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Fact check: Evidence supports Democrats’ case that Joe Biden made a personal loan to his brother

On October 20, Home Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer launched a video elevating questions on a 2018 private examine to Joe Biden from his brother James Biden and James’ spouse Sara Biden, which had the phrases “mortgage compensation” written on the entrance. Comer mentioned he would view the $200,000 examine to Joe Biden as “troubling” even when it was a mortgage compensation, because it got here on the identical day that James Biden obtained $200,000 from a struggling well being firm he did enterprise with.

Then Comer went additional.

In a collection of interviews with conservative media shops, Comer, a Republican, repeatedly mentioned he did not “imagine” that Joe Biden had truly made a mortgage to his brother. And when Democratic members of the committee and a lawyer for James Biden mentioned that Comer’s committee has paperwork that present there had certainly been a $200,000 mortgage from Joe Biden to James Biden, lower than two months previous to the $200,000 examine from James Biden and his spouse to Joe Biden that mentioned “mortgage compensation,” Comer declared that the Democrats had been “mendacity” – saying that “on the finish of the day, there’s no doc that reveals there was a mortgage.”

However banking data reviewed by CNN, which Comer’s committee possesses, present substantial proof in help of the Democrats’ assertions that there was certainly a $200,000 mortgage from Joe Biden to James Biden lower than two months earlier than the James Biden “mortgage compensation” examine to Joe Biden for a similar quantity.

The proof CNN has reviewed is nearly definitely solely a fraction of the proof Comer’s Republican-controlled committee has obtained, on condition that the committee subpoenaed years of monetary data; the fraction CNN has seen doesn’t show with absolute certainty that there was a mortgage. However even this small batch of proof clearly reveals that the Democrats have paperwork a minimum of partially substantiating their assertions in regards to the examine – and that Comer has not but launched some paperwork that undercut his efforts to boost public suspicions in regards to the Bidens.

What the proof reveals

A supply with direct entry to the paperwork Comer’s committee has obtained through subpoena offered CNN with copies of among the James Biden banking data the committee obtained as a part of its broader investigation into the funds of members of the president’s household.

Comer’s staff doesn’t dispute that these banking data present that James Biden was despatched a $200,000 wire switch on January 12, 2018, lower than two months earlier than James Biden and Sara Biden wrote Joe Biden the March 1, 2018, “mortgage compensation” examine for $200,000.

So why, given the matching quantities and the “mortgage compensation” textual content on the examine, does Comer not “imagine” that Joe Biden ever made the mortgage? A Republican aide on Comer’s committee argued to CNN that there are causes for doubt that the $200,000 wire switch to James Biden was truly from Joe Biden.

We’ll get into the aide’s arguments later on this article. However the proof reviewed by CNN helps Democrats’ assertions that Joe Biden was the individual behind the $200,000 wire switch to his brother.

Right here’s why.

The banking data reviewed by CNN present that the $200,000 wire switch was despatched from an legal professional belief account (an account utilized by a lawyer to carry a shopper’s cash) at a Wilmington, Delaware, legislation agency that Joe Biden co-founded many years in the past and that also has his longtime buddy Melvyn Monzack as a companion.

The banking data reviewed by CNN don’t present Joe Biden’s title wherever on the wire switch. However Comer’s committee possesses an extra piece of proof that seems to obviously hyperlink Joe Biden to the legal professional belief account the wire was from.

The proof is a replica of one other examine, for $40,000, that was written by James Biden and his spouse to Joe Biden in September 2017. On the again of that examine, there’s handwriting – with the president’s title Joseph R. Biden Jr., then a notation figuring out Melvyn Monzack as Biden’s attorney-in-fact (which usually means an individual who has been granted the best to behave on behalf of another person), then a stamp saying the cash was deposited in an legal professional belief account with a selected account quantity.

Although that account quantity was partially redacted by the supply for privateness causes, CNN was permitted to view 4 digits. Right here’s the important thing: these 4 digits are the identical as 4 digits on the account that despatched the $200,000 wire switch to James Biden in early 2018.

In different phrases, the proof means that the $200,000 that was despatched to James Biden in January 2018 got here from an account that belonged to Joe Biden.

In a letter to Comer on Thursday, the highest Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin, wrote that there’s “clear proof that this transaction was a short-term, interest-free mortgage between brothers, which occurred whereas President Biden was additionally a personal citizen.” (Joe Biden was neither a authorities official nor a politician in 2018.)

Raskin wrote that “the financial institution data offered to the Committee clearly present that President Biden had $200,000 wired to his brother on January 12, 2018. Regardless of this clear proof that James Biden obtained a mortgage from his brother on January 12, 2018, and paid him again 48 days later with a examine for a similar quantity marked ‘mortgage compensation,’ you proceed to misrepresent the information.”

Comer has made different factors. He has emphasised that on the identical day that James Biden wrote the $200,000 examine to Joe Biden, James Biden obtained $200,000 from Americore Well being, a financially troubled agency with which he had a enterprise relationship; Comer has accused James Biden of partaking in “shady affect peddling” buying and selling on the Biden title. However Comer has introduced no proof that Joe Biden was concerned in his brother’s transactions with the corporate, not to mention that Joe Biden undertook any official acts throughout his vice presidency or presidency to profit his brother.

James Biden has not been charged with any offense, and his lawyer Paul Fishman mentioned in an e mail: “At no time did Jim contain his brother in any of his enterprise relationships.” White Home spokesperson Ian Sams mentioned in an e mail that Comer’s committee has “once more turned up zero proof of wrongdoing by President Biden – and that’s as a result of there’s none.”

The response from Comer’s committee

Final week, CNN despatched an evidence of the proof outlined on this article to an aide for the Republican majority on Comer’s committee. The aide responded by making an in depth argument that it stays unclear that Joe Biden was the one who despatched the $200,000 to James Biden in January 2018.

Once more, CNN can’t say with full certainty that there was a mortgage. However there are important holes within the aide’s argument. Let’s stroll via them.

The Republican committee aide mentioned that the legal professional belief account quantity on the again of the 2017 examine to Joe Biden is illegible apart from the final two digits. Once more, CNN has seen 4 digits, together with these final two, that match 4 digits on the 2018 wire switch to James Biden.

The Republican committee aide additionally mentioned that different members of the Biden household have had dealings with Monzack’s Delaware legislation agency, and that the banking data the committee possesses don’t clarify that the legal professional belief account quantity is Joe Biden’s – “quite than a extra generic account the agency might have used to masks the true identification of shopper transactions.” However the committee has offered zero indication that Monzack by some means deceptively used this account or that the account was used to carry cash for anybody apart from Joe Biden. (Monzack didn’t reply to voicemail messages requesting remark.)

Subsequent, the aide mentioned that Joe Biden deposited the $200,000 examine from his brother in a distinct checking account, not the legal professional belief account. However that’s irrelevant to the query of whether or not the legal professional belief account is his. Many People have multiple checking account. Joe Biden depositing a examine right into a second account doesn’t present that he isn’t tied to the primary account.

On Thursday, Comer issued a letter to the White Home calling for the discharge of any paperwork in regards to the mortgage, corresponding to a mortgage settlement, “if” there was certainly a mortgage; Comer additionally reiterated his place that “no data within the Committee’s possession state that Joe Biden made a big mortgage fee to his brother.” On Monday, Raskin issued a letter to Comer once more accusing the chairman of misrepresenting the information and once more saying the financial institution data clearly present Joe Biden had made a $200,000 mortgage.

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