Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Oct. 20 that there is “no basis” for allegations that his son Hunter Biden profited from arranging access to his father while he served as vice president.
Biden made the remarks to Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN 12 News in an interview that discussed the former vice president’s expectations around the November election and his views on the Trump administration’s response to the outbreak of the CCP virus.
Toward the end of the interview, reporter Adrienne Pedersen asked Biden about claims made by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who on Sept. 18 released a report (pdf) titled “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns,” which claimed that “Hunter Biden was not the only Biden who cashed in on Joe Biden’s vice presidency.”
“Wisconsin’s Republican Senator Ron Johnson put out a statement on Homeland Security letterhead saying Hunter Biden, together with other Biden family members, profited off the Biden name. Is there any legitimacy to Senator Johnson’s claims?” Pedersen asked.
“None whatsoever. This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s henchman—it’s a last-ditch effort in his desperate campaign to smear me and my family. Even the man who served with him on that committee, the former nominee for the Republican Party, said there’s no basis to this, and you know, the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said there’s no basis at all. Ron should be ashamed of himself,” Biden replied.
Biden was referring to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which along with the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance put out the report Pedersen was presumably referring to.
Romney said prior to the report’s release that what he called the “Biden–Burisma” inquiry from the “outset had the earmarks of a political exercise.”
Romney’s office didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on recent reports around the alleged Hunter Biden emails and the claims contained in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs report.
In mentioning the “vast majority of the intelligence people,” Biden was apparently referring to a letter signed by more than 50 former intelligence officials (pdf), led by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan. The letter claims that, in regards to the alleged Hunter Biden emails, “there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.”
“The arrival on the U.S. political scene of emails purportedly belonging to Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, much of it related to his time serving on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” they wrote, adding the caveat that they don’t know if the emails are genuine and that they have no evidence of Russian involvement.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox News on Oct. 19 that there’s no evidence tying the case of the Hunter Biden laptop to Russian disinformation.
The FBI, meanwhile, in an Oct. 20 letter addressed to Johnson, said that it has “nothing to add at this time” to Ratcliffe’s statement.
The controversy surrounding the case stems from alleged Hunter Biden emails reportedly found on a hard drive that was given to the New York Post by President Donald Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The NY Post last week reported that Hunter Biden allegedly introduced his father, who was vice president at the time, to a top executive at Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the younger Biden sat.
Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the Burisma board, appeared to have sent an email thanking Hunter Biden for the “opportunity” to meet his father. The email was dated April 17, 2015.
Biden’s campaign denied the reported meeting. Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said the former vice president had “carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing,” and that some “Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”
In response to questions around the sourcing of the laptop and its contents, Giuliani told The Epoch Times that his team took three weeks to authenticate the alleged Hunter Biden materials found on the hard drive.
The Democrats, along with some media, claim the Hunter Biden stories published by the NY Post are “Russian disinformation” and a “false narrative.”
Jack Phillips and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.