Hunter Biden would call his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, on speakerphone for meetings with business associates overseas, according to expected congressional testimony this week from Devon Archer, the first son’s former best friend.
Archer, 48, who faces prison for his role in a $60 million bail bond fraud, is scheduled to testify to the House Oversight Committee about the meetings he witnessed Joe Biden attended in person or on speakerphone when Hunter called his father and introduced him to foreign business partners or potential investors.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from Devon Archer about all the times he’s witnessed Joe Biden meeting with Hunter Biden’s foreign business partners when he was vice president, including on speakerphone,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the committee’s chairman.
One such meeting took place in Dubai on the evening of Friday, December 4, 2015, after a board meeting of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which paid Hunter $83,000 a month as a director.
Archer, who was also a director, is expected to testify that after dining with Burisma’s board at the Burj Al Arab hotel, he and Hunter traveled six miles north to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai on Jumeirah Beach for drinks with one of Hunter’s friends.
While they were sitting at the bar, Vadym Pozharskyi, a senior Burisma executive, called to ask where they were because Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, needed to speak to Hunter urgently.
“Can you call your father?”
Soon after, the two Ukrainians joined Hunter and Archer at the Four Seasons bar, and Pozharskyi asked Hunter, “Can you call your father?” It was then early Friday afternoon in Washington, DC.
Hunter then called his father, put him on speaker, placed the phone on the table, and introduced the Ukrainians to Joe Biden as “Nikolai and Vadym.”
He also said words to the effect that the elders of Burisma “need our support”.
Vice President Biden greeted the Ukrainians but spoke only in vague terms during the short call, and in other such interactions with Hunter’s foreign business partners, Archer is expected to testify.
Congressional investigators are expected to look into why Zlochevsky requested the emergency phone call with Joe Biden.
They’ll note the context, that three days after the speakerphone call, the then-Vice President, who was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine, was scheduled to fly to Kiev to address the Ukrainian parliament, known as the “Rada,” on December 9, 2015, about the “poison of cronyism, corruption and kleptocracy.”
Ten weeks before the call, on September 24, 2015, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt had given a speech on corruption in Odessa, in which he targeted Zlochevsky by name.
Then the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Viktor Shokin was investigating Burisma for corruption and, within two months, on February 2, 2016, it would seize four houses in Kiev, two plots of land and a Rolls Royce from Zlochevsky, who was living in exile in Dubai.
A month later, Shokin was fired, after Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US aid to Ukraine.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor isn’t fired, you don’t get the money,” Biden would brag to the Council on Foreign Relations. “Well, son of a bitch. He was fired.”
As the Shokin probe gathered pace in late 2015, Pozharskyi increased the pressure on Hunter, the emails from Hunter’s laptop program.
In an email to Hunter and Archer on November 2, 2015, a month before the speakerphone call, Pozharskyi explicitly demanded that they use their influence to “shut down” the criminal investigation against Burisma.
Archer is also expected to detail other speakerphone meetings in his testimony, including a dinner at a Paris restaurant where Hunter pulled out his phone and put his father on speakerphone to impress potential investors.
Sonny’s party trick
Hunter pulled the same party trick up to two dozen times in Archer’s presence, the Long Island-born father of three is expected to tell congressional investigators under oath.
Another former business partner, Tony Bobulinskirecalls Hunter offering to call his father on the phone during a poolside meeting at LA’s Chateau Marmont.
“I am also aware of other business associates of the Biden family who confirm that Joe would receive phone calls from Hunter in the middle of business meetings and intervene on speakerphone,” Bobulinski says.
“Sitting down with Hunter at Chateau Marmont before meeting Joe Biden for the first time on May 2, 2017, Hunter was adamant that his father would take his calls at any time, regardless of what his lawyers say or with guardians like Kate Bedingfield. [former Biden spokesperson] playing interference.
“The American people still don’t fully appreciate the key role that Joe Biden played in the global influence peddling of the Biden family. . . . I would liken it to the role of a president in a traditional business structure.”
Bobulinski met with Joe twice in LA in 2017, to be scrutinized as the CEO of a joint venture Hunter and his uncle Jim Biden were planning with the Chinese energy company CEFC, which would end up making them millions of dollars for no discernible product or service.
The two meetings at the Beverly Hilton were in May 2017, four months after Joe stepped down as vice president.
Archer declined to comment yesterday, but a close aide said he is testifying because he believes it is his “civic duty.”
He has “nothing to hide, no revenge to enact, no one to protect but his family, and he feels that he has been handcuffed by false absurdity. [fraud] case to remain silent. In a forum where he has immunity, he can at least start telling the truth.”
Since news broke that Archer would testify before the Republican-controlled committee, his family has received death threats and warnings to “keep your mouth shut.”
During about a quarter of the speakerphone calls Archer witnessed, Hunter introduced his father to the foreigners he was dealing with.
But at other times he would just talk to Joe without acknowledging that other people were listening, so it’s unclear how often Vice President Biden was aware that his son was using him as leverage.
Hunter told CBS News in 2021 that he talked to his father “every night.”
DC Business Dinner
Archer is also expected to testify about two dinners Hunter arranged for his vice president father to meet business partners of Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in a private room at the Georgetown restaurant Café Milano, once in April 2015 and again in early 2016.
Burisma executive Pozharskyi attended the first dinner, on April 16, 2015, along with Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov.
The next day, Hunter received an email from Pozharskyi to thank him for introducing him to his father.
“Dear Hunter, Thank you for inviting me to DC and giving me the opportunity to meet your father and spend [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote. “It’s real [sic] an honor and a pleasure”.
Joe Biden has repeatedly said he knew nothing about his son Hunter’s business dealings abroad.
A bombshell FBI document released last week by Sen. Chuck Grassley described an allegation that Zlochevsky told an FBI informant in 2016 that he had paid a $10 million bribe to Joe and Hunter Biden “To ensure that the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, was fired.”
Zlochevsky also claimed to have two recordings of conversations that included Joe Biden and 15 other recordings involving Hunter, as well as “numerous text messages” and two documents that the informant “understood to be wire transfer statements, bank records” that record “payments were made to the Bidens, presumably in exchange for Shokin’s firing.”
In the FBI document, known as FD-1023, Zlochevsky is quoted as calling Joe Biden “the big one.”
Archer is expected to state this “big guy” was a nickname used by Hunter’s business partners to refer to his father. Bobulinski also says Joe Biden is the “big guy.”
In a notorious 2017 email to Hunter and Bobulinski, their business partner James Gilliar described the equity percentage breakdown of a joint venture with Chinese firm CEFC, with “10 held by H for the big one?”
The identity of the “big man” was also part of the grand jury’s investigation in Wilmington, Del., into Hunter’s business dealings.