James Biden Denies President Involved in Business Dealings in Deposition as Impeachment Inquiry Hits Snag

‘I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else.’
James Biden Denies President Involved in Business Dealings in Deposition as Impeachment Inquiry Hits Snag
James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, with his attorney Paul Fishman (L), arrives for a deposition before the House Judiciary Committee on President Biden's impeachment inquiry in Washington on Feb. 21, 2024. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Joseph Lord

Businessman James Biden, younger brother of President Joe Biden, said on Feb. 21 in a closed-door deposition to House impeachment investigators that the president wasn’t involved in his business dealings.

The deposition comes at a critical moment for House Republicans’ Biden impeachment inquiry after a key witness in the probe was charged by the special counsel with lying about the alleged role of the president and his son Hunter Biden in the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Mr. Biden, 74, delivered the remarks to the House Judiciary Committee, which is assisting in an impeachment inquiry into the president.

The GOP has alleged in past findings that the president’s brother benefited from Hunter Biden’s business dealings, making about $360,000 on at least one known occasion. The finding came as part of a larger GOP-led investigation into allegations of influence peddling by the first family, and potentially by the president himself.

But during his opening remarks to the panel, Mr. Biden insisted that over the course of his decades-long career, President Biden had never been involved.

“I have had a 50-year career in a variety of business ventures,” Mr. Biden said in remarks obtained by Fox News. “Joe Biden has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest in those activities. None.”

Mr. Biden told the panel that he had never sought to involve his brother in his business dealings because of his brother’s “personal integrity and character” and his own “strong ethics.”

“I never asked my brother to take any official action on behalf of me, my business associates, or anyone else,” Mr. Biden said. “In every business venture in which I have been involved, I have relied on my own talent, judgment, skill, and personal relationships—and never my status as Joe Biden’s brother. Those who have said or thought otherwise were either mistaken, ill-informed, or flat-out lying.”

Concluding his opening remarks, Mr. Biden said: “It is difficult to open my personal and professional life to such intense public scrutiny, but I am doing so to comply with the committees’ inquiry. I have nothing to hide.

“With my appearance here today, the committees will have the information to conclude that the negative and destructive assumptions about me and my relationship with my brother Joe are wrong.”

Mr. Biden also called on Republicans to close the impeachment inquiry into his brother, saying, “There is no basis for this inquiry to continue.”

Republicans leaving the hearing didn’t go into much depth about what they discovered but suggested that they found Mr. Biden’s answers lacking.

A reporter asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) whether he thought Mr. Biden was lying about the president’s involvement in his business.

“He certainly said some things that make you wonder if he’s maybe conveniently forgetting something,“ Mr. Jordan said, though he didn’t elucidate. “Some of the answers we got just don’t make a whole lot of sense.”

The sentiment was repeated by Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) as he left the meeting.

“Is [James Biden] answering questions in good faith?” a reporter asked the South Carolina Republican.

“Eh,” Mr. Timmons replied. “He’s answering questions.”

Inquiry in Doubt

Mr. Biden’s deposition comes as the fate of the inquiry is dubious after bombshell allegations about a document used as a predication for the investigation.

House Republicans voted in December 2023 to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry after months of investigations by Republicans who alleged that President Biden and his family personally profited from policy decisions he made as vice president during President Barack Obama’s administration.

It formalized the inquiry, which had already been underway for months after then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unilaterally authorized it without a full vote of the House.

Part of the basis of starting that inquiry nearly a year ago was a document from an FBI informant claiming that the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings hired Hunter Biden as a board member to “protect” the company, “through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and that Burisma gave $5 million to each of the Bidens.

This information, contained on a classified disclosure, came from Alexander Smirnov, an FBI informant who had until then been known and credible to the agency.

Republicans insisted that the document was legitimate and its source trustworthy.

That fell apart in mid-February after Mr. Smirnov was arrested and charged for providing “false information” on the Bidens’ Ukraine dealings. There were also allegations that Russian agents were been involved.

Republicans leading the inquiry have downplayed the relevance of these allegations.

But for House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), they mark the unofficial end of the inquiry.

“The impeachment investigation essentially ended yesterday in substance if not informed with the explosive revelation that Mr. Smirnoff’s allegations about the Ukrainian Burisma payments to Joe Biden were concocted along with Russian intelligence agents,” Mr. Raskin told reporters.

Mr. Raskin also said of the deposition, “[Panelists] have heard nothing indicating that Joe Biden had anything to do with the business ventures of Hunter Biden, or James Biden, and nothing has contradicted that basic understanding that we’ve had for many, many months now.”

The transcript of Mr. Biden’s closed-door hearing can be expected to be released to the public in the coming weeks.