Allies of President Joe Biden and his son, along with some outside groups, have raised the prospect of a legal defense fund to support Hunter Biden and others as they respond to Republican-led congressional investigations, according to three people involved in the discussions.
The potential legal effort, first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, could total more than $10 million, these people told NBC News.
The discussions are in the preliminary stage, and as of now Hunter Biden’s legal advisers have not been planning for the potential creation a defense fund to help him pay for representation in the face of GOP investigations they view as unfounded and overtly political.
There have been ongoing discussions within Hunter Biden’s circle of advisers about how to respond to Republican probes and accompanying GOP attacks, said multiple people with knowledge of the discussions.
Until recently, the strategy was to exercise caution and restraint, preparing for future moves quietly until the federal criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, which has been run out of Delaware, has reached a conclusion about whether charges will be filed.
That approach, however, may shift to a more proactive legal strategy in the coming months, the people familiar with the discussions said.
While Hunter Biden’s team has discussed a variety of options for responding to House Republicans in general, plans have not been finalized, these people said.
Republicans allege that Hunter Biden has capitalized on his father’s political career and connections for profit. GOP lawmakers have criticized a series of Hunter Biden’s financial ventures, including his involvement on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company in 2019 and his role as a co-founder of an investment firm that helped a Chinese firm buy a Congolese cobalt mine from a U.S. company in 2016.
Biden has said the federal investigation will show “I handled my affairs legally and appropriately.”
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the new Oversight Committee chairman, has accused the president of “influence peddling,” and he quickly dived into investigating Hunter Biden and other Biden family members and associates.
Last week, Comer issued letters to Hunter Biden’s art dealer, Georges Bergès, seeking documents from the gallery and requesting that Bergès appear for an interview with the committee in February.
Hunter Biden bolstered his legal team last month by adding Abbe Lowell, of the firm Winston and Strawn, to oversee coordinating his response to congressional probes and to advise on other legal issues and strategy.