Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) publicly released a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland questioning contradictory claims by the Department of Justice (DOJ) about Hunter Biden’s connection to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests.
The son of President Joe Biden has been in the spotlight since the 2020 election, when a laptop recovered at a computer repair shop revealed distasteful information about the private life and business dealings of Hunter Biden.
However, Hunter Biden was in the crosshairs of the DOJ long before the 2020 presidential election: In a 2018 court filing, the DOJ expressed its intention to gather information under the standards set out in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on one of Hunter Biden’s many foreign business associates, Chi-Ping “Patrick” Ho (pdf), who is associated with CCP intelligence services.
The DOJ’s request to gather this information was approved by a federal court.
In Dec. 2017, Ho was charged with international bribery and money laundering for the China Energy Fund Committee, a subsidiary of one of China’s largest corporations, which itself has extensive links to the CCP. Ho was a top executive at the firm.
In March of this year, Grassley and Johnson submitted a request to the DOJ, now led by Biden-appointed Garland, asking for information related to investigations concerning Hunter Biden’s foreign relationships.
Following that request, the DOJ sent a belated reply to the senators in July, telling them that the DOJ is “not in a position to confirm the existence of the information that is sought” (pdf).
Now, Grassley and Johnson are asking the DOJ to reconcile these conflicting claims.
“Based on the extensive relationships between and among Hunter Biden and individuals connected to the communist Chinese regime, our letter requested ‘all intelligence records, including but not limited to, all Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act-derived information,'” wrote the senators.
“Our request was based, in part, on reporting and a federal court filing by the Department that said it had obtained at least one Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant relating to Patrick Ho, indicating his potential counterintelligence threat to the United States,” the letter added.
The senators then cited the DOJ’s own words from its 2018 filing, which reads in part, “The United States intends to offer into evidence, or otherwise use or disclose in any proceedings in the above-captioned matter, information obtained or derived from electronic surveillance and physical search conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”
“Despite this sworn acknowledgement by the Department you oversee, your July 12, 2021, response to our letter denied knowing whether the Department even possessed the information,” Grassley and Johnson continued.
The duo then blasted the DOJ for the apparent contradiction.
“Both statements cannot be true. Either the statement in your July 12, 2021, letter is true—that the Department is unaware of whether it possesses the relevant material—or the Department’s February 8, 2018, statement to federal court that the Department is aware of the fact that it possesses the relevant material is true,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “Therefore, one statement is false.”
To reconcile this inconsistency, Grassley and Johnson have demanded an official DOJ response to their letter by no later than Nov. 22 and for the DOJ to “either amend [its] July 12, 2021, letter to correct the inaccurate statement or confirm in writing that the Department’s February 8, 2018, court filing stating that the Department possesses FISA-related information on Patrick Ho was an inaccurate statement to federal court.”
Thus far, the DOJ has not publicly responded to Grassley’s and Johnson’s allegations in the letter.
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for a comment on the letter.