President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden is urging the Justice Department to investigate a former business associate named Tony Bobulinski over claims that he lied to federal investigators during an interview in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, according to a criminal referral letter obtained by ABC News.
Attorneys for Hunter Biden wrote last month to Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., accusing Bobulinski of deliberately mischaracterizing his relationship with the Biden family "for the sake of maligning the character and reputation of [Hunter] Biden and his family, and to boost his own sense of self-worth."
Bobulinski, a retired Naval officer and self-described global businessman, came forward in October 2020 with allegations that the Bidens had lied to the public about the nature of then-candidate Joe Biden's involvement in his son's proposed overseas business ventures -- a claim promoted at the time by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
According to Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, Bobulinski repeatedly misled investigators about his contacts with the Biden family and the extent to which Joe Biden stood to benefit from proposed foreign business ventures during a voluntary interview at a FBI field office in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23, 2020.
"Even in an era in which people peddle knowing lies with the goal of their falsehoods being repeated and disseminated for their political advantage, these statements by Mr. Bobulinski cannot and must not go unchecked," Lowell wrote.
Bobulinski told investigators that he attended a February 2017 meeting with Hunter Biden, the president's brother James Biden, and other business associates in Miami, where the parties hashed out the details of a prospective joint venture with a Chinese firm, according to FBI interview notes that were recently released by the House Ways and Means Committee as part of its investigation into the Biden family.
The discussion at the meeting in Miami precipitated an email Bobulinski fired off in May 2017, according to the FBI notes, in which he infamously proposed a 10% cut for the "the big guy," an apparent reference to Joe Biden.
But according to Lowell, Bobulinski was not present at the February 2017 meeting in Miami and "was not ... privy to any discussions." Lowell cited WhatsApp messages Bobulinski sent days after that meeting to another business associate expressing frustration that he was not invited to attend the meeting.
In fact, according to the communications described by Lowell, Bobulinski was even not aware that Hunter Biden was part of the joint venture until nearly a week after the Miami meeting.
"This was all done to advance a debunked conspiracy theory that somehow Joseph Biden was involved in [Hunter] Biden's business venture with [the Chinese firm], including as Vice President," Lowell wrote.
The criminal referral letter appears to double as a mechanism to publicly push back against some of the lingering claims Bobulinski made about the Biden family, including his infamous allusion to "the big guy," which Republicans have cited as evidence of the president's involvement in his son's overseas work. Lowell characterized this allusion as "wishful" thinking on the parts of Bobulinski and another team member. The proposed joint venture was never actually funded, and the Chinese firm ended up forming another joint venture with a competitor.
Bobulinski shared a statement rejecting the contents of the criminal referral as "patently false" and accused the Biden family of "trying to weaponize the DOJ against me."
"If Hunter Biden and the Biden family are so determined to ensure that the full truth is put before the American People, Hunter, Jim, Joe and I should all appear together before Congress, publicly and under oath," Bobulinski said in the statement. "They can name the date, time and place and I would certainly be willing to do that for the American people."
The timing of the criminal referral also aligns with reports that Bobulinski may soon be called to testify as a witness before the House Oversight Committee as part of its impeachment inquiry into President Biden.
Bobulinski made waves in the hours leading up to the final presidential debate in 2020 when he convened a short press briefing in a Nashville, Tennessee, hotel ballroom to air details of his alleged involvement with "the Biden family, including Joe Biden."
Bobulinski's pre-debate event set the stage for a series of attacks Trump leveled against Biden when the two squared off later that night.
"Somebody just had a news conference a little while ago who was essentially supposed to work with you and your family, but what he said was damning," Trump said. "And regardless of me, I think you have to clean it up and talk to the American people."
Biden shot back: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life."
Hunter Biden seeks DOJ probe into former business associate Tony Bobulinski originally appeared on abcnews.go.com