Biden critic who once worked with Hunter tells lawmakers Joe Biden was 'enabler' of son's overseas business

Tony Bobulinski testified Tuesday before the House Oversight Committee.

February 13, 2024, 5:47 PM

A onetime business associate of Hunter Biden who has become a critic of the Biden family testified before lawmakers Tuesday, reiterating claims he made during the 2020 election that Joe Biden was "an enabler" of several of his family's overseas business schemes that "sold out to foreign actors who were seeking to gain influence and access to Joe Biden and the United States government."

Tony Bobulinski appeared Tuesday before the House Oversight Committee as part of the Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

A retired Naval officer and self-described global businessman, Bobulinski briefly collaborated with Hunter Biden in 2017 on a prospective joint venture involving a Chinese energy firm. Others involved in the ill-fated plan have since described Bobulinski as a tangential figure in the negotiations.

In a prepared opening statement obtained by ABC News, Bobulinski told lawmakers Tuesday that "Biden was more than a participant in and beneficiary of his family's business; he was an enabler, despite being buffered by a complex scheme to maintain plausible deniability."

Bobulinski first came forward in October 2020 with allegations that the Biden family had lied to the public about the nature of then-candidate Joe Biden's involvement in his son's proposed overseas business ventures -- a claim promoted at the time by then-President Donald Trump and his allies.

While working on the prospective Chinese joint venture, Bobulinski was on an email chain in which business associate James Gilliar proposed a 10% cut for the "the big guy," a reference he said referred to Joe Biden, which Republicans have cited as evidence of the president's involvement in his son's overseas work.

Others who were involved in those dealings have derided Gilliar's proposition as "wishful" thinking, "ridiculous," and not serious, with Rob Walker, who was also on the email chain, testifying that nobody responded to Gilliar's proposition after he sent it. While the email chain continued, it appears there was no further discussion of the "big guy" reference.

In this April 10, 2023, file photo, President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, attend an event in Washington, D.C.
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters, FILE

Bobulinski's broader testimony about President Biden's alleged role in his son's financial endeavors conflicts with what other businessmen have told the House panel. Walker, for example, said the president "was never involved" in their business dealings.

Bobulinski's appearance before the committee marks the latest salvo in his pitched battle with the Bidens. Last year, attorneys for Hunter Biden urged the Justice Department to investigate Bobulinski over claims that he lied to federal investigators during an interview in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

In his opening statement on Tuesday, Bobulinski called those allegations "laughable."

Several Democrats leaving Bobulinski's closed-door appearance Tuesday blasted his testimony.

"He literally accused just about everyone else of lying, but claimed that he is the only one who was telling the truth," said Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y. "That includes his business partners, that includes The Wall Street Journal, that includes FBI agents, that includes a laundry list of people. This is a witness that not only has no credibility, but even when he's trying to fabricate the story does not have any factual evidence to support it."

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misidentified the author of the email that referred to "the big guy." The error has been corrected.