President Joe Biden and his expected incoming chief of staff Jeff Zients were involved in multiple meetings in 2016 with scandal-scarred first-son Hunter Biden.
Zients, who is expected to replace current Chief of Staff Ron Klain in coming weeks, was involved three times in family business meetings with Hunter and a host of Biden family allies, including billionaire David Rubenstein in 2016.
The first meeting took place on February 12, 2016, with Hunter and Joe Biden, Zients, and Rubenstein at the U.S. Naval Observatory where the vice presidential residence is located, emails from Hunter’s “Laptop from Hell” show.
It is unknown what the men discussed, but both Zients and Rubenstein appear to be legitimate businessmen. Zients’s financial disclosure shows he owned commercial real estate and more than a million dollars worth of gold bars. Rubenstein is the founder of the major asset management firm The Carlye Group and Rubenstein is a member of the World Economic Forum and Council on Foreign Relations.
The second meeting took place two weeks later. Zients, Hunter, and Joe Biden met with former lobbyist and current White House senior counselor Steve Ricchetti. David Bradley, a political consultant and chairman of the media group Atlantic Media, also joined the meeting. It is unclear what was discussed in the meeting.
A third meeting took place on May 24, 2016. It was attended by Hunter, Zients, Bradley, Eric Lander, and Richard Klausner. Joe Biden was reportedly not present.
Lander was the former White House director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, while Klausner, a massive biotech investor, was the former head of the National Cancer Institute and former executive director for global health at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
All three meetings took place in 2016 before Joe Biden left the White House. In that same year, Joe Biden admitted that his son had access to his Delaware garage, where stashed classified documents were unearthed by the president’s attorneys.
The Biden family business meetings at the U.S. Naval Observatory were not uncommon.
Hunter and Joe Biden met about 30 times at the observatory during Biden’s vice presidency, and often after a foreign business trip or a meeting with a client in Washington D.C, the New York Post reported. Most meetings reportedly included Hunter’s former business partner Eric Schwerin of the now-dissolved investment fund Rosemont Seneca Partners.
The contact between Joe Biden and Hunter’s business partners directly contradicts his repeated claims he never was involved in the family business.