Witnesses whom lawmakers plan to question as part of the Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden in the coming weeks were once some of the associates most intimately familiar with the Biden family’s business affairs.
Some of them had well-documented firsthand involvement in business ventures with the Bidens, and two had what records suggest were falling outs with the president’s son Hunter Biden.
The former associates include Tony Bobulinski, Eric Schwerin, and Rob Walker. Hunter Biden himself is also scheduled to testify at the end of February, and an interview with the president’s brother James Biden is in the works, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The former associates are positioned to deliver to Republicans what could be the most directly relevant testimony to the impeachment inquiry yet after several past witnesses provided material that was informative but that lacked evidence of impeachable offenses.
Lawmakers, for example, interviewed bankruptcy trustee Carol Fox and art gallerist George Berges. Both had knowledge of only narrow aspects of the Bidens’ lives: shady dealings that James Biden engaged in with a healthcare company and the terms of Hunter Biden’s art sales, respectively, according to sources and a transcript review.
Lawmakers also recently interviewed entertainment lawyer Kevin Morris, who expressed that he was a close friend of Hunter Biden’s and loaned the first son $5 million when Hunter Biden was in financial hot water, according to those who participated in the interview.
But Bobulinski, who has already voluntarily interviewed with the FBI about the Bidens, could end up being a far more hostile witness for the first family — and Hunter Biden in particular.
Bobulinski worked with Hunter and James Biden on a deal with a Chinese energy company in 2017 but was shut out of the operation, according to text messages Hunter Biden wrote that were obtained by the House Ways and Means Committee.
The messages revealed that the first son became furious with Bobulinski, blasting him as a “one man wrecking ball” and a “bully with an inferiority complex.”
Bobulinski, who Democrats have sought to discredit as a disgruntled business partner with a checkered past, indicated to the FBI in 2020 that Joe Biden was personally involved in the venture with the Chinese company, according to FBI notes the committee obtained.
Schwerin, for his part, worked closely with the Bidens for two decades and became managing partner of Rosemont Seneca Partners, a company founded by Hunter Biden. Schwerin also served as Joe Biden’s financial adviser, exchanged dozens of emails with him, and visited the White House, all while Joe Biden was vice president.
Oversight Committee ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said after lawmakers initially talked to Schwerin last year that Schwerin “told Committee staff he was not aware of any involvement by President Biden in the financial conduct of the President’s relatives’ businesses.”
While that suggests the possibility that a long-form closed-door interview with Schwerin might not be fruitful for Republicans, unlike a witness like Morris, Schwerin has little incentive to protect the Bidens and Hunter Biden specifically.
The pair had an apparent falling out around 2019, according to text messages Hunter Biden wrote about Schwerin in which the first son lamented that Schwerin had been holding hundreds of thousands of dollars of money over him “without any merit” for three years.
As for Walker, Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) found through bank record subpoenas that Walker had wired four Biden family members incremental payments amounting to more than $1.3 million after doing business with the aforementioned Chinese energy company.
Comer said last year upon revealing that news that Walker had become a “key witness” and that his committee had “many questions” for him.
“When speaking about dealings with the Biden family, Rob Walker once said that exposing him would ‘bury all of us, man.’ Why? The Oversight Committee has many questions for Rob Walker and we look forward to getting answers for the American people,” Comer said.
Walker is set to appear next week, Schwerin’s interview is scheduled for the following week, and Bobulinski’s is scheduled for the week of Feb. 5.