A former business partner of, who worked directly with them on a 2017 China energy deal, was never asked to testify to a Delaware grand jury investigating Hunter Biden, two sources familiar with the discussions tell CBS News.
Tony Bobulinski, the former business partner, was open to testifying, and his attorney reached out to the office of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss. Weiss did not return their calls, the sources said. Weiss’ decision not to bring Bobulinski is the latest indication that prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden may have avoided investigating allegations about his father, President Joe Biden.
In October 2020, Bobulinski was invited by the Trump campaign to attend a presidential debate after he released business records about his dealings with Hunter and James Biden. At a press conference before the debate, he claimed to have met with Joe Biden in May 2017, as part of discussions over a potential business deal with a Chinese energy firm, CEFC.
“I’ve heard Joe Biden say that he’s never discussed business with Hunter. That is false. I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden,” Bobulinski said at the press conference. Contacted this week by CBS News, Bobulinski said he stands behind those statements.
Bobulinski’s claims have garnered new interest among GOP congressional investigators aftergave closed-door testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee. In those transcripts, released last week, the whistleblower alleges the president’s son received preferential treatment that allegedly stymied federal investigators. The whistleblower, Gary Shapley, testified that investigative leads that might have led to Joe Biden were not pursued in the late summer and fall of 2020. At the time, Donald Trump was president and the attorney general was Bill Barr.
Shapley alleges that in August 2020, an iCloud search warrant recovered a July 2017 WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden to Chinese businessman Henry Zhao about an outstanding payment.
Shapley testified that prosecutors “denied” investigators’ efforts to learn more about the message.
“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” Hunter Biden allegedly wrote. “And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”
Asked about Shapley’s testimony, Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson said, “As we have said many times before, the President was not in business with his son.”
“As we have also said many times before, the Justice Department makes decisions in its criminal investigations independently, and in this case, the White House has not been involved,” Sams said. “As the President has said, he loves his son and is proud of him accepting responsibility for his actions and is proud of what he is doing to rebuild his life.”
Hunter Biden’s legal team did not reply to a request for comment.
Shapley brought to his Congressional appearance what he said were transcripts from an FBI interview with Robert Walker, another former business partner of Hunter Biden. Walker allegedly told the FBI that Joe Biden was involved in at least one meeting related to the deal with the Chinese energy firm. In the transcript of his testimony before the Committee, Shapley indicated he was quoting from the FBI interview with Walker, in which Walker described Joe Biden’s appearance at the meeting.
“We were at the Four Seasons and we were having lunch and (Joe Biden) stopped in, just said ‘hello’ to everybody. I don’t even think he drank water. And I think Hunter Biden said, ‘I may be trying to start a company or try to do something with these guys and could you?’ And I think (Joe Biden) was like, ‘if I’m around’ and he’d show up,” Walker said, according to Shapley.
According to Shapley’s testimony, the FBI agent asked: “So you definitely got the feeling that that was orchestrated by Hunter Biden to have like an appearance by his dad at that meeting just to kind of bolster your chances at making a deal work out?” According to Shapley, Walker answered: “Sure.”
During his interview, Walker told the FBI agents, “I certainly never was thinking at any time the VP was a part of anything we were doing.”
CBS News reached out to Walker via LinkedIn, email and text message but there was no response.
Shapley also claimed in his congressional testimony that Weiss’ deputy, Assistant US Attorney Lesley Wolf, frustrated investigators’ efforts to explore leads related to Joe Biden.
Shapley testified that in December 2020, there was a “12-hour long meeting at the United States Attorney’s Office in Delaware with the prosecution team” that included Weiss and Wolf. Shapley said the strategy session included a discussion about questions for Walker, and that Wolf sought to limit questions related to then President-elect Joe Biden.
“Wolf interjected and said she did not want to ask about the big guy and stated she did not want to ask questions about ‘dad.’ When multiple people in the room spoke up and objected that we had to ask, she responded, ‘there’s no specific criminality to that line of questioning,'” Shapley testified.
Asked about the claims in the Shapley transcripts, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney declined to comment on behalf of Weiss, and Wolf.
James Comer, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, criticized the prosecutors in a statement to CBS News, saying they “prevented investigators from taking any steps to verify this evidence that could lead to President Biden.”
“The fact that a key witness associated with the CEFC deal was not brought in to testify before the grand jury proves again that the Justice Department is engaged in a coverup,” said Comer, who vowed to “pursue a thorough investigation into the Department of Justice’s misconduct.”
Attorney General Merricksaid on June 23 that Weiss had “complete authority to make all decisions on his own.”
“As the U.S. attorney in Delaware and assigned this matter during the previous administration, [he] would be permitted to continue his investigation and to make a decision to prosecute any way in which he wanted to,” Garland said.
Earlier this month,to two misdemeanor tax charges that related to his failure to pay tax on more than $3 million in income. As part of the deal with Weiss — who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump and was kept in the position by the current administration to continue the probe — Hunter Biden will avoid full prosecution on a separate gun possession charge.
A Delaware judge must approve the agreement at a hearing currently set for July 26.