By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations
March 15, 2023
The Justice Department is not disclosing to the public or Congress links between President Biden’s son Hunter and brother James and a corrupt Chinese government agent who doled out millions of dollars in bribes. It has scrubbed the connections from court documents and is suggesting it doesn’t have evidence clearly in its possession.
In addition, the department appears to be trying to silence another disreputable partner from coming forward to tell what he knows about the Bidens' Chinese connection.
In 2016, FBI counterespionage agents began collecting voluminous evidence against Chinese national Chi Ping “Patrick” Ho, who was suspected of paying off officials and their families around the world in exchange for oil rights for a China-based energy conglomerate he represented that has ties to Chinese military intelligence.
From emails, text messages, phone calls, bank records, and other evidence gathered from wiretaps and searches of Ho’s offices in D.C. and New York, investigators discovered that Hunter Biden and his uncle James were targets of Ho and CEFC China Energy, which had struck up a business partnership with the Bidens. The deal, sealed in 2017, netted the Bidens almost $6 million for unspecified work, at least $1 million of which was paid directly by Ho.
Main Article: Feds' Foreign-Corruption Double Standard Protected Bidens
DOJ prosecutors were able to indict and convict Ho in 2018 under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for his role in a bribery scheme aimed at former United Nations and African officials. Though the evidence also potentially implicated the Bidens, who failed to register as foreign agents of CEFC, prosecutors did not pursue charges against them.
Republican congressional leaders investigating Biden influence-peddling say the DOJ is actively covering up the illicit connection. Here’s how:
Failing to Turn Over
Despite Senate Judiciary Committee requests, DOJ refuses to turn over Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act materials the FBI used to spy on Ho in 2016 and 2017. DOJ claims the FISA information may not even exist.
“Unfortunately, we are not in a position to confirm the existence of the information that is sought if it exists in the department’s possession,” then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Joseph Gaeta told GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Judiciary in a letter.
But the FISA applications and material do exist — according to a sworn acknowledgement by former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who prosecuted the Ho case.
In Feb. 8, 2018, he notified Ho’s defense team and the court of his “intent to use Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act information” in the case, including “information derived from electronic surveillance pursuant to FISA.”
A former Democratic congressional staffer, Gaeta recently left DOJ to take a top job at Democracy Forward, a Democratic Party shop formed in 2016 to bring legal challenges to Donald Trump. It is chaired by former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias, who commissioned the discredited Steele dossier that fabricated ties between Trump and Russia.
If Hunter Biden and his uncle were mentioned in the FISA wiretap materials, it’s a closely guarded secret.
The affidavits to “electronically monitor” Ho and his contacts remain classified and under seal, along with the FISA material collected from the wiretaps – including “foreign intelligence,” according to court documents. Ho’s defense team had access to the FISAs as part of discovery, but when they tried to introduce information from them as evidence, the court ruled it “classified” and “inadmissible.”
Hunter Biden's Name
During Ho’s 2018 trial in New York, federal prosecutors strained to keep secret his partnership with the Biden family.
In at least one court exhibit, Hunter Biden's name was redacted from an email that agents obtained from Ho. One of the prosecutors in the case asked the judge to keep jurors in the dark about Ho's powerful American connection, because he said DOJ did not want to “introduce a political dimension to this case,” records show.
Emails the feds seized from Ho during their investigation show one of his CEFC advisers tried to arrange a private Washington dinner in December 2015 with their boss, CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming, and someone whose name was redacted by DOJ prosecutors. (Although the name wasn’t made public during the trial, in an email to a mutual business associate found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, Ho’s adviser had invited “Hunter” to attend the dinner.)
Further explaining his reason for censoring the name, DOJ prosecutor Daniel Richenthal told the judge “the name of that individual ... could introduce a political dimension to this case that we don’t think is worth dealing with." Ho’s lawyers argued the redaction was unnecessary.
In May 2018, federal prosecutors reached out to Hunter from the Southern District of New York, which handled the Ho case, information found on Hunter’s abandoned laptop reveals. It’s not clear what they discussed. Richenthal is a Democrat who has given money to the DNC.
DOJ also redacted sections of transcripts of audio recordings captured from Ho’s phone conversations from the New York prison where he was incarcerated.
More than a dozen filings and hearing transcripts from the Ho case remain under seal, locked in a court “vault,” according to the docket. Ho’s connection to the Bidens went unmentioned in DOJ press releases about the case.
a Tipster's Leads
The Justice Department allegedly has suppressed leads provided investigators years ago on the Bidens related to CEFC by a former CEFC consultant close to both Ho and Hunter Biden.
DOJ is seeking the extradition of the tipster Gal Luft, a former senior adviser to CEFC China Energy who was arrested last month in Cyprus for charges tied to the illegal export of arms to China.
However, Luft maintains he’s “never been an arms dealer” and that the real reason the Biden administration wants to bring him into custody is to silence him from cooperation with congressional investigations into Hunter’s business dealings with CEFC and other Chinese entities.
Luft said he met with FBI and DOJ investigators in 2019 and gave them incriminating information on Hunter, but they did not pursue the leads he gave them. His lawyers recently told DOJ he plans to submit a letter to Congress detailing statements he made in that interview.
“DOJ is trying to bury me to protect Joe, Jim & Hunter Biden,” Luft claimed in a Feb. 18 tweet. He threatened to "name names” of department officials whom he says are trying to cover for the Bidens.
It was also in 2019 that the FBI was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by a Delaware computer repairman several months after the younger Biden abandoned the device there. The laptop contains numerous documents featuring Ho, CEFC Energy Fund and its U.S.-based subsidiary, the China Energy Fund Committee, which Ho ran from D.C. FBI whistleblowers have told Congress that their supervisors in Washington suppressed the laptop evidence and even claimed, falsely, it was Russian “disinformation."
Other Non-Laptop Evidence
Congressional investigators say it’s clear from the court proceedings in the Ho case that the FBI and DOJ are sitting on more evidence related to the Bidens' illicit ties to the Chinese government than what is contained on Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive.
“DOJ likely possesses additional evidence related to CEFC and Hunter Biden given the seizure of Patrick Ho’s iPad and email accounts in November 2017,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said last month.
FBI agents also confiscated a Huawei cell phone from Ho when they arrested him at JFK International Airport that month, DOJ records show.
'Kevin' Dong Evidence
Meanwhile, in the Senate, Grassley believes DOJ may have also electronically monitored Gongwen “Kevin” Dong, another CEFC agent tied to the Bidens. Grassley has demanded DOJ also turn over any FISA materials related to Dong. However, DOJ has stonewalled this request too.
Dong is the CEFC principal who signed a joint venture contract with Hunter Biden and who initiated most of the wire payments to him via pass-through entities in 2017 and 2018. In effect, Dong was the Chinese bagman for the Bidens and the millions in cash they raked in from China.
Throughout the legal proceedings, prosecutors made it plain they believed Ho was a dangerous Chinese agent, but they never breathed a word about his $1 million in payments to Biden's son and brother.
Hunter Biden first engaged with CEFC in 2015, while his father was vice president. (See main article.)
Former assistant FBI director Chris Swecker points out that the CEFC-Biden deal had the hallmarks of a Chinese intelligence operation.
He notes that Hunter Biden was well aware of Ye’s and Ho’s links to Chinese intelligence. In an audio recording found on his laptop, Hunter described Ho as “the fucking spy chief of China.” Hunter’s ex-business associate Tony Bobulinski says their Chinese partners – whom he described as “intelligence” assets – weren’t looking to make a “healthy” return on investment in the CEFC deal, but rather viewed it "as a political or influence investment.” Bobulinski says he has told the FBI in interviews that Joe Biden himself was cut in on the CEFC deal.
Swecker said the FBI and DOJ no doubt suspected the Chinese were targeting the Bidens as part of an influence operation and intelligence-gathering operation. By asking the FISA spy court to authorize surveilling Ho, he said, counterintelligence agents believed the foreign national was working covertly for the Chinese government. Such warrants can only be granted for targets suspected of being an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist group, which means FBI agents were searching for evidence of espionage.
“Hunter’s and Jim’s dealing with CEFC had aroused counterintelligence concerns inside the FBI, “ said Ben Schreckinger, author of “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power.” “The FBI had Hunter under surveillance."
Neither Biden was accused of wrongdoing in Ho’s criminal bribery and money laundering scheme involving former United Nations and African officials. Hunter and his attorney did not respond to messages seeking comment. Attempts to reach James Biden were unsuccessful.