Joe Biden has two sons, but only one is living. Biden’s son Hunter Biden is currently embroiled in controversy over a laptop that a computer repair shop owner in Delaware claims he abandoned. Biden’s late son Beau Biden died of brain cancer while he was serving as the attorney general of Delaware.
Both Biden sons are Joe Biden’s children with Neilia Hunter Biden, his late wife who died tragically in a car accident with the couple’s 1-year-old daughter Naomi. Hunter and Beau Biden survived the crash; Joe Biden was not in the car.
The stories of Joe Biden’s sons are filled with drama. Hunter Biden even dated his brother’s widow for a time, and he’s battled a well-known drug addiction and other scandals. Joe Biden also has a daughter, Ashley Biden, with his second wife, Jill.
Hunter Biden has struggled with drug addiction. In 2014, CNN reported that the Navy Reserve discharged Hunter Biden after he tested positive for cocaine. “It was the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. I respect the Navy’s decision. With the love and support of my family, I’m moving forward,” Hunter Biden told CNN.
Hunter opened up about his drug addiction in a lengthy profile published by The New Yorker. “Look, everybody faces pain,” he said to the magazine. “Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Beau Biden, an Iraq War Veteran, Died of Brain Cancer
How did Beau Biden die? According to PBS, Beau died from “glioblastoma multiforme, the most common form of brain cancer.” At the time, he was an Iraq war veteran, the former Attorney General of Delaware, and a possible gubernatorial candidate.
According to his obituary, Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. “It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life,” Joe Biden said.
The Washington Post noted that Beau Biden died from a tumor called a Glioblastoma that “is an aggressive cancer that is the most common of all malignant brain tumors. About 12,400 new cases are expected in 2017.”
Beau Biden did live several years after his diagnosis, though. “Biden…the attorney general for the state of Delaware, was diagnosed in 2013 and had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy before going back to work. He died in May 2015 at the age of 46,” reported The Washington Post.
According to CNN, Joe Biden called his son “quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.” Beau Biden was survived by his wife, Hallie, and the couple’s two children, Natalie and Hunter.
2. Hunter Biden Later Dated His Brother Beau’s Widow
Beau’s wife Hallie later struck up a relationship with Beau’s brother Hunter, whose marriage had dissolved into negative headlines.
Hunter Biden was also accused in a paternity case of fathering an Arkansas woman’s child. He agreed to take a DNA test to establish paternity in the latter case, according to the Arkansas Times.
Hunter Biden once told The New Yorker of his closeness to his brother: “Beau and I have been there since we were carried in baskets during his first campaign. We went everywhere with him. At every single major event and every small event that had to do with his political career, I was there.”
Beau Biden was survived by his wife, Hallie, and the couple’s two children, Natalie and Hunter. Hunter Biden started dating Hallie Biden, his brother’s widow, and Joe Biden said he and Jill were in support of the relationship. In 2017, Joe Biden told Page Six, “We are all lucky that Hunter and Hallie found each other as they were putting their lives together again after such sadness. They have [our] full and complete support and we are happy for them.”
Hunter Biden told Page Six, “Hallie and I are incredibly lucky to have found the love and support we have for each other in such a difficult time, and that’s been obvious to the people who love us most. We’ve been so lucky to have family and friends who have supported us every step of the way.”
He told the New Yorker: “We were sharing a very specific grief. I started to think of Hallie as the only person in my life who understood my loss.”
But the pair eventually split up. Hunter Biden told the New Yorker of the breakup, “All we got was s*** from everybody, all the time. It was really hard. And I realized that I’m not helping anybody by sticking around.” Hunter Biden is now married to a woman named Melissa Cohen. It was a surprise wedding. The New Yorker described how Hunter Biden and Cohen have matching tattoos (“shalom” in Hebrew), which he got only days after meeting her. Not long after that, he asked her to marry him.
People described Cohen as a “32-year-old filmmaker from South Africa” and reported that the couple “wed on the roof of her L.A. apartment” with “the simplest gold wedding bands he could find.” They called Joe Biden after the wedding, but the former vice president wasn’t at the ceremony, according to People.
According to Page Six, they married 10 days after they met.
Hunter Biden’s first wife was Kathleen Biden. When they split, it got very ugly. A 2019 Vanity Fair profile on him said his estranged first wife Kathleen Biden claimed in divorce papers that Hunter Biden had “blown money on prostitutes, strip clubs, and drugs,” but the magazine noted that “the split was settled without the allegations being litigated.”
Kathleen Biden accused Hunter Biden of “spending extravagantly on his own interests (including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he has sexual relations), while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills,” according to The Associated Press.
3. Beau & Hunter Biden Survived the Car Crash That Killed Their Mother & Sister/h2>
Both Beau and Hunter survived a fatal car crash that took the lives of their mother, Neilia Hunter Biden, and sister, Naomi, only 1. Neilia was Joe Biden’s first wife.
It was 1972, and Biden had just been elected to the U.S. Senate in Delaware. Sons Hunter and Beau were in the car but survived the accident. Biden was sworn in while standing at the bedside of his sons, Beau and Hunter, who were injured in the crash.
According to Politico, the Biden vehicle was struck by a truck carrying corncobs as they journeyed to pick out a Christmas tree.
Joe Biden spoke about the loss to a group of soldiers’ families, describing how the pain made him understand why some people contemplate suicide. His second wife, Jill, and the passage of time allowed him to endure.
In the 2012 talk, Biden said, according to ABC News: “For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide. Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts, because they’d been to the top of the mountain and they just knew in their heart they’d never get there again, that it was … never going to be that way ever again.”
4. Hunter Biden’s Alleged Laptop Has Raised Questions About His Father’s Influence on His Business Career
Former Vice President Joe Biden has claimed that he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The New York Post published a story that contained emails that appear to contradict that, if they are true. They also include an alleged picture of Hunter Biden using drugs.
The claim is that the Delaware computer store owner named John Paul Mac Isaac discovered the laptop had not been picked up and “made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.” From there it made its way to The Post with the help of Steve Bannon, a former Trump aide. Giuliani and Mac Isaac are both fervent Trump supporters.
Some have raised questions about the Post story’s credibility. The New York Times reported that the Post’s “front-page article about Hunter Biden … was written mostly by a staff reporter who refused to put his name on it … because he had concerns over the article’s credibility.” Unidentified Post employees who spoke to The Times said “many” staff members had concerns about the story’s sources, the timing and “whether the paper had done enough to verify the authenticity of the hard drive’s contents.”
The Post article was headlined, “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.”
At issue are emails on the laptop. The alleged smoking-gun email The Post claims was on the computer in question shows Hunter Biden setting up a meeting between his father and a Ukrainian energy firm executive. Hunter Biden was paid by the firm. Spokespeople for both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden have denied this meeting occurred but have not expressly denied the authenticity of the laptop.
The story alleged, “Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.”
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some time together. It’s realty an honor and pleasure,” the email, purportedly from Vadym Pozharskyi and found on the mysterious laptop in question, reads. The Post also alleged the laptop contained sexually explicit photos. An FBI spokesperson told the Post: “My office can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.” Pozharskyi advised the Burisma board which paid Hunter $50,000 a month.
According to NPR, which wrote a story raising questions about the Post’s reporting: “To start, the emails have not been verified as authentic. They were said to have been extracted from a computer assumed — but not proven — to have belonged to the younger Biden.” NPR reported that there’s no documentation that the meeting occurred and added that “the lead reporter was a former producer for Sean Hannity,” who is a Trump supporter. Rupert Murdoch, who owns the Post, has been a Trump supporter at times, although he’s raised questions about whether Trump will win and has had falling outs with the president.
According to Fox News, President Trump is planning to bring Tony Bobulinski, a retired Navy lieutenant and “former Hunter Biden associate” to the debate on October 22 as his guest. Bobulinski was the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings, which “was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family.”
The Hill reported that Bobulinski’s “emails were a key part of a story published recently by the New York Post, alleging that Hunter Biden used his influence to connect a Ukrainian businessman and fellow board member at the gas company Burisma with his father when he was vice president.”
That email alleged “a business arrangement involving a Chinese company and members of the Biden family,” including a note reading “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate,” Fox News reported, adding that there was a “proposed equity split” referencing “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?”
“The reference to ‘the Big Guy’ in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden,” Bobulinski said in a statement to Fox News.
Bobulinski told Fox News that “he does not believe Joe Biden’s past claim that he did not discuss his son Hunter’s business affairs with him,” alleging that Hunter “frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals.”
“The Biden family aggressively leveraged the Biden family name to make millions of dollars from foreign entities even though some were from communist-controlled China,” he told Fox News, adding, “Hunter wanted to use the company as his personal piggy bank by just taking money out of it as soon as it came from the Chinese.”
One angle that has emerged about the purported Hunter Biden laptop: The name of an FBI agent, Joshua Wilson, may appear on a subpoena produced by the Delaware computer store owner. He says the subpoena related to a 2019 grand jury appearance about the laptop.
However, Fox News is now reporting that the laptop was subpoenaed as part of a “money laundering” probe.
5. Hunter’s Work in Ukraine & as a Lobbyist Has Provoked Controversy
Hunter Biden has worked as a lobbyist and has served on boards of directors, and his business dealings have generated headlines. According to The New York Times, he was on the board “of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.” Politifact concluded in an article exploring the issue that “experts agree that Hunter Biden’s acceptance of the position created a conflict of interest for his father.”
The New York Times previously reported in May 2019 that dealing with Ukraine was something Joe Biden “enthusiastically embraced” as President Barack Obama’s vice president, “browbeating Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government to clean up its act.” You can read the full Times’ report here.
The Times added that Joe Biden, in 2016, “threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite.” The prosecutor’s name was Viktor Shokin.
The prosecutor was voted out. The Times reported that Hunter Biden “had a stake in the outcome,” because, at the time, he was a board member for “an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch” who had been a target of the fired prosecutor.
The Times described Hunter as a “Yale-educated lawyer” who had served on Amtrak’s board and boards for nonprofit organizations but didn’t have experience in Ukraine. He was paid “as much as $50,000 per month” some months for his work for Burisma Holdings, The Times reported.
The Times claimed that Hunter and his partners “were part of a broad effort by Burisma to bring in well-connected Democrats” during “the period” that the company faced probes in the Ukraine and from Obama administration officials.
The newspaper quoted Hunter Biden as saying, “I have had no role whatsoever in relation to any investigation of Burisma, or any of its officers. I explicitly limited my role to focus on corporate governance best practices to facilitate Burisma’s desire to expand globally.”
Some allege that Shokin actually stopped investigating Burisma, countering his narrative that he wanted to pursue the probe. Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Kyiv-based Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC), told Radio Free Europe that Shokin “dumped important criminal investigations on corruption associated with [former President Viktor] Yanukovych, including the Burisma case.” Furthermore, “Ukrainian prosecutors and anti-corruption advocates who were pushing for an investigation into the dealings of Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevskiy, said the probe had been dormant long before Biden leveled his demand,” Radio Free Europe reports.
“Ironically, Joe Biden asked Shokin to leave because the prosecutor failed [to pursue] the Burisma investigation, not because Shokin was tough and active with this case,” Kaleniuk said to Radio Free Europe. The owner of Burisma was Mykola Zlochevsky. “Zlochevsky had been Ukraine’s ecology minister under former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader who had been forced into exile in Russia,” James Risen wrote for Intercept.
Risen added, “The then-vice president issued his demands for greater anti-corruption measures by the Ukrainian government despite the possibility that those demands would actually increase – not lessen — the chances that Hunter Biden and Burisma would face legal trouble in Ukraine.” Read his full report here.