Son of former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden
Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American lawyer and lobbyist who is the second son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. He is a partner at Rosemont Seneca Partners, an international consulting firm.
Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019. In 2019, President Donald Trump claimed that Joe Biden had sought the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to protect Hunter Biden from investigation. However, Hunter Biden was not under investigation.Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens by withholding foreign aid triggered an impeachment inquiry in September 2019.
Biden was born on February 4, 1970, in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the second son of Neilia Biden (née Hunter) and Joe Biden, the latter of whom represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 and served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Hunter Biden’s mother and younger sister, Naomi, were killed in an automobile crash on December 18, 1972. Biden and his older brother, Beau, were also seriously injured in that crash. Hunter and Beau Biden later encouraged their father to marry again, and Jill Jacobs became Hunter and Beau’s stepmother in 1977. Biden’s half-sister, Ashley, was born in 1981.
Like his father and brother, Biden attended Archmere Academy, a Catholic high school in Claymont, Delaware. In 1992, he graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in history. During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon, where he met and eventually married Kathleen Buhle. After attending Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School, graduating in 1996.
Early positions, 1996–2009
After graduating from law school, Biden took a position at MBNA America, a major bank holding company which was also a major contributor to his father’s political campaigns. By 1998, he had risen to the rank of executive vice president. From 1998 to 2001, he served in the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on ecommerce policy. Biden became a lobbyist in 2001, co-founding the firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair. According to Adam Entous of The New Yorker, Biden and his father established a relationship in which “Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about them.” In 2006, Biden and his uncle, James Biden, attempted to buy Paradigm, a hedge-fund group, but the deal fell apart before completion. That same year, Biden was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of Amtrak; he was on the board of Amtrak from 2006 to 2009.
Later career, 2009–present
After his father was elected as vice president in 2008, Biden resigned from his position on the Amtrak board of directors and left his career as a lobbyist. Along with Christopher Heinz, stepson of John Kerry, and Devon Archer, Biden founded the investment firm Rosemont Seneca.
In May 2013, Biden was selected as a direct commission officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, receiving an age-related waiver and a second waiver due to a past drug-related incident. Joe Biden administered the commissioning oath to Hunter Biden in a White House ceremony.
The following month, Biden tested positive for cocaine during a urinalysis test and was subsequently discharged. According to Biden, he had unwittingly consumed the cocaine after being given cigarettes he believed were surreptitiously laced with the drug. He chose not to appeal the matter due to the likelihood news of his discharge would leak to the press, though it was ultimately revealed to The Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who provided information to the newspaper on condition of anonymity.
In 2013, Biden, Devon Archer, and Chinese businessman Jonathan Li founded BHR Partners, a business focused on investing Chinese capital in companies based outside of China. In September 2019, President Trump falsely claimed that Biden “walk[ed] out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund” and earned “millions” of dollars from the BHR deal, while Trump was also accusing Biden of malfeasance in Ukraine. Trump publicly called on China to investigate Hunter Biden’s business activities there while his father was vice president.
In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Mykola Zlochevsky faced a money laundering investigation, and his company Burisma Holdings, the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine, assembled a “high-profile international board” in response. Chris Heinz, John Kerry‘s stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk. Among those who joined the board of directors in April 2014 were Biden, Archer and former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski. Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019, receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months. Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden’s having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden’s anti-corruption work in Ukraine. While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations. The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.
In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings. In May 2019, Shokin claimed that he was fired because he was actively investigating Burisma, but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin’s dismissal. The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that their investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014. There is no evidence that Vice President Biden sought the removal of Shokin to protect Hunter Biden or Burisma Holdings. In July 2019, Trump ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid shortly before a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky to initiate an investigation of the Bidens. Trump falsely told Zelensky that “[Joe] Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution” of his son; Joe Biden did not stop any prosecution, did not brag about doing so, and there is no evidence his son was ever under investigation. On September 24, 2019, the United States House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump on the grounds that he may have sought to use U.S. foreign aid and the Ukrainian government to damage Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukranian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.
Biden married Kathleen Buhle in 1993, and they have three daughters. Biden and Kathleen separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017. In 2016, he began dating Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau; they ended their relationship by early 2019.
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- ^ Multiple sources:
- “Trump: I want to meet my accuser”. Agence France-Presse. September 30, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he wants and deserves to meet the anonymous whistleblower at the center of the fast-moving scandal that has triggered an impeachment probe against him … Brandishing what he said were affidavits incriminating Biden’s son Hunter over his work at a Ukrainian company, Giuliani said Trump was duty bound to raise the issue with Kiev. Trump and his allies claim Biden, as Barack Obama’s vice president, pressured Kiev to fire the country’s top prosecutor to protect his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company, Burisma Holdings, accused of corrupt practices. Those allegations have largely been debunked and there has been no evidence of illegal conduct or wrongdoing in Ukraine by the Bidens.
- Matthias, Williams; Polityuk, Pavel (September 26, 2019). “Zelenskiy opponents say comments about Europeans to Trump could hurt Ukraine”. Reuters. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate the business dealings of the son of his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner to challenge Trump in an election next year. Zelenskiy agreed. Biden’s son Hunter worked for a company drilling for gas in Ukraine. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
- Isachenkov, Vladimir (September 27, 2019). “Ukraine’s prosecutor says there is no probe into Biden”. Associated Press. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.
- “White House ‘tried to cover up details of Trump-Ukraine call‘“. BBC News. September 26, 2019. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Bidens.
- Timm, Jane (September 25, 2019). “There’s no evidence for Trump’s Biden-Ukraine accusations. What really happened?”. NBC News. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
But despite Trump’s continued claims, there’s no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of either Biden.
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Messrs. Trump and Giuliani have suggested that Joe Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in March 2016 to stop an investigation into Burisma. In Ukraine, government officials and anticorruption advocates say that is a misrepresentation … Mr. Shokin had dragged his feet into those investigations, Western diplomats said, and effectively squashed one in London by failing to cooperate with U.K. authorities … In a speech in 2015, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Otto Pyatt, called the Ukrainian prosecutor “an obstacle” to anticorruption efforts
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