Recently uncovered emails from 2014 show that the Obama administration was in a panicked scramble to respond to the news that Hunter Biden had joined the board of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings Ltd, according to a Fox News report.
The messages also reveal that Biden should have -- but did not -- formally register himself with the federal government as an agent representing the interests of a foreign entity under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
That Fox News report referenced a Politico article from days earlier about how then-Vice President Joe Biden's aides were "blindsided" and "scrambling to respond in 2014 to ethics questions" and "political blowback" with regard to Hunter joining the Burisma board.
That and other revelations came from a tranche of emails released by the National Archives in response to a lawsuit from America First Legal, and they also show that the then-vice president's staffers turned to Hunter himself to help craft and approve of the administration's public response to inquiries from both domestic and foreign media.
The outlet further suggested that the emails show that the current administration will likely continue to try and portray the president's son as an unaffiliated "third party" to distance his actions from his father, which may become more evident as more tranches of emails are released by the National Archives in response to the lawsuit in the coming months.
America First Legal shared in a March 2 press release some of the 2014 emails it had received from the National Archives that it claims prove that Hunter Biden should have registered himself as a "foreign agent" under FARA due to his admitted role as an advisor and board member for Ukraine's Burisma.
The Obama administration's scramble to respond, which involved high-ranking officials in the State Department and the vice president's office, appears to have been kicked off by an inquiry from a Buzzfeed reporter about the "fairly glaring conflict of interest" in light of then-VP Biden's role as head of the admin's Ukraine policy, not to mention that Burisma itself was controlled by a sanctioned former Ukrainian official, Nikolai Zlochevsky.
That and other inquiries prompted a series of concerned messages among various officials as they figured out how best to respond, which ultimately proved to be a statement crafted from Hunter's own explanations -- which was then run by him for his approval -- that predictably downplayed and dismissed the legitimate concerns.
"This first set of alarming documents received as a result of AFL’s litigation contains a number of important revelations about the Biden family’s business dealings, including then Vice President Biden’s use of a personal email address for government business, ethical red-flags about the Biden family’s conduct being ignored, and the use of official government resources to manage public relations regarding Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealing scheme," AFL President Stephen Miller said in a statement.
"Clearly, this is the tip of a very large iceberg -- with more records to come -- and AFL is committed to uncovering the Biden family influence peddling and corruption," Miller added. "We urge Congress to continue its important investigations into this situation, and we also urge the DOJ to cease its partisanship and to open a formal investigation into the Biden family’s public corruption and illicit foreign dealings."
Just one day later, the New York Post reported on the contents of the newly released emails as well as that America First Legal had filed a formal complaint with the Justice Department over the apparent failure of Hunter Biden to register as a foreign agent under the FARA law.
The five-page complaint cited extensively from the FARA law's requirements and compared that with the emails to lay out the clear evidence-based case that Hunter, in addition to being employed by and representative of Burisma's interests, "failed to register as a foreign agent under FARA given his role in advising the Office of Vice President Biden in responding to media inquiries about Burisma."
"Leftist prosecutors gave Paul Manafort the functional equivalent of a life sentence for providing real counsel to the Ukrainian government based on decades of experience as a top political adviser," Miller told the Post in reference to former Trump adviser Manafort. "Hunter Biden was acting as a foreign agent, peddling his family name, with no legitimate experience whatsoever, and yet DOJ apparently couldn’t care less."
"Corruption piled on top of corruption. The documents we obtained from the National Archives make clear that Hunter violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act and therefore must be held fully accountable under the law," Miller added. "America First Legal has filed a formal FARA complaint with DOJ to initiate that process. It is also essential that DOJ investigate Joe Biden’s collusive scheme with his son and the pay-for-play scandals that have enriched the Biden family."