Republican members of the House of Representatives demanded information related to the finances of Hunter Biden and other members of the president's family in letters Wednesday to more than a dozen banks and the U.S. Treasury Department.
The letters, sent by House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, appear to provide the underpinnings for probes the committee would pursue if Republicans take control of the House following November's elections.
"We are investigating the domestic and international business dealings of President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and other Biden associates and family members to determine whether these activities compromise U.S. national security and President Biden's ability to lead with impartiality," Comer wrote in the letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and 13 banks and financial institutions.
Comer requested records related to potential suspicious activity reports for the Bidens, their business partners or their businesses. Suspicious activity reports are filed by financial institutions when clients make large cash transactions or transfers that could signal criminal activity, such as tax evasion or money laundering. Under previous administrations, members of Congress could request copies of these reports by the Treasury Department, but that access has been restricted by the Biden administration. Congressional staffers can now only review those records in-person and cannot make copies.
"The Biden Administration's policy change raises troubling questions about the Administration's efforts to shield Hunter Biden from congressional oversight," Comer wrote.
A spokesperson for the Treasury said in a statement to CBS News that the department provides suspicious activity reports "to Congress in a manner that enables robust oversight and that is consistent with how other sensitive law enforcement information is produced."
"Treasury has made SARs available for every request we've received," the spokesperson said.
Comer's letter citedthat more than 150 financial transactions involving the global business affairs of either Hunter or the president's brother James Biden were flagged as concerning by U.S. banks for further review. Large wire transfers were among the transactions flagged.
Comer said in an interview with CBS News that he believes some accounts "could have been intermingled with Joe Biden."
"So there are a lot of instances here where there's serious concerns about Joe Biden's relationship with Hunter. And is this relationship compromising decisions that President Biden's making?" Comer said.
Comer requested in his letter all suspicious activity reports generated in connection with Hunter, other members of the Biden family, and their associates. He also requested all documents and communications related to the Biden administration's decision to restrict Congress' access to suspicious activity reports.
Federal officials have confirmed that Hunter Biden is the focus of an ongoing investigation out of the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware. The probe is centered on tax and other financial issues. A 2019 federal subpoena obtained by CBS News shows the criminal probe in Delaware has sought Hunter and James Biden's bank records dating back to 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president.
Hunter Biden has not been charged with any crimes. Hunter Biden's attorney has not responded to calls and emails from CBS News.
Even if the U.S. attorney were to indict or reach a plea deal, Comer told CBS News that he would still pursue a congressional investigation if the house flips.
"We will (investigate) because it's my understanding that what Delaware is looking into is tax evasion, particularly around the Burisma deal in Ukraine. What we have concerns about is the relationship with the Russian oligarch," Comer said. "We have concerns with the relationship with the Chinese Communist Party on another energy deal."
President Biden has said he was not involved in the business dealings of his son and brother, and there has been no evidence that has emerged to refute this.
"I have not taken a penny from any foreign source, ever, in my life," Mr. Biden said in October 2020 at a presidential debate.
Comer said his team is also vetting what they say is a copy of Hunter Biden's laptop hard drive, adding they have not seen evidence so far that it was tampered with.
In response to a recent CBS News report thathas recruited a team of more than 30 attorneys and investigators to probe the backstory of the laptop and counter political attacks against the younger Biden, Comer questioned the arrangement.
"I think there's no question, if it's an ethics violation, what we would like to know is what kind of deal does this lawyer have with Hunter Biden?" Comer said. "Is he just a simply a fan of the Biden administration ... or does he think they're in some way, shape or form, he or his law firm is going to benefit financially from that?"
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