Hunter BidenPaul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

The FBI is interviewing Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner Tony Bobulinski on Friday in addition to getting copies of his phones, a top Republican senator said, meaning Bobulinski’s planned interview with two GOP-led Senate committees has been postponed.

“I appreciate that the FBI has a job to do, and I am glad they are finally taking an interest in these concerning financial matters that our committees have been investigating for months,” Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson said. “I expect that Mr. Bobulinski will speak with our committee as soon as possible and fully share his insights into the Biden family’s business dealings.”

Johnson’s committee also released a statement on Friday, saying, “This morning lawyers for Tony Bobulinski informed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Senate Finance Committee that the FBI asked his client to sit for an interview today in addition to providing copies of his phones. Consequently, the interview scheduled for this morning has been postponed. Mr. Bobulinski has agreed to honor his commitment to sit for an interview in the near future with the Committees.”

Newly released texts from Bobulinski suggest that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden met with Bobulinski, Hunter Biden, and his brother James Biden in 2017. At the time, Hunter and his associates were pursuing a potentially lucrative deal with a Chinese tycoon, complicating claims from the former vice president that he never discussed business dealings with his son.

The texts are part of a trove of hundreds of documents from Bobulinski obtained by the Washington Examiner, including dozens of WhatsApp messages, emails, letters, and business proposals. Bobulinski has provided the records to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, too. The records are separate from those purportedly on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Bobulinski, a former Navy lieutenant who has done business around the world, is listed as one of the recipients of a May 13, 2017, email detailing a business deal between a Chinese company and Hunter Biden.

“I am the CEO of Sinohawk Holdings, which was a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family. I was brought into the company to be the CEO by James Gilliar and Hunter Biden. The reference to ‘the Big Guy’ in the much-publicized May 13, 2017, email is, in fact, a reference to Joe Biden. The other ‘JB’ referenced in that email is Jim Biden, Joe’s brother,” Bobulinski said on Thursday. “Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my chairman’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing.”

The “big guy” email is from Gilliar, a member of the J2cR international consulting firm, to Hunter Biden and others, sent May 13, 2017, and it discusses “expectations” of a potential deal while claiming, “We have discussed and agreed the following renumeration packages.” The email noted that Hunter Biden would receive “850” ($850,000) and lists him as “Chair/Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC” — the China Energy Fund Committee.

CEFC China Energy is a multibillion-dollar Chinese conglomerate founded by Ye Jianming, a Chinese Communist Party-linked business tycoon who has since disappeared in China but with whom Hunter Biden had attempted to work out numerous deals. The email goes on to say that “at the moment there’s a provisional agreement that the equity will be distributed as follows,” including “20” (20%) for “H” (Hunter). The email also asks about “10 held by H for the big guy” as well as “10” for “Jim.”

Bobulinski spoke at a surprise press conference in Nashville just over an hour before the second and final presidential debate began, where he said he would be handing over three phones to the FBI today.

“I have heard Joe Biden say that he has never discussed business with Hunter. That is false. I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden,” Bobulinski said. “On May 2, 2017, the night before Joe Biden was to appear at the Milken conference, I was introduced to Joe Biden by Jim Biden and Hunter Biden. At my approximately hourlong meeting with Joe that night, we discussed the Bidens’s history and the Biden family’s business plans with the Chinese, with which he was plainly familiar, at least a high level.”

Bobulinski added: “On numerous occasions, it was made clear to me that Joe Biden’s involvement was not to be mentioned in writing but only face to face. In fact, I was advised by Gilliar and [Rob] Walker that Hunter and Jim Biden were paranoid about keeping Joe Biden’s involvement secret.”

Gilliar gave a statement to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

“I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure,” he said. “I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former Vice President.” The Wall Street Journal added that “Gilliar didn’t respond to a request for comment” when asked about the “big guy” email.

In September 2019, after being pressed by Fox News, Joe Biden said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” before adding, “Here’s what I know: Trump should be investigated.” That contrasts with what Hunter Biden told the New Yorker in July 2019, claiming he and his father did speak about his business dealings in Ukraine “just once.”

The Biden campaign denied that Joe Biden had been involved in any family business dealings or any overseas deals.

“Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business with his family nor in any overseas business whatsoever,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told the Washington Examiner. “He has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him.”

Johnson said Thursday that he was reaching out to all the recipients of the “big guy” email but that “so far, the committees have received a response only from Mr. Tony Bobulinski, who appears to be willing to fully cooperate with our investigation.”