House panel requests Biden loan documents predating his presidency

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WASHINGTON — House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., is requesting that the White House provide documentation of a $200,000 loan that President Joe Biden made to his brother James Biden in 2018.

In a letter Thursday to White House counsel Edward Siskel, Comer asked for records including the loan payment, loan agreement and any other supporting documents related to the check Biden received from his brother dated March 1, 2018.

“The current lack of documentation leaves reason to doubt claims that this transaction was repayment for a legal loan,” Comer wrote. “We request documentation clarifying the nature of this payment and whether all applicable documentation and IRS filings were properly made.”

Comer, whose committee is one of three leading an impeachment inquiry into Biden, cited the Internal Revenue Code for reporting “below-market [rate] loans” in questioning whether the president had adhered to specific requirements for issuing the loan and whether any interest had been paid.

The House Oversight Committee has indicated that none of the records it obtained showed that the president made a large loan payment to his brother, but separate documents reviewed by NBC News show that an attorney trust account maintained by the president’s attorneys, at the firm of Monzack Mersky McLaughlin and Browder, made a payment of $200,000 to James Biden on January 12, 2018. Another document shows a check written to Joe Biden on March 1, 2018 for $200,000. The subject line is marked, “loan repayment.”

An attorney for James Biden on Thursday called the committee's description of the $200,000 check "highly selective and misleading.

"The Committee has the bank records that show both the loan Jim received from his brother by wire transfer in January 2018 and the repayment by check six weeks later. At no time did Jim involve his brother in any of his business relationships," said attorney Paul J. Fishman in a statement.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the committee, also disputed Comer's characterization of the documents in the panel's possession. In a letter to the Kentucky Republican on Thursday, Raskin said documents obtained by the panel “clearly show” that bank records provided to the committee indicated Biden had wired $200,000 to his brother on Jan. 12, 2018.

“Despite this clear evidence that James Biden received a loan from his brother on January 12, 2018, and paid him back 48 days later with a check for the same amount marked ‘loan repayment,’ you continue to misrepresent the facts,” Raskin wrote.

The White House had previously indicated that Biden made the loan to his brother in 2018.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams said Thursday that Comer “apparently needs to read the very documents he has in his possession.”

Last week, Sams wrote on X that the check referred to by Republicans was a “loan repayment” from when Biden lent his brother money. “When he was out of office in 2018, no less,” Sams added.

When the impeachment inquiry was launched in September, Sams said in a statement that House Republicans have “turned up no evidence of wrongdoing” in nine months investigating Biden.

In Thursday's letter, Comer said bank records obtained by his committee show that James Biden paid his brother $200,000 on the same day that he received $200,000 from Americore, a company that was then embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings.

Comer suggested the transaction was evidence that the president “personally benefited from his family’s shady influence peddling of his name and their access to him,” though he did not provide evidence linking the president, who was not in office at the time, to the Americore loan to his brother.

Citing documents from Americore’s bankruptcy proceedings, Comer suggested that the company worked with James Biden because the president's brother allegedly flaunted that his family ties could "open doors" and had suggested his political connections would help him obtain a sizable investment from the Middle East.

Comer announced plans to subpoena bank records from James Biden, the president's son Hunter Biden, “and their affiliated companies" dating back to 2014, during the panel's first impeachment inquiry hearing last month.

A panel of Republican-picked witnesses at the Sept. 28 hearing said there is no evidence that Biden has committed a crime, while urging that additional bank records were needed for a complete assessment on the matter.

Rebecca Kaplan reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.

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