Nearly two dozen current and former officials serving in the White House and Biden administration, including the president’s national security adviser and the secretary of state, have extensive ties to Hunter Biden, who is accused by Republicans of selling access to his father dating back over a decade.
A Fox News Digital analysis reveals the extent of Hunter’s potential reach in the White House as the embattled first son faces federal tax charges in California, as well as a congressional investigation into his alleged influence peddling and foreign business deals.
Hunter pleaded not guilty during his initial court appearance this month after being charged with nine tax crimes stemming from an investigation by Justice Department Special Counsel David Weiss. A day earlier, he made a shocking appearance at a House Oversight Committee meeting where members were considering whether to hold him in contempt for defying a subpoena as part of the impeachment inquiry into his father, President Biden.
Hunter Biden speaks to the media outside the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 13, 2023. (Tierney L. Cross/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The most notable individuals from Fox’s analysis include two members of Biden’s Cabinet, one former Cabinet member, a top aide to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a national security adviser, four top Biden White House aides, the communications director for first lady Jill Biden, and multiple other former staffers.
All emails were reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital.
Former White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, who departed the role last year but is still a staunch defender of the Biden administration and serves as an outside surrogate, previously communicated with Hunter in 2016 about a column written by Joel Goldstein, a law professor, praising his father’s presidency.
“It is excellent. We will move it around to the WH press corps,” she wrote to Hunter and a number of others. Bedingfield was serving as then-Vice President Biden’s communications director at the time.
Other emails from 2015 showed Bedingfield later tried to quash a Bloomberg story about Hunter at the request of his firm, Rosemont Seneca. The emails showed a close relationship between Biden’s office, Hunter’s longtime business partner Eric Schwerin, and the media.
Schwerin, who was the then-president of Hunter’s now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm, asked Bedingfield whether there was any “follow up” by other news outlets on a New York Times story that said the “credibility of the vice president’s anti-corruption message may have been undermined” by Hunter’s serving on the board of Burisma Holdings.
VP BIDEN’S OFFICE TRIED TO QUASH BLOOMBERG STORY ABOUT HUNTER BIDEN AT HIS FIRM’S REQUEST, EMAILS SHOW
White House spokesperson Kate Bedingfield speaks during a briefing at the White House on March 30, 2022. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)
Bedingfield, who is now a CNN political commentator, responded that a Bloomberg reporter had asked about it but was “doing everything she can to not use it.”
“…VP just finished an interview with the Bloomberg reporter traveling with us and she asked about it, though she assures me she’s doing everything she can to not use it,” she wrote. “I will have a transcript soon but my quick notes on his answer are: No one has any doubt about my record on corruption, I don’t talk to my son about his business and my children don’t talk to me about mine, I have complete faith in my son.”
Schwerin responded, “I would just urge her (as I know you are doing) that there is no new news there. And even if she uses it — she should avoid getting into past stories (Navy, etc.) that have nothing to do with this.”
The story was ultimately published.
John Nevergole, a business executive who was tapped in 2022 to serve another term on President Biden’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), previously worked as a senior adviser to Rosemont Seneca and strategized with Hunter on brokering business deals in western Africa years prior to his appointment in the current administration.
Emails show Nevergole’s relationship with Hunter dating back to at least 2011. In an Aug. 5, 2011, email chain, Schwerin, then-president of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, informed Hunter that Nevergole had requested to split a retainer fee 70/30 for helping broker a deal between Rosemont and Brazilian construction giant OAS.
BIDEN ADMIN’S COMMERCE APPOINTEE WAS LONGTIME BUSINESS PARTNER OF HUNTER BIDEN, EMAILS REVEAL
In August 2011, Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, emailed Hunter about a conversation he had with John Nevergole about a request to split a retainer fee 70/30 for helping broker a deal between Rosemont and Brazilian construction giant OAS. (Fox News Digital)
After Hunter pushed back on the price, Schwerin, who was also a member of ABD’s board of advisers for several years, said, “So, I am OK with 70/30 … Mainly because I think the relationship can bear fruit in other areas down the line, e.g. in Africa if we choose to focus there.”
Longtime Hunter Biden business partner Eric Schwerin told Hunter in 2011 he was OK with the 70/30 split because “the relationship can bear fruit in other areas down the line” in places like Africa. (Fox News Digital)
A few years later, Schwerin emailed Hunter on May 29, 2014, saying he “talked to John Nevergole yesterday, and he said you had mentioned to him you wanted to discuss natural gas at some point.”
At the time, Hunter had just been appointed to serve as a board member for Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma Holdings, for which he had received intense scrutiny over several years that prompted him to later admit he used “poor judgment” and that he would not join the board again if he could do things over.
The two communicated frequently from 2010 to 2017.
Michael Hochman, a White House aide who has held multiple positions in the Biden administration, including White House deputy staff secretary, previously spent nearly two decades at a Delaware law firm that was heavily involved with corporate entities tied to Hunter, his business associates and other Biden family members.
Between January 2021 and June 2022, Hochman served as the White House deputy staff secretary before joining the White House’s recently created Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD), which advises Biden on cybersecurity policy and strategy. Hochman started out as the deputy general counsel and deputy chief of staff before being promoted to chief of staff last November.
Fox’s analysis found several emails between Hochman and Hunter sent during the Obama-Biden administration, in addition to nearly a dozen Biden-linked corporate entities that were registered through the law firm where Hochman spent most of his career.
TOP WHITE HOUSE AIDE WORKED AT LAW FIRM HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH CORPORATE ENTITIES TIED TO HUNTER, BIDEN FAMILY
The review found that Monzack Mersky McLaughlin and Browder had served as the registered agents for Owasco LLC, Rosemont Seneca Advisors, and Robinson Walker LLC, which is owned by Hunter’s former business partner, Rob Walker. Fox News Digital previously reported that members of the Biden family received more than $1 million in payments from accounts related to Walker’s LLC and their Chinese business ventures involving CEFC affiliate State Energy HK in 2017.
Multiple Biden family accounts, including those belonging to Hunter, Hallie Biden and an unnamed Biden, also received approximately $1.038 million from the same Walker LLC account after Bladon Enterprises, which reportedly belonged to Gabriel “Puiu” Popoviciu, a Romanian tycoon, deposited over $3 million between November 2015 to May 2017. According to a 2017 email from Walker, which was obtained by the Senate Finance Committee, Walker viewed himself as a “surrogate” for Hunter and his uncle, Jim Biden, when “gauging [business] opportunities.”
Less than six months before Hunter and his longtime business partner, Devon Archer, became board members at the Burisma energy company in Ukraine in 2014, email correspondence shows that a top aide to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, who announced this month that he was leaving the Biden administration to serve as an adviser for the Biden campaign, was telling some of his fellow State Department officials that Kerry and Hunter had a close friendship and that Hunter asked Kerry to speak to his Georgetown University grad students on March 18, 2014.
“Just spoke with Hunter Biden, good friend of S, who teaches a class at Georgetown on advocacy,” David Wade wrote. “He’d like S to speak to his class on 3/18. If S is here, he’ll for sure want to do this. Class would come here to HST.”
EMAIL REVEALS HUNTER’S COZY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIGHEST LEVELS OF OBAMA’S STATE DEPT. AS FARA ACCUSATIONS SWIRL
On the day of the class, Archer told Hunter he would send a briefing he put together on Burisma ahead of Hunter’s trip the following day to New York City to meet with him. It is unclear whether Kerry had knowledge of the conversations between Hunter and Archer about Burisma in March 2014 or in the weeks following the class.
Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, was a business partner of Hunter and Archer at the time, but he reportedly severed ties with the firm later that year. And a spokesperson attributed their Burisma board memberships as a “major catalyst for Mr. Heinz ending his business relationships with Mr. Archer and Mr. Biden.”
However, he still remained friendly with them in emails more than a year after they joined the Burisma board.
Hunter Biden and President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, served together on the board of the Truman National Security Project, a liberal foreign policy think tank, for roughly two years before Sullivan joined the president’s campaign in 2020.
Hunter, who started serving on the board in 2012, and Sullivan both served on the Washington-based nonprofit’s board between 2017 and early 2019, according to internet archives captured by Wayback Machine.
During that time, Hunter was also serving on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and the Chinese private equity fund BHR Partners. The federal investigation into Hunter’s foreign business dealings, which is still ongoing, also launched during the same time frame in 2018.
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
JAKE SULLIVAN SERVED ON A NATIONAL SECURITY BOARD WITH HUNTER BIDEN FOR 2 YEARS, RAISING QUESTIONS FROM GOP
Sullivan has been accused by former White House official Mike McCormick of being a “conspirator” in the Biden family’s “kickback scheme” in Ukraine when Biden was vice president.
Sullivan denied the allegations, telling reporters that he had nothing to do with such an operation.
White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, who led the federal COVID-19 pandemic response between early 2021 and April 2022, met Hunter multiple times in 2016, according to emails and White House visitor logs.
Zients met with Hunter Biden twice in February 2016 and on another occasion in May 2016, just months before Biden, the vice president at the time, was set to leave the White House.
Former President Biden aide Anne Marie Muldoon invited Hunter Biden to a meeting with Zients and his father in July 2016. (Fox News)
Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Joan Mayer, sent him his schedule on Feb. 12, 2016. The schedule includes a meeting with his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, Jeff Zients and David Rubenstein. (Fox News)
Biden attended the first two meetings, both of which took place at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where the vice presidential residence is located.
Hunter Biden’s business partner, Joan Meyer, sent him his schedule on Feb. 23, 2016. (Fox News)
Additionally, Anne Marie Muldoon, who was an assistant for then-Vice President Biden between 2014 and 2017, sent Hunter Biden an invitation to attend a potential fourth meeting with his father, Zients, David Bradley, a Washington, D.C.-based political consultant and chair of media group Atlantic Media, and Eric Lander at the Naval Observatory on July 12, 2016. While it is unclear whether Hunter Biden joined the meeting, Muldoon sent him a copy of the meeting agenda after it took place.
Biden’s former White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, who stepped down last year, previously served as the chief of staff for Vice President Biden until the end of January 2011. In September 2012, Klain reached out to Hunter for help in raising $20,000 for the Vice President’s Residence Foundation (VPRF), telling him to “keep this low low key” to prevent “bad PR,” according to emails Fox News Digital previously reported on.
“The tax lawyers for the VP Residence Foundation have concluded that since the Cheney folks last raised money in 2007 and not 2008, we actually have to have some incoming funds before the end of this fiscal year (i.e., before 9/30/12 – next week) to remain eligible to be a ‘public charity,'” Klain, who had left his chief of staff position in Vice President Biden’s office a year earlier but was the foundation’s chair at the time, said in an email to Hunter.
Ron Klain, former White House chief of staff (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
RON KLAIN SOLICITED MONEY FROM HUNTER BIDEN FOR VP RESIDENCE IN 2012, EMAILS SHOW: ‘KEEP THIS LOW LOW KEY’
“It’s not much – we need to raise a total of $20,000 – so I’m hitting up a few very close friends on a very confidential basis to write checks of $2,000 each,” Klain continued. “We need to keep this low low key, because raising money for the Residence now is bad PR – but it has to be done, so I’m trying to just collect the 10 checks of $2,000, get it done in a week, and then, we can do an event for the Residence Foundation after the election.”
Hunter then forwarded the email to Schwerin, who helped manage a majority of Hunter’s finances, and the two discussed donating to the foundation, though it’s not clear what was ultimately decided.
Klain’s career with Biden dates back to his failed presidential campaign in 1988 and serving as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Annie Tomasini, an assistant to the president and the current director of Oval Office operations, was in frequent communication with Hunter, referred to him as her “brother” and often ended her emails with “LY” for “love you,” according to emails dating from 2010 to 2016.
Biden publicly announced on Dec. 20, 2010, that Tomasini was stepping down to take a position with Harvard University, and Tomasini kept Hunter clued in on the details of that position before she took it, according to emails. The month prior, on Nov. 19, 2010, she forwarded information to Hunter about Harvard’s employee benefits and added, “Thanks.”
Annie Tomasini, director of Oval Office operations, left, is shown leaving the White House on May 17, 2023. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Hey – I looked at benefits[.] And they look pretty amazing. Any word on comp?” Hunter responded on Nov. 23, 2010.
“I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for looking at all the background Hunt,” Tomasini replied.
Tomasini was offered the job on Nov. 30, 2010, writing to Hunter, “Director of intergovernmental relations. > 120k ish – may be a little higher.”
She later thanked him and said she was going to tell his father the news. Months later, Hunter gave a speech at Harvard but not before running the draft by Tomasini first.
Tomasini has accompanied Biden and Hunter to Camp David on multiple occasions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a meeting with Hunter Biden at the State Department in July 2015 when he was serving as the deputy secretary of state in the Obama-Biden administration and Hunter was on Burisma’s board, according to emails previously reviewed and verified by Fox News Digital.
The meeting was two months in the making after Hunter emailed Blinken in late May 2015, asking, “Have a few minutes next week to grab a cup of coffee? I know you are impossibly busy, but would like to get your advice on a couple of things.”
Blinken said “absolutely” and Hunter forwarded Blinken’s full email response to Devon Archer, who was also serving on the Burisma board with him. However, the initial meeting appeared to have been canceled due to the admission of Hunter’s older brother, Beau Biden, to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland because of a recurrence of brain cancer. Beau died on May 30, 2015.
Antony Blinken emails with Hunter Biden on May 22, 2015. (Fox News)
Less than two months later, Blinken and Hunter met, prompting Blinken to send a follow-up email saying it was “great to see” Hunter and “catch up.”
“You will love this,” Antony Blinken wrote to Hunter Biden on July 22, 2015, “after you left, Marjorie, the wonderful african american woman who sits in my outer office (and used to be Colin Powell’s assistant) said to me: ‘He sure is pleasant on the eyes.’ Tell you wife. Tony.” (Fox News)
In April 2023, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Blinken, as President Biden’s then-campaign senior adviser, “played a role in the inception” of the public statement signed by intelligence officials to assert that Hunter’s abandoned laptop was part of a Russian disinformation campaign just weeks before the 2020 presidential election.
Blinken denied having any role in getting the letter signed by members of the intelligence community and said, “One of the great benefits of this job is that I don’t do politics and don’t engage in it. But with regard to that letter, I didn’t – it wasn’t my idea, didn’t ask for it, didn’t solicit it.”
Emails from Hunter’s laptop that Blinken allegedly sought to discredit show that Hunter had ties to Blinken and his wife, Evan Ryan, dating back more than a decade. Those emails also show that Hunter scheduled meetings with Blinken while he was on the board of Burisma and Blinken was the deputy secretary of state.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before leaving Cairo, Oct. 15, 2023, en route to Jordan. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
Multiple profile pieces over the years said Blinken has advised Biden on more than just foreign policy in his decades-long friendship with the president and serving as a confidant. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., President Biden’s reelection campaign co-chair, told CNN in 2021, “President Biden is personally close to both Tony Blinken and Evan Ryan, and Tony has been an incredibly loyal, capable and effective adviser, staffer and personal friend of the sort that is rare in Washington.”
Elizabeth Alexander, the communications director for first lady Jill Biden, also has ties to Hunter.
In 2014, Alexander, who served as Biden’s spokesperson when he was a senator and the vice president, reached out to praise Hunter for his statement after he was kicked out of the Navy Reserve for testing positive for cocaine.
“Hey Hunter – just wanted to write you a quick note to say David and I are thinking of you,” she wrote in an email. “Your statement was perfect and gracious. Sending you a virtual hug from both of us and hoping you can get some peace this weekend.”
Alexander is married to David Wade, a former State Department staffer who helped advise Hunter with rapid response as he was receiving increased public scrutiny about his lucrative position with Burisma.
Emails uncovered by Fox News Digital last year showed Hunter’s firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, was paying Wade for communications consulting, and he strategized with Hunter and his partners on how to respond to inquiries by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Wade has visited the White House at least five times during Biden’s presidency, according to visitor logs.
Evan Ryan, Blinken’s wife who is currently serving as White House cabinet secretary, communicated frequently with Hunter and his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, when she was working at the White House during the Obama-Biden administration.
Hunter tried to connect with Blinken on June 16, 2010, when he asked Ryan for his non-government email address, according to emails. Ryan, who also worked on Biden’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, then provided Blinken’s personal email address to Hunter.
It appears that Hunter Biden first tried to connect with Antony Blinken on June 16, 2010, when he asked Blinken’s wife, Evan Ryan, for his non-government email address. (Fox News)
White House visitor logs also show that Schwerin, who was the president of Hunter Biden’s investment firm Rosemont Seneca Partners for several years, met with Ryan at the White House’s Old Executive Office Building (OEOB) in October 2010.
She was also in communication with Hunter and Schwerin about a couple of White House events that year, including the Mexico state dinner and the annual Easter Egg Roll.
“OVP has 250 tix to the Easter Egg Roll and your Mom has an additional 200. Family, etc is coming out of your Mom’s allotment,” Schwerin said in the email to Hunter, referring to Blinken’s wife. “Evan is handling your Dad’s and we can pass on names to her for outreach purposes. Let’s discuss. I don’t think we have 50 spots, but if we had 20 or so names we’d probably be fine.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and wife Evan Ryan arrive for the White House state dinner for South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on April 26, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
“More importantly, OVP has 12 spots to fill for the Mexico State Dinner in May and needs to send in their names by Monday,” he continued. “Evan is looking for any suggestions. Hispanic Americans or just any outreach related suggestions. Obviously they won’t have trouble filling this number but is still looking for suggestions.”
A couple of months later, Hunter and Ryan exchanged emails about the Mexico State dinner guest list, and she sent him the seating chart for his table.
Fox News Digital previously reported several other ties between Hunter and Ryan.
Kathy Chung, who is currently serving as the Pentagon’s deputy director of protocol, communicated frequently with Hunter when she was serving as Biden’s executive assistant during the Obama administration.
Throughout much of her five-year tenure working for Biden, Chung regularly shared information with Hunter about his father’s schedule and passed messages directly from the then-vice president, according to emails.
Chung’s relationship with Hunter also appears to date back to before she worked for his father. The emails showed that Hunter recommended Chung for the executive assistant role when the previous holder of the job, Michele Smith, departed the White House in the spring of 2012.
A month after Chung thanked Hunter for “thinking” of her and getting her to apply for a job in the vice president’s office, Chung emailed Hunter Biden to inform him that she had been offered the job.
Kathy Chung informs Hunter Biden that then-Vice President Biden had selected her to be his executive assistant. (Fox News)
“I cannot thank you enough for thinking about me and walking me thru this,” she said. “What an incredible opportunity! Thanks, Hunter!!”
In another email exchange shortly after the Obama-Biden administration concluded, Hunter suggested that Chung come work at his company. It does not appear that she ever joined Hunter’s company.
Hunter Biden tells Kathy Chung she should work for him in February 2017, adding that he can “make everyone money.” (Fox News)
Chung made headlines last year after she was reportedly questioned by federal investigators as part of the probe into the president’s handling of classified documents.
Michael Donilon, a current senior adviser to Biden who served as his chief campaign strategist in 2020, was on dozens of emails with Hunter and other members of Biden’s inner circle coordinating strategy meetings throughout the 2012 campaign, mulling over a 2016 presidential bid, and later plotting Biden’s endeavors post-vice presidency.
In August 2015, Schwerin shared a Politico article with Hunter that said Donilon and a few other advisers from Biden’s inner circle, including Hunter, are the only ones “involved in the real decision-making.”
An email from February 2016 showed that Hunter, Donilon and a few others were also involved in the planning stages for the Biden Foundation. And shortly after Biden left office in 2017, Hunter, Donilon and others in his inner circle were invited to a meeting at Biden’s residence in McLean, Virginia, according to emails.
Days later, Hunter, Donilon and several others were invited to a meeting at Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home where classified documents were recently discovered. The meeting took place on Feb. 7, 2017, the same day it was announced that the former vice president would be leading the Penn Biden Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where classified documents were also found, and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.
Donilon accompanied Biden a few months ago on the trip to Ireland, which included Hunter and Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens.
Steve Ricchetti, who currently serves as Biden’s White House counselor, was also on dozens of emails with Hunter dealing with strategy meetings and helping Biden with post-VP life.
Fox News Digital reported last year that Schwerin visited the White House at least eight times in 2016, meeting with Ricchetti at least twice when he was serving as Biden’s chief of staff.
Morell, the former CIA deputy director who testified in April, said he received a call in October 2020 from Ricchetti, who was serving as the chair of Biden’s campaign at the time, following the Joe Biden’s final debate against then-President Trump, when Biden said the Hunter laptop was a “Russian plant” and a “bunch of garbage.”
Counselor to the President Steve Ricchetti (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Morell said the call from Ricchetti was to thank him for spearheading the letter signed by intelligence officials that tried to debunk the laptop.
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In addition to the aforementioned top current and former Biden officials that Hunter was in frequent contact with during the Obama administration and years following, Hunter also had frequent contact with these other Biden administration officials and aides: first lady Jill Biden’s senior adviser, Anthony Bernal; Louisa Terrell, an assistant to the president and the director of the Office of Legislative Affairs; State Department protocol officer Nancy Orloff; U.S. Representative to the European Union Mark Gitenstein; former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, among others.
The White House and Hunter Biden’s lawyer did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.