During a White House briefing Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to explain why President Biden reportedly wrote a college recommendation letter for the son of a Chinese business associate of his son Hunter.
The president has repeatedly denied speaking with Hunter regarding the latter’s business dealings.
However, emails purportedly from Hunter Biden’s laptop appear to show that the president gave a letter of recommendation to the son of BHR investment firm CEO Jonathan Li, Fox News reported on Wednesday. Hunter once owned a 10 percent stake in BHR, which is registered in Shanghai, although Hunter’s attorney told the New York Times in November 2021 that the president’s son “no longer holds any interest” in the firm.
A separate email purportedly from the laptop, sent by Hunter Biden associate James Gilliar, included the line “10 held by H for the big guy?” which Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski, one of the recipients of the email, claimed referred to Hunter holding a 10 percent stake in a 2017 deal for Joe Biden.
Fox’s Peter Doocy asked Psaki if it was “common for President Biden to do favors for Hunter Biden’s international business partners, like writing college recommendations,” during the White House press briefing on Wednesday.
“I’ve seen the report. I have no confirmation or comment on a report about whether or not the president, when he was a private citizen, wrote a college recommendation letter for an individual,” Psaki replied.
“Do we know what the president might have gotten in return for doing a favor like that?” Doocy asked.
“Again, I have no confirmation of any recommendation the president wrote, when he was a private citizen, by the way,” Psaki said.
The emails Fox published on Wednesday begin with a January 3, 2017, message from Li to Hunter Biden and Hunter’s associates Devon Archer and Jim Bulger.
“Gentlmen [sic], please find the attached resume of my son, Chris Li. He is applying the following colleges for this year,” Li wrote in the email, naming Cornell, Brown, and New York University.
Bulger responded by writing “Lets [sic] see how we can be helpful here to Chris,” copying in Hunter Biden and Archer.
Li then received an email on February 18, 2017, from Eric Schwerin, then the president of the Rosemont Seneca firm, which Hunter Biden cofounded in 2009. Hunter and Archer were copied in on the email.
“Jonathan, Hunter asked me to send you a copy of the recommendation letter that he asked his father to write on behalf of Christopher for Brown University. The original is being FedExed to Dr. Paxson directly at Brown,” Schwerin wrote, referring to Brown University president Dr. Christina Paxson. “It should be there by Tuesday at the latest (given Monday is a holiday here in the U.S.). Let us know if you have any questions. Best, Eric.”
Li replies on February 19, “Hi Eric. Just see the email [sic]. It is great! Thank you very much! And Hunter, thank you very much too. All the best to you all.”
The president also sent a letter of recommendation to Li for his daughter’s application to Georgetown University, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Li’s son and daughter were not accepted to Brown or Georgetown respectively, the Post claimed.
Hunter is currently the subject of a federal tax investigation as well as potential violations of foreign lobbying disclosures, people familiar with the probe told the New York Times in March.