President Joe Biden‘s only surviving son is Hunter Biden. He is a lawyer by profession and the founder of the investment and advice firm Rosemont Seneca Partners. He was appointed to the board of directors of Ukrainian energy business Burisma Holdings in 2014, where he served till his term expired in April 2019.
His involvement with Burisma prompted a Senate Republican corruption investigation during the election year, which subsequently cleared him and his father of wrongdoing. Biden has five children with his second wife, South African documentarian Melissa Cohen, and was discharged from the Navy Reserves after a decades-long battle with addiction.
Early Life and Education
Robert Hunter Biden was born on February 4, 1970, in Wilmington, Delaware, to Joe Biden and his first wife, Neilia. His older brother, Joseph “Beau” Biden III, was born a little more than a year before, and their sister, Naomi “Amy” Biden, was born over two years later, in November 1971.
Hunter was involved in a devastating car accident on December 18, 1972, which killed his mother and 13-month-old sister. Beau was also a passenger in the vehicle that was involved in an intersection collision with a tractor-trailer. Hunter sustained a severe head injury, while Beau suffered multiple fractured bones. Joe, who was in Washington at the time of the tragedy, elected to be sworn in as a United States senator for the first time in his kids’ hospital bed on January 5, 1973.
Joe married his second wife, Jill Biden, in June 1977, after Beau and Hunter persuaded him to do so. Ashley Biden was born in June 1981 to the couple.
Hunter attended Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware, which was also his siblings’ and father’s alma mater, before enrolling at Georgetown University in 1988. Biden took odd jobs including parking vehicles at events and lifting crates of frozen meat to help pay for his lodging and board before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1992.
Despite being accepted into Syracuse University’s creative writing program, where he had explored pursuing a combination MFA-law degree, Hunter chose to attend Georgetown Law. After one year, he transferred to Yale Law and graduated in 1996.
Hunter spent a year after graduation as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon. He moved back to Wilmington, Delaware, where his father named him deputy campaign manager for his Senate reelection run, while also working as a lawyer for the Delaware-based banking holding company MBNA America. Biden’s appointment was attacked since his father supported credit card legislation, which MBNA also supported.
After quitting his post as executive vice president at MBNA in 1998, he joined President Bill Clinton’s cabinet as a policy director focusing in the internet economy. Three years later, Biden was engaged by St. Joseph’s University’s government and community relations department to gather earmarks for one of the university’s student volunteer programs at an underprivileged high school in Philadelphia.
Biden was a lobbyist who co-founded the firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair. In 2006, Biden purchased the hedge firm Paradigm Global Advisors, one of his many financial ventures. After former President Barack Obama chose Joe as his campaign mate in 2008, Hunter canceled his lobbying registrations and resigned from an unpaid seat on Amtrak’s board of directors. In September of that year, he formed Seneca Global Advisors, a boutique consulting firm, then in June 2009, upon his father’s election as vice president, he cofounded Rosemont Seneca Partners.
The Navy granted Biden an age waiver after receiving a letter of recommendation from former military intelligence officer Greg Keeley, and his father swore him into the Navy Reserves in a small, private ceremony at the White House in May 2013.
Biden was sent to a reserve unit at Naval Station Norfolk, and after a few months, he learned that a urine sample taken on his first day on duty had revealed the presence of cocaine in his system.
According to The New Yorker, a positive drug test usually results in discharge under Navy guidelines. Hunter stated he had no idea how the drug got into his system, speculating that a cigarette provided to him by strangers outside a Washington club could have been laced with cocaine.
Hunter was dismissed on February 18, 2014, after deciding not to appeal the decision, according to Navy records obtained by The New Yorker.
Burisma Holdings Scandal
According to The New York Times, Hunter accepted a paid position on the board of Ukrainian energy business Burisma Holdings Limited in April 2014, subsequently admitting that he most likely acquired the high-paying job because his father was coordinating US policy in the nation at the time. During the 2020 presidential race, his position came under heavy investigation, following Donald Trump‘s unsubstantiated claim that Joe unlawfully tried to use his elected post to promote Hunter’s financial interests.
Trump stated that Joe wanted the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor general who he suspected was investigating Hunter for corruption. Trump was impeached in 2019 on charges of violating the law by pressing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to obtain negative material on the Bidens, shortly after Trump had halted the release of military supplies to Ukraine.
Hunter announced his resignation from Burisma’s board of directors after his tenure expired in April 2019.A Senate Republican probe into claims of corruption between Joe and Hunter in September 2020 found no proof of illegal influence or malfeasance by the former vice president, though they believed Hunter had “cashed in” on his father’s position.
The New York Post claimed in October 2020 that it had gotten a copy of a laptop that Biden had left at a Delaware computer repair shop and never returned. The hard drive, which the tabloid received from Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Guiliani, was said to contain an email documenting a meeting between Joe Biden and Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi. Biden denied any such meeting took place, while he would not rule out a brief, informal conversation.
Other mainstream media sites questioned the tale’s credibility due to the laptop’s origins, as well as Trump’s and Guiliani’s participation with the narrative just before the 2020 presidential election.
Former intelligence officials thought that it was part of a Russian intelligence disinformation campaign against Joe Biden, but no evidence of this emerged. While the hard drive appeared to belong to Biden, PolitiFact claimed in June 2021 that “nothing from the laptop has revealed illegal or unethical behavior by Joe Biden as vice president with regard to his son’s tenure as a director for Burisma.”
Justice Department Investigation
Biden said in December 2020 that he had been served with a subpoena as part of a Justice Department investigation into his taxes. The subpoena requested information on his financial operations, including those with Burisma Holdings. The probe was conducted by US Attorney David Weiss, a Trump appointee, and Merrick Garland, the attorney general under President Biden, swore not to interfere.
Hunter said on June 20, 2023, at the completion of a five-year inquiry, that he had agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges for failing to pay his 2017 and 2018 taxes on time. In doing so, he would admit to not paying more than $100,000 in taxes on more than $1.5 million in revenue in 2017 and 2018, which he ultimately paid. Biden would escape jail time if he entered a guilty plea and received two years of probation. As part of the plea agreement, Biden would also avoid penalties in connection with his October 2018 purchase of a firearm, which was unlawful for him to possess as a drug user.
Republicans have slammed the accord as a “sweetheart deal” for the president’s son, while Gary Shapley, an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower, believes elements of the Biden investigation were “slow-walked” by the Justice Department.
After a federal judge voiced reservations about tying the tax plea bargain to the felony gun accusation, the plea agreement was put on hold in July 2023. As a consequence of that hearing, Biden pleaded not guilty, with both sides planning to file supplementary filings detailing the legal structure of the plea offer. In a court filing on August 13, Biden’s counsel claimed that prosecutors broke the previously agreed-upon plea arrangement.
Prosecutors for the Justice Department accused Biden on September 14 with lying about his drug use in connection with his 2018 weapon purchase, which could result in a 10-year prison sentence if he is convicted. Prosecutors did not pursue charges relating to Biden’s taxes, although they may do so in the future.
Hunter addressed his decades-long battle with alcoholism and drug addiction in a July 2019 profile in The New Yorker. In September 2003, he checked himself into Crossroads Centre Antigua for a month, and his brother, Beau, accompanied him to his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting upon his return. He had his first relapse in November 2010, after seven years of sobriety, when he drank three Bloody Marys on a flight home from a business trip to Madrid.
Hunter relapsed with alcohol, prescription medicines, and cocaine, which he believes was aggravated by Beau’s death in 2015 from brain cancer. “There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel,” he told The New Yorker. “You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”
Trump brought up Hunter’s addiction issues at Joe’s first presidential debate in September 2020. “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home, had a drug problem,” the president replied. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him.”
Hunter published his memoir Beautiful Things in April 2021, in which he discussed his difficulties with addiction and drug misuse, s**ual relationships, and other facets of his personal life. According to The Guardian, the book is “a confession and an act of contrition,” and Biden’s story is “mostly grim and squalid.”According to Entertainment Weekly, Biden’s thoughts on addiction are “harrowing, raw, and quite generously honest.”
Wife and Children
Biden met Kathleen Buhle while serving as a Jesuit volunteer in Portland, Oregon. After three months of dating, she became pregnant, and the couple married in July 1993. Naomi, born in December 1993, Finnegan, born in September 1998, and Maisy, born in 2000, are their three daughters.
Biden’s alcoholism caused strain on the marriage, and during a couple’s therapy session, they agreed that if he started drinking again, he would have to leave the family home. Biden fled a therapy session, drank a bottle of vodka, and moved out shortly after their 22nd anniversary.
In October 2016, two months after Breitbart reported that Biden had a profile on Ashley Madison, a dating service for married individuals, under the name Robert Biden (he has rejected the charges), he and Kathleen agreed to divorce formally.
Kathleen filed for divorce in December 2016, and in February 2017, she requested that Hunter’s assets be frozen, claiming that he “created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, pro-stitutes, strip clubs, and gifts for women with whom he has s**ual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.”
Hunter was also intimately connected with his late brother Beau’s widow, Hallie Olivere Biden, according to the motion. “We were sharing a very specific grief,” Hunter recalled to The New Yorker. “I started to think of Hallie as the only person in my life who understood my loss.” The New York Post broke the news in 2017, leading Joe to release a statement to the paper saying that the family was “lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness” and that they had his and Jill’s full support. He and Hallie split in August 2017, with Hunter citing intense public scrutiny of their relationship and lack of privacy.
In 2019, an Arkansas woman named Lunden Alexis Roberts filed a paternity suit against Biden, claiming he is the father of her daughter Navy. He denied having s**ual intercourse with the lady, but a paternity test in November 2019 revealed “with scientific certainty” that Biden is the child’s biological father. A final settlement requiring Biden to pay an unknown monthly sum of child support and health insurance payments was granted by an Arkansas judge in March 2020.
Biden proposed to Melissa Cohen, a South African filmmaker, less than a week after they met in early May 2019. The couple married the next day, on May 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. Beau, their son, was born in March 2020.