FIRST ON FOX: House Republicans are sounding the alarm over a former Biden aide’s 2017 messages to Hunter Biden regarding his CCP-linked business partner willing to wire Hunter tens of thousands of dollars to help him pay off several bills, according to a new batch of messages released by the House Ways and Means Committee last week.
Fran Person, who had previously served as a longtime adviser to the elder Biden and was a failed congressional candidate in 2016, told Hunter in a July 2017 WhatsApp message that he and Bo Zhang, Person’s business partner with ties to top CCP leaders, wanted to help Hunter financially in the midst of his rocky divorce.
‘100K at least gets me until next month,’ Hunter wrote at the time, prompting Person to respond, ‘He will help you with what you need,’ referring to Zhang.
House Republicans told Fox News Digital the exchange further points to alleged influence peddling by the Biden family.
‘The House Ways and Means Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Jason Smith, has uncovered more damning evidence showing how involved senior members of former Vice President Biden’s senior staff were with Hunter Biden and his corrupt foreign business dealings in Communist China,’ said House Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.
‘The American people have a right to know if their President is compromised, and House Republicans will follow the facts wherever they lead us during our impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Accountability is here.’
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which is leading its own probe of the Biden family, slammed the Biden family and said their ‘corrupt deals and affiliations with CCP-linked individuals and companies are a threat to America’s national security.’
‘The Oversight Committee will continue to investigate and follow the money to determine whether President Biden is compromised by his family’s dealings,’ Comer continued. ‘Americans deserve to know that their public offices are not for sale.’
‘We know how the CCP operates,’ added Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., a member of the House Oversight Committee. ‘They don’t do anything that isn’t for their own good in the long run.’
‘Individuals that are very close with Xi Jinping wanted to make sure they could keep Hunter and Joe Biden in their pocket and were willing to pay big bucks. I don’t think there’s any way they didn’t get policy decisions in exchange,’ Burchett said.
Fox News Digital reported last week that Person, who went into business with Zhang shortly after leaving the White House, had offered Zhang’s financial help to Hunter in the 2017 messages.
‘I talked to Bo previously about the 37K – he didn’t flinch. I will talk to him about 56K and possibly 100K,’ Person said. ‘It really depends on his liquid assets in the US…I will ask. His only problem is getting large sums out of China (especially right now).’
The next day, Hunter asked Person if he knew whether anything was wired or if they were in a ‘holding pattern,’ prompting Person to respond, ‘No holding pattern…he was on his way to the bank this morning. He will be in touch when it’s confirmed.’
‘He will help you with what you need. He also mentioned that you should take a trip to China some time this month to just get away for a week or so…just decompress,’ Person added. An email in late August 2017 shows that Hunter was scheduled to fly first class to Hong Kong, but it is unclear whether that was related to visiting with Bo.
Fox News Digital first reported on a 2015 email from Fran to Hunter laying out how powerful Zhang’s family was in China with their real estate empire and that he was ‘being groomed to take over his family’s dynasty.’ The email also said the Zhang family has ‘great respect and relationships in China’ and that his father-in-law was the governor of the Hainan province.
His father-in-law, Liu Cigui, is a longtime member of the CCP and has held several leadership positions over the last 15 or more years.
Cigui is also considered a ‘loyalist’ of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Another one of Zhang’s CCP ties was revealed in a December 2013 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing with the Justice Department, which listed Zhang as the ‘foreign principal.’ The filing noted his relationship with Chinese government official Liu Guoqiang, who was the vice chairman of the Liaoning Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which is a ‘key part’ of China’s ‘United Front’ work, The Diplomat reported last year.
‘We continue to reveal incredibly condemning evidence of influence peddling by Hunter Biden, and vast sums of cash delivered to Biden family members through 20 shell companies,’ Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., another Oversight Committee member, told Fox News Digital on Monday.
‘Joe Biden’s influence in DC is exactly what was for sale,’ he said. ‘Our inaugurated President is clearly compromised, and the repeated behaviors we’ve revealed most certainly call for his impeachment. Abuse of power, betrayal of oath, bribery, crimes of high office, and ultimately perhaps… once the totality of evidence is considered… treason.’
‘It’s been widely reported that Hunter Biden received $80,000 in diamonds from a now-defunct Chinese energy interest, let a political supporter pay his delinquent tax bill to the tune of $2 million, and deceived about paying $50,000 per month in rent,’ added Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. ‘Why would anyone be surprised he would reach out to CCP contacts for additional spending money?’
Another text message at the end of July 2017 reveals that Zhang offered his home for Hunter to stay at. During a July 24, 2017, message exchange, Hunter and Person were determining whether to meet with Zhang at his house or the pricey mansion in McLean, Virginia, that Hunter’s father was renting shortly after leaving office.
‘Let’s meet at Beaus [sic] house or even better 626 Chain Bridge – JRB’s I’m only one that will be there,’ Hunter said.
Person apologized that he was on a conference call and listed a few meetings he had before Hunter said, ‘Ok then let’s say 1 PM at chain bridge Rd. I will plan on that unless I hear other wise.’
‘Ok sounds good. I talked to Bo. He’s good for anything He said 11am, 1pm your house, his house its all good,’ Person said.
Person went on to say that Zhang’s house was ‘unreal’ and that he ‘won’t be there much at least for another couple years.’ He added that Hunter should ‘f’n stay at his house’ and that it was furnished. It is unclear whether Hunter took Bo up on the offer to stay at the McLean, Virginia, mansion, which, according to online records, has six bedrooms and nine full bathrooms and was recently sold for over $5 million.
At the beginning of August 2017, Hunter texted Fran ‘Ok- want to talk Hong Kong and whether Bo intends to do 100 or understandable — done his part.’ Fox News Digital could not confirm whether Bo wired the full $100,000 or whether there were other wire payments to Hunter.
In another WhatsApp message released by the House Ways and Means Committee, Hunter told Person in October 2017 to ‘Send me terms on cash you’re trying to raise please and Bo’s bank wiring instructions.’
There was no response to that message from Person in the latest batch of messages, but the batch says the message was related to ‘CEFC’ China Energy. One of the earlier texts between Person and Hunter revealed that Zhang wanted to do a ‘due diligence check’ on Hunter’s CEFC contact for him. It is unclear whether these messages are related or whether Bo was involved with CEFC.
In one of the earlier text exchanges, Person told Hunter he ‘selfishly want[s] to work’ with him ‘because I know what the hell your capable of, AND I want to learn from you. I’m putting myself out there right now, and I’m learning quickly.’ He continued, ‘But I’d love to be there with you doing some of this stuff. I mention the 500K on 10M raise be I’m about to get started on that, and I could really use your help. We could knock it out together. I’d think that’d help take some bite out, and you wouldn’t feel like your ‘resorting’ to anything.’
‘I’ve got one loyalty brother. That’s to my family. Your family,’ Person added.
A Politico profile on Person that was written when he left then-Vice President Biden’s office in 2014 shows how close he was with Biden and other top administration officials. The piece said that Person traveled to 49 of the 50 countries Biden traveled to, including China and Serbia.
Then-Second Lady Jill Biden was quoted saying, ‘Fran has been like a son to Joe and me. For eight years, we traveled the country, shared holidays together … Fran may be leaving the office, but he will always be a part of our family.’
Biden reflected on Person’s tenure working for him by saying, ‘In times of urgency, everyone from the Secret Service to my communications and policy teams, the first guy they go to is Fran.’ He added, ‘People know that he has my ear whenever he wants it.’
Less than six months later in January 2015, Person helped launch Harves Global Entertainment, an affiliate of the China-based Harves Century Group that has deep ties to the CCP.
Person frequently emailed with Hunter and his longtime business partner, Eric Schwerin, then-president of the now-defunct Rosemont Seneca Partners, about business dealings associated with the Harves Group in 2015 and 2016, and he made multiple visits to the White House during that time, including attending a White House holiday reception in December 2015 with Zhang. Person previously told Fox News Digital the White House visits were ‘personal in nature’ and that he was ‘visiting with old colleagues and friends.’
Emails from Schwerin said that Hunter’s company held financial interests in multiple Harves affiliates, including a 5% stake with Harves Amusement Parks and ownership in Harves Sports and Entertainment, both of which fall under Harves Group.
Person repeated his previous claim to Fox News Digital for a story last month saying that neither Hunter nor any of his associates ever owned equity in any Harves entity or affiliate, despite multiple emails from Schwerin to Hunter contradicting this claim. A recent Washington Post fact check also noted that Rosemont Seneca Advisors had ‘a 5 percent stake in Harves Amusement Parks and ownership in Harves Sports and Entertainment, both in China.’
‘Like many similar companies in the attractions industry affected during the global pandemic, Harves Global Entertainment’s operations shut down,’ Person told Fox News Digital in August. ‘The projects mentioned by Eric Schwerin in that email never passed the early deal stage and were never executed. Harves Amusement Parks entity never even existed.’
During his time at Harves, Fran launched a failed bid for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District in 2016. While he was campaigning, Hunter and Schwerin were recruiting their business associates behind the scenes to donate thousands of dollars to Fran’s campaign, according to emails previously reported by Fox News Digital. Then-Vice President Biden attended multiple campaign events for Person in South Carolina.
Hunter and Schwerin were also simultaneously working behind the scenes to secure business deals for Harves at the time, Fox News previously reported.
Zhang isn’t the only wealthy individual to help with Hunter’s finances. Kevin Morris, a prominent attorney who has been dubbed Hunter’s ‘sugar brother,’ loaned more than $2 million to Hunter to help pay off the first son’s overdue taxes. He also advised Biden on a host of legal, personal and financial matters, ranging from his child-support lawsuit to how to respond to ongoing federal probes into his taxes and business affairs. Earlier this year, Hunter flew to and from the courthouse for his recent Arkansas child-support hearing aboard a luxury private jet owned by Morris.
Person, Hunter’s attorney, and Zhang did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Fox News’ Aaron Kliegman contributed to this report.