Joe Biden’s campaign completely denied a report that the former vice president met with a Ukrainian businessman who worked with his son, Hunter.
The campaign said that “no meeting” between Biden and Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, “ever took place” after a New York Post report on Wednesday titled “Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad” claimed that Hunter Biden introduced the two during his father’s time as vice president. The campaign also noted that there have been a multitude of investigations into claims of corruption surrounding the Bidens and their ties to Burisma.
“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,” Biden campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates told Politico.
He also criticized the Post for not asking about “critical elements of the story,” and noted that they never mentioned the involvement of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has played a role in investigating the connections between Biden and Ukraine in the lead up to the president’s impeachment in the House and acquittal in the Senate. Giuliani was given a copy of the computer hard drive after it was left at a computer repair store, purportedly by Hunter Biden.
“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,” Bates added. “Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
The computer repair shop owner who allegedly came into possession of Hunter Biden’s computer told the New York Post that he made a copy of the computer’s hard drive and provided it to a lawyer for Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani before handing it over to federal investigators. The outlet said former Trump adviser Steve Bannon alerted the outlet about the hard drive’s existence in September, and Giuliani handed over a copy of it on Sunday.
Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, told Fox News on Wednesday the computer hard drive contained an estimated 40,000 emails as well as thousands of texts, plus photos and videos of the former vice president’s son in “very compromising positions.”
A September report by Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley warned that Hunter Biden’s lucrative position on the board of Burisma created concerns during the Obama administration. Much of the report’s focus is on Joe Biden’s role helping guide the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy while Hunter Biden received a lucrative position in 2014 on the board of an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, run by Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, which the Republicans said “created an immediate potential conflict of interest that would prove to be problematic for both U.S. and Ukrainian officials and would affect the implementation of Ukraine policy.”
Johnson’s committee said Wednesday that it would be investigating the newly surfaced claims related to Hunter Biden too.
Hunter’s role with Burisma has long been scrutinized by Republicans, and it ultimately led to President Trump urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate claims of corruption, which spurred his impeachment in the House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal in the Senate.
Giuliani was a staunch defender of Trump throughout the impeachment process and worked with numerous sources inside the U.S. and abroad, including Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach and others, to push allegations that Joe Biden had abused his power in Ukraine.
Bill Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, released an intelligence assessment in early August warning that Russia is “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate” Biden, and that Derkach “is spreading claims about corruption — including through publicizing leaked phone calls — to undermine” Biden. The same statement also said China “prefers” that Trump not win reelection and is “expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020.” The counterintelligence official also said Iran “seeks to undermine” Trump’s presidency.
The Treasury Department announced sanctions against Derkach this summer. There is no evidence that the leaked emails from Hunter Biden and Burisma were connected to Derkach or Russia.
During a phone call last summer, Zelensky expressed interest in purchasing anti-tank weaponry, and Trump asked Zelensky “to do us a favor though” by looking into the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and possible Ukrainian meddling in 2016. Trump also urged Zelensky to investigate “the other thing,” referring to allegations of corruption involving Joe and Hunter Biden.
Trump and his Republican allies have questioned why Burisma gave Hunter a high-paying position despite him having little experience in the energy sector and a well-documented problem with drug use. Trump, Giuliani, and other allies claim Biden improperly used his position as vice president to pressure Ukraine to fire Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to protect his son from an investigation into Burisma. Democrats deny there was any wrongdoing, arguing that the claims of corruption are political smears. Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukraine did not fire Shokin, who was criticized by many in the West for not doing enough to crack down on corruption.
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