by John Solomon and Steven Richards
Adorned with the Queen Anne-era of grand architecture and tightly guarded by Secret Service agents, the 9,000-square foot vice president’s mansion on the U.S. Naval Observatory grounds is rarely accessible to everyday Americans. But Hunter Biden – as the son of a sitting vice president – was able to score the sort of VIP meeting inside the mansion that most lobbyists could only dream of.
There in 2015, the future first son delivered face time between then-Vice President Joe Biden, his fellow business partner and Burisma board member Devon Archer and an international banker they were courting for business in Kazakhstan.
The meeting – recently divulged by Archer in congressional testimony – is one of several that Hunter Biden arranged that delivered direct access for business partners to his powerful father. Some occurred on phone calls; others at the swanky Cafe Milano restaurant in Washington D.C. But this one – in the personal residence of the vice president – is taking on more significance for House investigators for the specificity of the conversation and the secretive nature of the gathering.
The official entry logs released by the Obama administration do not show businessman/banker Marc Holtzman, Archer or Hunter Biden attending together at the Naval Observatory in 2015.
But Archer confirmed the meeting occurred, and detailed the nature of the conversation: Holtzman wanted to advocate for former Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Massimov – today imprisoned in his country on treason charges — to become the next United Nations Secretary General.
Hunter Biden and Archer hoped Holtzman – then the top official at Kazakhstan’s largest bank – could help deliver an energy deal for their Burisma client in Ukraine with Kazakhstan. Joe Biden was in a position to influence both.
“It was, like, a U.N.-related conversation,” Archer told congressional investigators about the Naval Observatory breakfast.
“Who was present?,” he was asked.
“A gentleman named Marc Holtzman, myself, Hunter, and the Vice President,” he answered.
“And what was the discussion about?” investigators pressed.
“It was about who was going to be the next U.N. Secretary-General … Marc Holtzman was lobbying for Karim Massimov. But it was, obviously, that didn’t happen.”
You can read the full account here.
Archer would go on to explain that Hunter Biden and he were interested in Massimov for another motive: trying to score a deal between Kazakhstan and Burisma known as the “Burisma Eurasia” deal.
“The other reasons for Massimov were Burisma Eurasia, because he was the Prime Minister, and Burisma was trying to expand its businesses, so I leveraged the relationship to introduce him to the company – the country and new equipment and technology and clean drilling. So that was – that was probably some of the effort.”
Emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop chronicle some of the dealings with Holtzman, Massimov and other figures in Kazakhstan and Ukraine – including an effort to get someone in Joe Biden’s orbit to sign a letter congratulating the Kazakh banker. Holtzman did not respond Wednesday to a request by email from Just the News for comment.
The Kazakh deal was one of many being pursued in the Biden family empire that spanned from Mexico to Moscow, and Ukraine to China. Some of those figures like Massimov, a Romanian oligarch and Burisma’s owners were controversial or had legal issues, none of which stopped Hunter Biden or his family from seeking to cash in.
But for investigators on the House Oversight Committee the Naval Observatory meeting has additional significance: It directly debunks a narrative crafted by Democrats like Rep. Dan Goldman of New York and parroted by The Washington Post fact-checker, namely, that Joe Biden wasn’t really engaged on specifics of what his son’s clients were seeking and that Hunter was really just selling the “illusion of access” to his father.
The Naval Observatory meeting is “far more than an illusion of access. That has full blown access and participation by then Vice President Joe Biden,” Rep. Marjorie Greene, R-Ga., told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show on Wednesday night.
“The American people need to know about all of this. And that’s what our impeachment inquiry will produce – the evidence …. This is exactly why we are leading the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden, because he has participated at the highest level in his son Hunter Biden’s business deals, and we’re going to show that to the country,” Green continued.
Archer told Congress that Joe Biden had about 20 telephone calls with his son’s business partners – mostly just “small talk” – and at least two dinners and a breakfast. Such contacts, Archer testified, reinforced the idea that hiring Hunter Biden came with a larger brand that included Joe Biden.
Oversight Chairman James Comer has assembled evidence of more than a dozen instances where Joe Biden met or assisted Hunter Biden’s business associates, including:
- In December 2013, Joe Biden let Hunter fly on Air Force II to Beijing, where he scored one of his first business deals in China. Joe Biden had coffee with Hunter Biden’s Chinese business associate, Jonathan Li, in Beijing and wrote a college letter of recommendation for his daughter.
- In April 2014, Joe Biden dined with several Hunter Biden business associates in April 2014 at the Café Milano, including Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina.
- In April 2015, Joe Biden dined with Hunter Biden’s guests, including top Burisma executive Vadym Pozharsky at the Café Milano restaurant.
- In a September 21, 2017, email, Hunter Biden wrote that Joe Biden is his business partner and provided Joe Biden’s personal cell phone if the recipient sought confirmation. Emails also show that Hunter Biden, CEFC Energy officials, and Joe Biden would share offices under the Hudson West/CEFC/Biden Foundation name.
- In a 2020 FBI interview, Biden business associate Rob Walker told agents Joe Biden attended a meeting with a meeting with Chinese officials at CEFC, one of his son’s clients.
- In February 2014, Joe Biden reportedly met with two of Hunter’s Mexican business associates at the White House.
- In February 2016, then-Vice President Biden allowed his son and Biden associate, Jeffrey Cooper, to fly to Mexico on Air Force 2 to meet with business partners
Emails gathered by Congress chronicle the courtship that Archer and Hunter Biden directed at Holtzman, a respected former Reagan-era official then running Kazakhstan’s largest bank.
For instance in February, Archer pressed Hunter Biden to see if he could arrange a congratulatory letter to Holtzman from someone in Joe Biden’s office recognizing Holtzman’s appointment as chairman of the Kazakh bank.
“Just following up on this,” Archer wrote Hunter Biden on Valentine’s Day 2015. “Is there a chance we can get this letter from someone in your guys office. Let’s discuss importance.”
Hunter Biden wrote back: “Lets discuss.”
You can read that email chain here.
Congressional investigators are trying to determine if such a letter was penned. But within weeks, the two sides were meeting for dinner, the emails show.
“Deer [sic] Hunter, Thank you for an amazing evening, wonderful company and great conversation,” Holtzman wrote the future first son in an April 2015 email. “I look forward to seeing you soon and to many opportunities to work closely together. Under separate cover, I will send all of my contact details. With my friendship and warmest personal regards. Sincerely, Marc.”
By July 2015, the talks with Massimov and others had advanced to a possible deal – a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU – with Burisma and one of Kazakhstan’s largest energy companies.
Pozkarsky pressed Archer in an email to find out what happened to a letter “you’ve handed to the Kazakh PM during your last meeting in Washington DC. it would be good to receive the official answer on that,” he wrote.
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John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist, author and digital media entrepreneur who serves as Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief of Just the News. Steven Richards is a freelance investigative researcher for Just the News who previously worked for the Government Accountability Institute.
Photo “Hunter and Joe Biden” by Louise Palanker. CC BY-SA 2.0.