Empty Seat: Hunter Biden Missed Father’s Campaign Launch After Breitbart News Investigation Into Crack Pipe Found in His Rental Car

Vice President Joe Biden, center, approaches a hearse carrying a casket containing the remains of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, funeral service, Saturday, June 6, 2015, at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del. Walking alongside the vice president are his son Hunter, from …
AP/Patrick Semansky

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden missed his father’s big campaign launch rally despite having planned to be there in Philadelphia for it because of a Breitbart News investigation published the day before on police documents that named him as a suspect in narcotics probe in Arizona, the New Yorker reports.

“On May 17th, the day before Hunter planned to appear at one of his father’s rallies, at Eakins Oval, in Philadelphia, Breitbart News published a story based on a Prescott, Arizona, police report from 2016 that named Hunter as the suspect in a possible narcotics offense,” the New Yorker’s Adam Entous wrote in a deep-dive piece about the political liabilities Hunter Biden causes his father, a piece for which Hunter Biden cooperated.

Hunter Biden, according to Entous, called off going to the rally after the Breitbart News investigation and attendant allegations were published–and the campaign left his seat at the event empty, with a sign saying it was “reserved” hanging on the chair.

“Onstage at the rally, Jill Biden introduced her husband,” Entous wrote. “‘The Biden family is ready,’ she said. ‘We will do this as we always have—as a family.’ Seated in white chairs to the side of the stage were Ashley Biden, Hunter’s half sister; Ashley’s husband, Howard Krein; Beau’s children, Natalie and Robert Hunter; Hunter’s three daughters, Maisy, Finnegan, and Naomi; and Naomi’s boyfriend, Peter. The last seat in the row, with a piece of paper on it that said ‘Reserved,’ remained empty.”

Entous wrote that Hunter Biden was concerned his presence at the rally, in the immediate aftermath of the Breitbart News investigation, would cause his father political problems.

“In one of my early conversations with Hunter, he told me about his sadness at having missed his father’s event,” Entous wrote. “‘Beau and I have been there since we were carried in baskets during his first campaign,’ he said. ‘We went everywhere with him. At every single major event and every small event that had to do with his political career, I was there. I’ve never missed a rally for my dad. The notion that I’m not standing next to him in Philadelphia, next to the Rocky statue, it’s heartbreaking for me. It’s killing me and it’s killing him. Dad says, ‘Be here.’ Mom says, ‘Be here.’ But at what cost?'”

Entous wrote that part of the reason why Hunter Biden was speaking to him about this story was because he wanted to frame the narrative and dump all the news out now–get ahead of the story, so to speak–rather than let his critics frame the narrative.

“Hunter speaks in the warm, circuitous style of his father,” Entous wrote. “Through weeks of conversations, he became increasingly open about his setbacks, aware that many of the stories that he told me would otherwise emerge, likely in a distorted form, in Breitbart or on ‘Hannity.’ He wanted to protect his father from a trickle of disclosures, and to share a personal narrative that he sees no reason to hide.”

Hunter Biden, in a quote, framed himself as a victim of “pain” and “trauma,” fighting addiction like so many Americans are nationwide.

“Look, everybody faces pain,” Hunter Biden said. “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”

Hunter Biden has had drug problems for many years. In 2014, he was dishonorably discharged from the military after failing a drug test. Beau’s 2015 death hit Hunter–and the Biden family as a whole–hard. Then, when Hunter Biden in 2016 was over in Europe for work related to his dealings with Ukraine, he was in a nightclub and allegedly used cocaine again.

“In 2016, Hunter was consulting for five or six major clients,” Entous writes. “Once or twice a year, he attended Burisma board meetings and energy forums that took place in Europe. He said that, in June, 2016, while in Monte Carlo for a meeting, he went to a hotel night club and used cocaine that a stranger offered him in the bathroom.”

Then later in 2016, Hunter Biden had another major problem with crack in the American southwest in Los Angeles and Arizona. As Breitbart News had reported in May, based on the police documents from the October 2016 incident, police conducted a months-long investigation into this matter:

Breitbart News has exclusively obtained a heretofore unreported-on police report from days before the 2016 presidential election that describes how a cocaine pipe that authorities determined was used to smoke cocaine was found in a rental car returned to an Arizona Hertz location in the middle of the night. Also found in the vehicle were several personal effects of Hunter Biden, then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son, like two of his DC driver’s licenses, multiple credit cards, and personally identifying information like a Delaware Attorney General badge and a U.S. Secret Service business card that police said bore his name. Hunter Biden, according to the police report, had rented the vehicle from a location in California with the intent to return it to the Prescott, Arizona, location, where it was discovered the morning after it was dropped off with the drug paraphernalia and Hunter Biden’s personal effects inside.

Instead of returning the car keys to the drop box where after-hours returns are supposed to go, the car was returned—according to the police report—with the keys left in the gas tank compartment of the vehicle. Also found inside the vehicle, per the police report, were two drivers’ licenses both bearing Hunter Biden’s legal name Robert Biden, as well as “some credit cards with the same name,” “a secret service business card,” and an “Attorney General’s badge” all contained inside a wallet that Hertz rental employees discovered—along with a pipe that Hertz employees thought and police later confirmed was used to smoke illicit drugs, as well as “a white powdery substance in the arm rest of the vehicle.”

The next morning, according to the police report, a man who identified himself as “Joseph McGee” called the Hertz rental car counter to inform them of how the keys to the car were left in the vehicle’s gas cap rather than in the normal spot. “McGee” informed the rental car company employee, according to police, that “his friend was feeling sick so they didn’t know what to do” when the car was returned. Police, according to a supplemental report filed by a Prescott Police Department detective, sought and obtained a subpoena to discover the source of the “Joseph McGee” phone call—and traced it to a phone number owned and operated by a renowned “Colon Hydrotherapist” in the region.

Police attempted to find and interview “Joseph McGee,” but were unable to–and they also, per the documents, attempted to call Hunter Biden himself from the phone numbers he provided to the rental car company. Prescott Police Department officials were unable to reach Hunter Biden during the investigation for an interview on the matter, though, according to the documents, they did attempt to call him. One of the Prescott Police Department officers who responded to the initial scene wrote that according to his Sergeant, described in the report as “Sgt Small,” the Secret Service had informed the local police that “Robert Biden had been located by the Secret Service and was well.”

 Laboratory analysis by the Arizona Department of Public Safety later determined that the pipe discovered in the vehicle was used to smoke cocaine, not meth, but fingerprints were not found on the device.The 23 pages of law enforcement and police documents repeatedly refer to the suspect under investigation as Robert Hunter Biden and the report type as a “Narcotics Offense.” Breitbart News is publishing the documents here, with redactions made to remove personally-identifying contact information like addresses and phone numbers as well as the last names of key witnesses.

Two different Prescott Police Department officers as well as a detective conducted an investigation—but ultimately local authorities in both the city and county attorney’s offices declined to prosecute the case. A document shows the reason the county attorney declined to prosecute the vice president’s son is because they thought they would only be able to get minor charges to stick, and kicked it down to the city attorney. It is unclear from the documents why the city attorney declined to prosecute.

In addition to local police, FBI and the U.S. Secret Service agents were roped into the case, as well. The FBI dispatched agents to the scene, according to the law enforcement documents, and the Secret Service communicated with the various law enforcement officials investigating and confirmed that Hunter Biden was not in harm’s way.

Hunter Biden did not cooperate with Breitbart News’ story, even though through the Biden campaign he was offered the opportunity to explain this and answer questions about it. Instead, he told his side of the story to the New Yorker.

Hunter Biden had planned to go to check himself into the Grace Grove facility in Arizona–but had problems along the way.

“That fall, Hunter made plans to go to the Grace Grove Lifestyle Center, in Sedona, Arizona,” Entous writes. “During a layover at Los Angeles International Airport, before his connecting flight to Phoenix, he went to a nearby hotel bar and realized that he had left his wallet on the plane. It had belonged to Beau and still contained his attorney-general identification badge, and also Hunter’s driver’s license, without which he couldn’t board his flight. Using a credit card he had in his pocket, Hunter checked into a hotel in Marina del Rey, where he waited for the airline to return the wallet. Instead of going to Grace Grove, Hunter stayed in Los Angeles for about a week. He said that he ‘needed a way to forget,’ and that, soon after his arrival in L.A., he asked a homeless man in Pershing Square where he could buy crack. Hunter said that the man took him to a nearby homeless encampment, where, in a narrow passageway between tents, someone put a gun to his head before realizing that he was a buyer. He returned to buy more crack a few times that week.”

A man at a nightclub helped Hunter Biden then pick up a rental car at the airport in Los Angeles, and he restarted his effort to try to get to Sedona, Arizona.

“One night, outside a club on Hollywood Boulevard, Hunter and another man got into an argument, and a group of bouncers intervened,” Entous writes. “A friend of one of the bouncers, a Samoan man who went by the nickname Baby Down, felt sorry for Hunter and took him to Mel’s Drive-In to get some food, and to his hotel to pick up his belongings. Early on the morning of October 26th, Baby Down dropped Hunter off at the Hertz rental office at Los Angeles International Airport. Hunter said that, at that point, he had not slept for several days. Driving east on Interstate 10, just beyond Palm Springs, he lost control of his car, which jumped the median and skidded to a stop on the shoulder of the westbound side. He called Hertz, which came to collect the damaged car and gave him a second rental. Later, on a sharp bend on a mountainous road, Hunter recalled, a large barn owl flew over the hood of the car and then seemed to follow him, dropping in front of the headlights. He said that he has no idea whether the owl was real or a hallucination. On the night of October 28th, Hunter dropped the car off at a Hertz office in Prescott, Arizona, and Grace Grove sent a van to pick him up.”

But the next morning, as Breitbart News reported from police documents, drug paraphernalia was found in the vehicle. Police investigated for months, and local prosecutors declined to bring charges against Hunter Biden.

“Zachary Romfo, who worked at the Hertz office in Prescott, told me that he found a crack pipe in the car and, on one of the consoles, a line of white-powder residue,” Entous writes. “Beau Biden’s attorney-general badge was on the dashboard. Hertz called the Prescott police department, and officers there filed a ‘narcotics offense’ report, listing the items seized from the car, including a plastic baggie containing a ‘white powdery substance,’ a Secret Service business card, credit cards, and Hunter’s driver’s license. Later, according to a police report, Secret Service agents informed Prescott police that Hunter was ‘secure/well.’ Subsequent test results indicated that the glass pipe contained cocaine residue, but investigators didn’t find any fingerprints on it. Public prosecutors in the county and the city declined to bring a case against Hunter, citing a lack of evidence that the pipe had been used by him. Jon Paladini, Prescott’s city attorney, told me that he was not aware of any requests by officials in Washington to drop the investigation into Hunter. ‘It’s a very Republican area,’ he said. ‘I don’t think political favors, necessarily, would even work, had they been requested.'”

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