval by heavily Democratic courts in D.C. The committee will argue it has a clear legislative purpose (impeachment) and a right to see the documents and hear from witnesses under oath to fulfill that purpose.

The final and most vexing question is whether the committee has gathered sufficient evidence to propose impeachment. That is ultimately a political decision, and not an easy one. Although the Republicans almost certainly win that vote in committee, they have only a three-vote majority on the House floor (and only two if George Santos is expelled, as seems likely). They would need uniform Republican support to move forward. All Democrats would oppose them.

It is far from certain all House Republicans would vote for impeachment. More than a dozen were elected from districts Biden won in 2020. Those vulnerable representatives know that impeaching the president would distract from other public business, alienate some centrist voters, and die in the Senate.

Many Republicans have yet another reservation. They don’t want to do anything to drive Biden out of the 2024 race since they believe he is the weakest Democrat candidate.

Click here to read the full article in Real Clear Politics

Bank Investigator Flagged ‘Unusual’ Chinese Payments behind $40k Check to Biden, Raised Possibility of Influence Peddling

A bank money-laundering investigator expressed serious concerns about a transfer of funds from China that ultimately trickled down to President Biden in the form of a $40,000 check from his brother, James Biden, according to an email obtained by the House Oversight Committee.

Biden received a $40,000 personal check from an account shared by his brother, James Biden, and sister-in-law, Sara Biden, in September 2017 — money that was marked as a “loan repayment.” The alleged repayment was sent after funds were filtered from Northern International Capital, a Chinese company affiliated with the Chinese energy firm CEFC, through several accounts related to Hunter Biden and eventually down to the personal account shared by James and Sara Biden.

Northern International Capital sent $5 million to Hudson West III, a joint venture established by Hunter Biden and CEFC associate Gongwen Dong on August 8.

On the same day, Hudson West III then sent $400,000 to Owasco, P.C., an entity owned and controlled by Hunter Biden. Six days later, Hunter Biden wired $150,000 to Lion Hall Group, a company owned by James and Sara Biden. Sara Biden withdrew $50,000 in cash from Lion Hall Group on August 28 and then deposited the funds into her and her husband’s personal checking account later that day. 

On September 3, 2017, Sara Biden wrote a check to Joe Biden for $40,000.

An unidentified bank investigator sent an email on June 26, 2018 to colleagues raising concerns about money sent from Hudson West III to Owasco P.C. The email said the $5 million in funds sent from Northern International Capital to Hudson West III were primarily used to fund 16 wire transfers totaling more than $2.9 million to Owasco PC. The wires were labeled as management fees and reimbursements.

“We find it unusual that approximately 58 percent of the funds were transferred to the law firm in a few months and the frequency of payments appear erratic,” the investigator wrote in the email, which the committee shared with National Review.

The investigator said Hudson West III “does not currently have any investment projects at this time, which raises further concerns as millions in fees are being paid but does not appear to have any services rendered by Owasco PC.”

The email also points to news at the time that indicated China had been targeting children of politicians and purchasing political influence through “sweetheart deals.”

“Specifically, Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion dollar deal with the Chinese-State to establish a private-equity firm in which they manage the funds over time and make huge fees,” the email said. 

“The management company’s purpose is to invest in companies that benefit Chinese government,” it adds. “Thus, the activity on the account appears unusual with no current business purpose and along with the recent negative news … may require re-evaluation of [redacted] relationship with the customer.” 

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer reacted to the letter in a statement on Wednesday.

“Long before our investigation into President Biden’s corruption, a bank money laundering investigator raised the exact concerns that we raised publicly about the Biden family business: ‘payments appear erratic,’ ‘does not appear to have any services rendered,’ ‘no current business purpose,’ and ‘China target[s] children of politicians and purchase of political influence through ‘sweetheart deals.’ Those are the words of a bank investigator who was just doing his job,” he said.

“The bank investigator was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s financial transactions with the Chinese company, he wanted to re-evaluate the bank’s relationship with the customer,” Comer added.

Comer goes on to say President Biden “knew about, participated in, and benefited from his family’s shady China dealings.”

“Joe Biden showed up to his son’s CEFC meetings and benefited from the money wired from China” he said. “The White House and their Corporate Media allies’ efforts to excuse and coverup this blatant corruption is appalling to the American people. House Republicans will continue to unearth the facts and provide the accountability the American people deserve.”

The Bidens began working with CEFC, a Chinese energy company linked to the CCP, when Joe Biden was vice president. Hunter Biden sent a WhatsApp message to CEFC associate Raymond Zhao on July 30, 2017, demanding a $10 million payment.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. I am very concerned that the Chairman has either changed his mind and broken our deal without telling me or that he is unaware of the promises and assurances that have been made have not been kept,” the message read.

“And Z if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the Chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction,” he added.

The next day, Hunter Biden asked to reshape the partnership to exclude James Gilliar, Rob Walker, and Tony Bobulinski, leaving CEFC working only with James Biden.

“CEFC is willing to cooperate with the family,” Zhao replied.

Walker told the FBI that Biden appeared at a CEFC meeting in Washington, D.C. with Hunter Biden. Walker acknowledged that the younger Biden had his father attend in order to increase the chances of getting a deal to work out.

Former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer previously testified that then–vice president Biden joined at least 20 phone calls and/or in-person meetings with Hunter’s foreign business associates during their time working together. He explained that access to the vice president served as the selling point of the Biden “brand” that allowed him and Hunter several lucrative financial opportunities, including joining the board of Burisma.

At the time, Burisma’s founder and CEO Mykola Zlochevsky was being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whom the elder Biden later bragged about having fired.

Click here to read the full article in the National Review