The campaign for Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday refuted a New York Post report of newly uncovered emails that suggested son Hunter Biden introduced his father, who was serving as the vice president, to a top Ukrainian natural gas executive at Hunter’s request.
The emails were found in a laptop that was sent to a repair shop in 2019, according to the NY Post, which also reported that a copy of the hard drive was sent to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath,” the Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement to news outlets on Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting is mentioned in an email to Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company. The email was allegedly sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, which is about a year after he joined the Burisma board.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the purported email from Pozharskyi to Hunter said.
The reported meeting took place before the former vice president allegedly pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma at the time. Biden once said on video that he successfully got Ukraine to fire Shokin while he was the Obama administration’s point-man in Ukraine, although officials had alleged that Shokin himself was corrupt. “I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden said during a Council on Foreign Relations meeting in 2018.
“Well, son of a [expletive],” he continued. “He got fired.”
Joe Biden has said that the Obama administration wanted Shokin removed due to corruption concerns.
Another email from 2014 showed Pozharskyi asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on behalf of Burisma during a possible shakedown attempt of its founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, according to the NY Post. Hunter Biden responded and said he was with business partner Devon Archer in Doha, Qatar, and wanted more details about “the formal (if any) accusations being made against Burisma.”
“Who is ultimately behind these attacks on the company? Who in the current interim government could put an end to such attacks?” Hunter Biden added.
Ukrainian officials have long suspected Burisma and its founder of corruption. The current whereabouts of Zlochevsky are unknown. The firm was at the center of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Biden has previously said that he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” in Ukraine or elsewhere. However, Hunter’s ties in Ukraine as well as China have been the subject of much scrutiny from Republicans and Trump, who attempted to highlight Hunter’s connections during their first presidential debate last month.
On Wednesday, Biden’s campaign suggested the NY Post didn’t engage in ethical journalistic practice by not “[asking] the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story.”
“They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani—whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported—claimed to have such materials,” the campaign added. It further elaborated in saying that “we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
Hunter’s role on Burisma’s board was highlighted during the impeachment inquiry of Trump in 2019. During a July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked his counterpart to “look into” the Bidens’ role in Ukraine and Burisma. The phone call sparked a whistleblower complaint, with top congressional Democrats accusing Trump of a quid pro quo arrangement.
Trump was ultimately acquitted on both impeachment charges in February 2020.
Biden’s campaign hasn’t responded to a request for comment.