America’s Lawyer E59: Newly released messages show that Hunter Biden was using his father’s status and connections to secure payments from overseas business partners, and we’ll tell you what this could mean for the Biden family. The US Chamber of Commerce and several other groups are joining the legal fight to keep prescription drug prices higher for American consumers. And Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are preparing to fight each other, and no one seems to know why this is happening. All that, and more is coming up, so don’t go anywhere – America’s Lawyer starts right now.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Hi, I’m Mike Papantonio and this is America’s Lawyer. Newly released messages show that Hunter Biden was using his father’s status and connections to secure payments from overseas business partners. And we’ll tell you what this could mean for the Biden family. The US Chamber of Commerce and several other groups are joining the legal fight to keep prescription drug prices as high as they can. And Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, if you can imagine, are preparing to fight each other. And no one seems to know why this is happening. It’s just weird. All that and more, it’s coming up. Don’t go anywhere. America’s Lawyer starts right now.

Communications between Hunter Biden and a business associate in China has raised a lot of questions about how he might have cashed in on his family name. And the message suggests that President Biden may have been by his side the entire time. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me now to talk about it. Farron, you know, I look at this story, I’ve been ignoring this story. I literally have been ignoring the story until this last deal came up. And the last thing that came up was they have, they’ve got the email, they’re seeing what was transpiring. They see what Hunter Biden wrote to this fellow who, oh, by the way, is directly connected to the Chinese military intelligence complex. This company they’re talking about, Chinese Energy Conglomerate, CEFC, also linked to the Chinese military intelligence complex. I don’t know how, but that’s what the story is. And so you pick it up from there. I mean, you know, you and I have both fought desperately to say, well, let’s wait till something develops. But I got, the guy’s a dirt bag. I mean, he’s a total dirt bag. Now, does he have his father brought into dirt bag world? That’s what, that came to mind as I looked at this story.

Farron Cousins: It’s very obvious. And as far as we know, obviously, this has been authenticated. There’s no dispute over whether or not this message that they got from WhatsApp is real. And so you have Hunter Biden messaging with his business associate, Henry Zhao over in China. Hunter clearly angry about not getting paid. So based on what we know from the message, he essentially calls his dad into the room. So he sends off this fiery message, you know, I’m here next to my dad. We want this money.

Mike Papantonio: Let me, can I, you think I oughta read it? I mean.

Farron Cousins: Yeah, I think so.

Mike Papantonio: It says, I’m sitting here with my father. This is from Hunter Biden to this fella who’s indirectly related to the Chinese military complex. I’m sitting here with my father, and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets outta hand and now means tonight. And Z, this is, he goes on, he says, and Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my directions. I’m sitting here and waiting for a call with my father. Now, it sounds like a, this sounds like a mobster directive.

Farron Cousins: It really does.

Mike Papantonio: Sounds like a frigging mobster. And you know what? I’ve already heard, his lawyer is taking the position, oh, poor pitiful guy. He was on drugs. He was addicted to drugs. He was having this fight about the child that he was having through a relationship. His life was upside down. All they gotta do is put Biden there. If they put the president next to him when this is happening, they got a problem. They can do that with phone. There’s all kinds of ways to do that.

Farron Cousins: Well, and that is actually one of the things that they’re attempting to work on right now is using the location data of President Biden’s cell phone to see if he was in fact, in the room with Hunter. As far as we know right now, that’s not something that they have finalized yet. So, like you said, Hunter Biden may have been sitting there thinking, I got my father, I got Abraham Lincoln next to me. George Washington’s here. We’re all super. Um, but.

Mike Papantonio: Well, he could be delusional. I mean, that’s what his lawyer says. His lawyer says, no, he’s delusional. Although 10 days after this directive went out, they got $10 million. Okay. $10 million was sent to this organization that they’re tying the Biden family into. Now, did I get that right?

Farron Cousins: Yes. So far that is what has happened. It may have been, because the first two payments in the first two days totaled 5.1 million.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah, that’s right.

Farron Cousins: But the thing is, one, this information was included in a senate report from 2020. So before the 2020 election, I think it happened in May. So even the Republicans in the Senate, they’ve known this, they’ve had this message for three years now, and we’re only just now hearing it. So that to me is weird. But the other thing too, and this is where more kind of weirdness comes in. This happened in 2017. So at the time, Biden is private citizen Joe Biden. He’s not running for office. He’s not holding an office. So 100% we’ve got, this is unethical. This to me sounds kind of like extortion at this point. I got my dad next to me, we’re gonna hold grudges. But can it rise to the level of illegality? It’s certainly bad for the campaign, a hundred percent.

Mike Papantonio: Well, it looks really bad. I mean, look, didn’t they prosecute Flynn for being a foreign agent that wasn’t registered?

Farron Cousins: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: So the story is that he wasn’t registered as a foreign agent. And if his dad wasn’t registered, if you’re, you can’t have it both ways. He was either in office as a VP or if he’s doing this, he still needs to be registered as a foreign agent. So the foreign agent issue is still a problem. It’s kind of, it’s almost checkmate. It’s almost checkmate. You can’t make the argument, well, it was in between him being in office and it was just really ugly, ugly influence pedaling. No, there’s something that is required. And when you’re dealing with a Chinese company, CEFC energy that even the Pentagon knows is directly related to the Chinese military complex, you gotta have a license to do that.

Farron Cousins: You do. And see, that’s where you can, and that’s, I bring that up because that’s not something that any of these, you know, people out there attacking this story have talked about. If you look at what we’ve got here, it is difficult to say that, no, this, you know, or yes, it rises to the level of illegality. But you bring up the issue you did about the unregistered foreign agent, suddenly there you’ve got your legal problem. Because can you convict him for saying, my father’s here, give me the money you owe me? You really probably can’t. But when you throw in the foreign agent thing that nobody seems to understand at this point that this is a big deal, then you’re looking at something that, yeah, Hunter Biden could, and he may have taken his father down with him by bringing him in into this.

Mike Papantonio:There are dozens and dozens of people that have been prosecuted under this law. Flynn comes to mind for one.

Farron Cousins: Rudy Giuliani almost was.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I mean, but other than these names we hear about, people are prosecuted for this all the time. And so it’s a real problem. So, here’s one thing I’m wondering. You know, somebody in one of these articles just threw this out. It sounds conspiracy theory to me, but I don’t know. I don’t know anymore. It says the timing is weird. This has been around since what, 2017 did you say?

Farron Cousins: 2020 is when the Senate did their.

Mike Papantonio: Okay, 2020. It’s been around since 2020. Now all of a sudden in 2023, Biden is crashing, the polls are crashing, his prospects are crashing. The only person he can beat is Trump. I mean, if you really look at it. He’s, the other contenders, if they could make it into the primaries, and if they didn’t hold them back, maybe. And then from the Republican side, you know, the numbers are saying most of them can beat Biden. So is this an effort by the Democrats to say, let’s get rid of this guy? I mean, you know, you have to ask the question.

Farron Cousins: Well, see my whole take on this thing too, again, obviously as we’re learning this information, we do have to decipher what’s real and what’s not. Because we’ve seen Republicans come out with, I think six different whistleblowers this year that all turned out to not be whistleblowers.

Mike Papantonio: They didn’t have a document, though. Like, not like this.

Farron Cousins: Well, actually, one of them actually did claim to have a document and 17 tapes that turned out to not exist. But if Hunter Biden goes to jail, I’m not gonna lose any sleep. If President Biden gets impeached, I’m not gonna lose any sleep.

Mike Papantonio: I’m not either, I’m not either.

Farron Cousins: Neither of us have any love for this family either, so.

Mike Papantonio: Well, the only people that will are these, these folks that just can’t, they can’t look outside their tiny little world and understand.

Farron Cousins: It would almost be doing Democrats a favor.

Mike Papantonio: It would. It would. And you gotta wonder is, what’s the timing on this? I mean, look, there’s no way I would ever defend this guy. I am concerned though. I’m concerned that this argument, well, was he just delusional? Daddy’s not really there. He’s talking, you know, my dad. I mean, is he talking to Kermit the Frog? You have no idea. But that’s the defense. We’re already hearing it. Right.

Texas has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave that’s now spread across the southern United States. And while this was happening, unbelievable, Texas Governor Abbott signed a bill that eliminates mandatory water breaks for outdoor construction workers. How crazy. Why would you even dream of putting your name on this when the temperatures out there are 120 degrees? And all it says is that, look, every intervals we need to give people water breaks so they don’t dehydrate and die. 120 degrees topped off already. And you got people working on roofs, and this idiot governor says, oh, no, we don’t wanna give them water breaks. Do you think he just didn’t read it? He didn’t read it or what?

Farron Cousins: It’s possible, but even if you’re looking at this as a, from a standpoint of, oh, we’re protecting corporations, you’re still not even protecting corporations with this. Because when people drop dead on your job site and you’re paying them, you’re gonna look at some kinda liability. So he is actually opening up corporations to worse things happening to them. But this is just, this is stupid.

Mike Papantonio: Well, explain. No, no. Talk about, that’s a good point. Expound on that just a little bit. He’s inviting lawsuits and terrible things to happen to corporations.

Farron Cousins: Right. So if I’m running a construction site, if I’m the the manager or the owner, everybody on that site is my responsibility, legally my responsibility. You get hurt, you drop dead from exhaustion, that’s on me. So I would be held liable in court by the member’s, or person’s family. You know, anything that happens, those people will be sued. And it’s gonna be a pretty easy lawsuit.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I mean, people die from this.

Farron Cousins: They do. Every year in Texas.

Mike Papantonio: I mean, every year. Matter of fact, I was looking at, was there 42 deaths over just the last, less than nine years because of heat already. And then since those nine years, I think it’s heated up another three degrees. And so if you’ve got somebody working in construction, why would you say, no, you can’t give them a water break every 20 minutes? When OSHA and everybody that studies it said, that’s what you must do to avoid that worker becoming ill or dying.

Farron Cousins: And it is, it’s almost a scientific formula. They’ve found, okay, if you work for 50 minutes in the sun, 10 minutes in the shade with water will cool your body down enough for another 50 minutes.

Mike Papantonio: It’s not like it’s tough science, is it?

Farron Cousins: No. This is just, it’s stupid and cruel. And I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out the reasoning for it. He hasn’t given us anything. But this is.

Mike Papantonio: Chamber of Commerce.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: Chamber of Commerce.

Farron Cousins: We can’t let them rest for 10 minutes.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Chamber of Commerce. I swear, you know, I don’t think people have a grasp at how ugly the whole US Chamber of Commerce thing has become. They’re controlled by 19 of the biggest corporations on the globe. Everybody believes that the Chamber of Commerce is a mom and pop organization. No. Chamber of Commerce is there for people like this. They’re always the front man. They’re paying out the big money and the people paying out the big money are the biggest corporations on the globe. The big energy companies, the big pharmacy companies. Big construction companies. So this guy’s getting money from that end of it, I’m sure. But how do you become so less human that you say, no, we can’t give you water breaks?

Elon Musk recently challenged Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight and Zuckerberg, well, he’s accepted the challenge. The two billionaires might end up duking it out, and the entire country is left to wonder and ask themselves, really? What the hell? I mean, first of all, I don’t, I hate doing this story because it’s such a stupid story, but it just keeps coming across our desk. What about the fight? It’s, what about the fight? Who cares?

Farron Cousins: We’ve had to cover some really horrible stories. We’ve covered some stupid stories, stupid things politicians say. But for the life of me, what the hell is going on here? Why? I mean, you’ve got two billionaires, you know, both well to do, both don’t even need to mess with each other. Suddenly they’re in this fight because Zuckerberg suggests maybe I’m gonna make a Twitter, you know, rival. There’s like 800 Twitter rivals that are popping up every day that nobody’s using, because, you know, whatever you think of Musk taking over Twitter. I don’t like it, but I haven’t left Twitter. I get on Twitter all the time.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, most people really haven’t left Twitter.

Farron Cousins: Exactly.

Mike Papantonio: They said, I’m mad about this. But now it’s like, you know, it is like

Farron Cousins: You still understand the importance.

Mike Papantonio: When people are come at us, oh, I hate what you said about Biden. I hate what you said about Hillary. I’m gonna leave. Well, we kind of know they don’t. If they do, that’s okay too. But that’s the way they look at this. They look at it the same way times multi multimillions. Go ahead.

Farron Cousins: But it’s just so weird that Musk, his first reaction to that is, all right, well, let’s fight. Let’s get in the cage. You and me, Las Vegas. Let’s just beat each other up.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Well, he has something I thought, Musk says, I have this move called the walrus and his, I mean, such a stupid story. But his move called the walrus is where he sits on, he sits on Zuckerberg and until he passes out, I guess. Zuckerberg on the other hand, actually has some training. He is, I mean, he’s competed gold medals, silver medals in jujitsu, I think Brazilian jujitsu. So I’m betting on Zuckerberg if it happens. I don’t think it’s going to happen. But you wonder, has our news cycle gotten so bad that I’m worried about these two billionaires in a cage fight?

Farron Cousins: Well, we immediately go from, you know, a missing submarine that crushed like a Coke can under the ocean to billionaires now wanting to fight each other. We’re just inundated with the stupidity and greed of this class of people.

Mike Papantonio: Is it low hanging fruit? Is that why, it is that why it sells?

Farron Cousins: It is because, you know, they can’t intellectually talk about, you know, the Wagner uprising in Russia.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Because they don’t understand it.

Farron Cousins: Right. It is a complicated issue. But instead they’re like, okay, well what about these two lunatics wanting to fight each other? And that’s easier.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Yeah. All right.

The company responsible for toxic PFAS chemicals being a part of our everyday lives, has agreed to a massive settlement with cities and municipalities to give those folks relief. Full disclosure, that was my settlement. $12.5 billion, me and three other law firms negotiated that. But, you know, Farron, I started with this case seven years ago. Actually, you were following this case back then.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It is quite remarkable, especially to see this settlement happen and you’ve been at the forefront. I can’t stress that enough to people to really understand this. This is an issue that has enveloped your life for a decade now.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah.

Farron Cousins: Every day. This is something you have worked on. I’ve seen you, I’ve watched you. We’ve discussed it. And these chemicals, as we’ve said a hundred times on this program, they’re everywhere. And we’re just now starting to see a little bit of justice with this. So, you know, since you’ve got the knowledge of all of this.

Mike Papantonio: I’m glad talking about it.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Lay this out.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I started with this case, me and Gary Douglas, a New York lawyer and a law firm up there that we do a lot of work with. We did the opioids with them, we launched the opioids case too. People don’t realize that because we don’t talk about it much. I mean, the opioids case end up settling for $42 billion. Now, first of all, everybody says, well, Pap, my God, you’re making all this money. Well, you know, we don’t keep $42 billion, and I don’t keep $12.5 billion that we settled the PFAS case with. But what we do is we’re able to do what government failed to do. Okay. We’re able to do what, well, what media failed to do. The best part, to me the most disgusting story of the whole PFAS, the $12.5 billion settlement that I just settled, is that the corporate media wouldn’t tell the story, you see.

Because so much advertising dollars was going in into MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABCs, they refused to tell the story. As a matter of fact, one time I was actually on the air getting ready to tell the story. It was with Ed Schultz and the story was stopped. It was stopped. You can’t tell this story. And so had we not worked at this for six years, seven years, none of this would happen. We’d still have PFAS in the drinking water. We can clean it up a lot. It’s in the environment for 1 million years. So the problem is this, if you have a river and you have PFAS that’s moved into the river, even if you scrape the soil down to try to get rid of some of it, it still recharges itself. So because of that, there has to be really, really good filtering system at the drinking water source.

So this allows the municipalities and some of these folks, and by the way, this is, you know, the projection is that this could be as many as $30 billion worth of a problem. But we made the first step. I started with DuPont in, with DuPont, I guess three weeks ago, four weeks ago, settled for $1.4 billion. And then 3M came in and they came to the table. They said, well, we gotta fix it after a lot of years, us beating the hell out of them. And, so anyway, we’re making progress. And that’s what corporations should do. You know, a responsible corporation says, look, we got this problem, it’s not gonna go away. We made some bad mistakes. The people making these decisions for them now, they’re not the people who made the decision to put this in the environment.

Farron Cousins: See, that’s a great point. I was actually just about to bring that up, because the people who did this, the people who actually said, yeah, go ahead, dump it out there. They’ve been gone from the company for decades, some of them. Many of them died years ago because these decisions were made, you know, in the fifties and the sixties. But the people there now are the ones who have to pay the price. And that’s actually the CEO mentality across corporate America today.

Mike Papantonio: And the CEO of this company right now, he’s very responsible. I mean, this guy, these folks that are running the show now, there’s no way on earth that they would’ve made the decisions that were made 50 years ago. No, there’s no way on earth they would’ve done that. But it’s like a musical chairs. Now they’re moving around and it’s caught ’em and so now they have to figure out how to get out of it. So attribute, you know, really attribute to them for saying, good on you. You know, you see that there’s a way to do this. Let’s get it done.

We recently talked about a drug company, Merck, suing the federal government because they don’t want to lower the cost of their drugs. That lawsuit’s now expanded with groups like the US Chamber of Commerce and Big Pharma in front of groups joining in to keep prices high for American consumers. This story makes you want to put your finger down your throat and look for a gag reflex. Pick it up would you.

Farron Cousins: You know, we go from talking about actual CEOs that are doing the responsible thing and now we’re talking about CEOs that are just nothing but the epitome of greed. The worst of the worst that humankind has to offer. Because what these companies are doing, you know, we talked about Merck previously, US Chamber joins in, of course, the front group PhRMA is joined in. You’ve got these other groups masquerading as medical groups, but it’s actually just pharma executives sitting on boards of the gastroenterological society. No, you’re a pharma front group. And they’ve all filed briefs and lawsuits saying that the administration’s plan to negotiate Medicare prices violates our freedom of speech. And our freedom of speech says we need to screw over American consumers.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. Oh, we have the right to. If we wanna say, if we wanna price gouge, if we want to take a drug and raise it by 4000%, you and I have both seen those cases, 4000%. Then we ought to be able to do it because it’s our First Amendment right to do it. It’s also our Fifth Amendment right. I read their response. It is like a bunch of, I swear to God, high school sophomores wrote their response. And I love it because it’s costing, you know, it’s costing Merck and it’s costing the US Chamber of Commerce, again, US Chamber of Commerce is behind this. They don’t want people that, they don’t want people that are elderly or people who are disabled to be in a position where they can actually afford the drug. Let me give you a caveat on this. There was an attempt, we did a story on this several weeks ago, there was an attempt to actually lower the age of Medicare folks that are able to get Medicare. You know who defeated that? Pelosi.

Farron Cousins: Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s right.

Mike Papantonio: Pelosi. Pelosi defeated this.

Farron Cousins: I forgot about that.

Mike Papantonio: Which opened the door because, you see the pharmaceutical companies, they want insurance companies to pay because they can charge more. This is a perfect example. So you have the US Chamber of Commerce, Merck, Bristol Myers all gone in and saying, you’ve violated our constitutional right. If the, and they filed this in three separate courts, because they want a difference in opinion to take it to the Supreme Court. It’s like a high school sophomore idiot wrote their response. It’s indefensible.

Farron Cousins: It’s really funny because, you know, you brought up the fact that they’re using the Fifth Amendment argument. When Merck originally filed it, the Fifth Amendment wasn’t there. They only tried to argue the First Amendment. We sat here talking about how stupid it was.

Mike Papantonio: That’s right.

Farron Cousins: So now the other groups say, okay, well what if we also say Fifth Amendment.

Mike Papantonio: Let’s try this.

Farron Cousins: So they know how bad their arguments are and that’s why a lot of these groups have swooped in to save them.

Mike Papantonio: They’re paying these law firms tons of millions of dollars. And these law firms, sure. We’ll take your money. You want a 17th amendment in there too? Let’s throw it in. God, it’s disgusting. Farron, thanks for joining me.

Farron Cousins: Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: That’s all for this week. But all these segments are gonna be available throughout the next week. And make sure you follow us on Twitter @AmericasLawyer. I’m Mike Papantonio, and this has been America’s Lawyer, where we tell you the stories that corporate media won’t tell you because their advertisers won’t let ’em or their political involvement, their political connections don’t allow for it because it’s become so tribal. If it’s Republican, they have to defend Republican. If it’s Democrat, they have to defend Democrat. We’ll see you next time.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.