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The Biden Family Business
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The Biden Family Business

House Republicans investigate shady business dealings involving the president’s family.

Happy Tuesday! If you thought you might have held the world record for longest time living underwater without depressurization, think again.

Joseph Dituri has been at the bottom of a lagoon in Key Largo, Florida, since March 1—and “Dr. Deep Sea” isn’t planning on surfacing anytime soon. “The record is a small bump, and I really appreciate it,” the retired U.S. Naval officer said. “I’m honored to have it, but we still have more science to do.”

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Special Counsel John Durham—appointed during former President Donald Trump’s administration—issued a 306-page report criticizing the FBI’s investigation into allegations linking the Trump campaign and Russia ahead of the 2016 election. Durham found the collusion probe was opened based on “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence” and that investigators placed too much stock in supposed evidence provided by Trump’s political rivals. The report also alleges the FBI was far more hesitant to investigate claims Hillary Clinton’s campaign had similar foreign ties. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan—chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government—said yesterday he’d invited Durham to testify next week.
  • President Joe Biden announced Monday his intent to nominate cancer surgeon Dr. Monica Bertagnolli to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Bertagnolli has led the National Cancer Institute since October, and if confirmed by the Senate, would fill a role at the NIH that has been vacant since December 2021, when Dr. Francis Collins retired. Bertagnolli said in December she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer herself, but that her prognosis was good due to early detection.
  • The Department of Energy announced plans on Monday to purchase up to 3 million barrels of U.S.-produced sour crude oil in the coming months, with the sales awarded in June and oil delivered to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in August. The Biden administration sold off more than 200 million barrels from the SPR last year in an effort to bring down gas prices, and officials said last fall the Energy Department would begin restocking the reserve once costs had come down.
  • A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a 78-year-old U.S. citizen to life in prison on espionage charges and seized more than $70,000 worth of the man’s personal property. John Shing-Wan Leung—who lives in Hong Kong—was first detained in April 2021, but the circumstances surrounding his arrest remain murky. The State Department declined to comment with any specifics, citing privacy concerns.
  • Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia confirmed yesterday a man armed with a metal baseball bat attacked his district office in Fairfax, Virginia, on Monday, sending two staffers to the hospital with “non-life threatening injuries.” The 49-year-old assailant—who Connolly said asked to see the congressman before bludgeoning the staffers—was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated malicious wounding and another count of malicious wounding. His motive is not yet clear, but the assailant’s father said he suffers from schizophrenia.
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence took another step toward launching a presidential campaign on Monday, blessing the creation of a super PAC that would support such a bid. Pence is widely expected to get in the race in the coming weeks, and the PAC—Committed to America—will be led by former GOP Rep. Jeb Hensarling and longtime Republican operative Scott Reed. “People know Mike Pence, they just don’t know him well,” Reed told reporters yesterday. “This campaign is going to reintroduce Mike Pence to the country as his own man, not as vice president, but as a true economic, social, and national security conservative—a Reagan conservative.”

Where There’s Smoke?

Joe Biden hugs his wife Dr. Jill Biden, son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn in as U.S. president. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Joe Biden hugs his wife Dr. Jill Biden, son Hunter Biden and daughter Ashley Biden after being sworn in as U.S. president. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In October 2020—just days before the presidential election—NBC News’ Kristen Welker had a question for Joe Biden about the allegations swirling around his son Hunter’s work in China and for a Ukrainian energy company while he was vice president: “In retrospect, was anything about those relationships inappropriate or unethical?”

“Nothing was unethical,” the Democratic nominee replied. Whether Biden truly believed that or not is anyone’s guess, but nearly three years later, it’s increasingly clear a whole lot of Americans have questions about the Biden family business. And as congressional Republicans continue to dig into the activities of the president’s brother and son, those questions are likely only going to grow louder. 

Last week, the House Oversight Committee led by Rep. James Comer, a Republican of Kentucky, released a memo detailing financial information on more than 20 companies that received funds from foreign sources and channeled some of the money to Biden family members. The committee obtained the information from subpoenas of the bank records of businesses associated with the Bidens. The release follows a similarly-styled March memo claiming the family received money from a Chinese energy company via a business partner of Hunter Biden. Based on these findings, Republicans are trying to paint a picture of a corrupt scheme to cash in on political influence internationally—but they have yet to produce evidence the family broke the law or that President Biden had any role in wrongdoing. 

Worth Your Time

  • Even as other parts of Sudan experienced violence and strife in recent years, the capital of Khartoum remained largely safe. That changed on April 15 when fighting broke out between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces—born out of a repressive militia that committed atrocities in Darfur—and the Sudanese military. “The moment Abrar Elaliem realized she had to abandon her home in Khartoum was when two missiles soared past her front door and exploded in a yard just meters away. The subsequent blast shook the building so hard that paint fell off the walls,” Simon Marks and Mohammed Alamin report for Bloomberg. “Following the 2019 ouster of dictator Omar al-Bashir, Khartoum started to loosen up. There were pop-up galleries, more coffee shops and even a KFC outlet, while more women decided to ditch their headscarves. Now, residents share their lives with a deadly group they’ve spent decades fearing, dodging bullets and trying to secure food supplies. RSF fighters have broken into the homes of people who have fled to create makeshift army camps. They have asked people to use their toilets and share their food, according to residents interviewed by phone.”

Presented Without Comment 

Washington Post: Wagner Chief Offered to Give Russian Troop Locations to Ukraine, Leak Says

Also Presented Without Comment 

NBC News: 1,500 Grams of Cocaine Fall Out of Woman’s Fake Pregnancy Belly During South Carolina Traffic Stop, Police Say

Toeing the Company Line

  • It’s Tuesday, which means Dispatch Live (🔒) returns tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT! Drucker will join Mike for an update from Iowa and they will, of course, take plenty of viewer questions! Keep an eye out for an email later today with information on how to tune in.
  • In the newsletters: The Dispatch Politics team files from Iowa where proto-candidate Ron DeSantis is trying to drum up support for his imminent presidential bid, Nick calls out (🔒) Elon Musk’s free speech hypocrisy, and Kevin argues (🔒) no one is above negotiating, not even Biden.
  • On the podcasts: David Lat joins Sarah to discuss all the latest Supreme Court news. 
  • On the site: Mike reports on Pence’s new super PAC, Jason Blessing writes on the danger of Russia-Iran cyber cooperation, and Eric S. Edelman and Franklin C. Miller argue in favor of providing more sophisticated weaponry to Ukraine. Plus, Charlotte covers Turkey’s Election Day and previews the upcoming runoff vote: “They exploit us through religion,” one voter said from Istanbul. “They talk about our prophets and caliphs, but only they themselves live in the palace.” 

Let Us Know

Even before the latest GOP claims about the Biden family, there was abundant evidence Hunter Biden sought to trade on his father’s position and power. Donald Trump’s children have long done the same. Is this an inevitable part of our politics? Or should lawmakers consider tightening rules around the business activities of close relatives of politicians?

Declan Garvey is the executive editor at the Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2019, he worked in public affairs at Hamilton Place Strategies and market research at Echelon Insights. When Declan is not assigning and editing pieces, he is probably watching a Cubs game, listening to podcasts on 3x speed, or trying a new recipe with his wife.

Esther Eaton is a former deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch.

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.

Grayson Logue is the deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in political risk consulting, helping advise Fortune 50 companies. He was also an assistant editor at Providence Magazine and is a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing a Master’s degree in history. When Grayson is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably working hard to reduce the number of balls he loses on the golf course.