Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he didn’t help his son arrange a television interview that aired this week.
Hunter Biden spoke with ABC for the first time since the younger Biden’s work in Ukraine and China was targeted by President Donald Trump, as revealed in the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The call took place in July; the transcript was released in late September.
Joe Biden, 76, said he didn’t “coordinate any of this” with his son.
“I did not coordinate any of this with my son. I didn’t even know he was having these long discussions for some time with ABC. I guess it’s ABC. Was it ABC? Yes. With ABC,” the former vice president told the Washington Examiner while campaigning in Ohio on Oct. 16.
People familiar with Hunter Biden’s decision to sit for an interview said he was probably under pressure from his legal representatives to respond directly to attacks by Trump and other top Republicans.
Trump asked Zelensky to “look into” both the Bidens in July.
Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, from 2014 to 2019, starting the position when his father was still in office. Joe Biden bragged last year that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid from Ukraine in 2016 unless then-President Petro Poroshenko ousted the country’s top prosecutor, who was at the time probing Burisma.
Ukraine’s new top prosecutor said recently he was reviewing cases that were closed in the past, including the one involving Burisma.
The Bidens have denied wrongdoing.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake,” Hunter Biden said in the interview, which aired on Oct. 15. “So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
Joe Biden has repeatedly faced questions about it on the campaign trail. During the 2020 debate on Tuesday night, a moderator noted that over the weekend Biden vowed not to let any of his relatives have a job with or a business relationship with foreign corporations or governments if he was elected president.
“If it’s not OK for a president’s family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it OK for your son when you were vice president?” the moderator, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, asked Biden.
“My son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Biden responded. “I followed the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine. That’s what we should focus on; my son’s statement speaks for itself.”
Both Hunter and Joe Biden said this week that they didn’t speak to each other about the younger Biden’s business dealings; Hunter Biden said earlier this year that he did speak to his father once about his work with Burisma.