Hunter Biden defends work in Ukraine, China in face of Trump attacks
Joe Biden's son says he would not work for a foreign-owned company if his father is elected president
Hunter Biden, the son of former U.S. vice-president Joe Biden, for the first time on Sunday defended his work in Ukraine and China, after sustained criticism from Republican President Donald Trump that has embroiled the president in an impeachment inquiry.
Hunter Biden, who has remained silent for months in the face of the attacks, said through his lawyer that he was stepping down from the board of a Chinese company that has been the subject of criticism from Trump and his allies. He said he would not work for a foreign-owned company if his father, who's a candidate for the Democratic leadership is elected president in 2020.
"Hunter undertook these business activities independently," his attorney George Mesires said in a statement. "He did not believe it appropriate to discuss them with his father, nor did he."
In an internet statement, Mesires outlined Hunter Biden's commitment should his father be elected: "Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests. In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies."
He continued: "He will continue to keep his father personally uninvolved in his business affairs, while availing himself as necessary and appropriate to the Office of the White House Counsel to help inform his application of the Biden administration's guidelines or standards to his business decision-making."
Trump's accusations against Hunter Biden — which the president has levied without any evidence — and his efforts to get officials in Ukraine to investigate led Democrats in the U.S. House last month to begin the Trump impeachment inquiry. Democrats assert Trump risked U.S. national security when he withheld aid to Ukraine while simultaneously pressing the country to investigate the Bidens for his own political gain.
If impeached, Trump could face a trial in the U.S. Senate where the ultimate punishment would be removal from office.
Joe Biden currently leads most public opinion polls in the Democratic primary and most polls in a hypothetical matchup between the former vice-president and Trump in the November 2020 election.
Joe Biden has also defended his son's work, accusing Trump of only attacking his son because he sees Joe Biden as a threat to his re-election.
The most recent bout of attacks from Trump have focused on Hunter Biden's work on the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, a Chinese firm that was founded to spend Chinese investment capital outside the country.
Hunter Biden to step down from Chinese firm
Hunter Biden invested about $420,000 US in the company to obtain an equity stake, but has received no profit since then, according to his attorney.
Hunter Biden intends to step down from the board by Oct. 31, according to the statement. He did not give a reason for his decision to leave the board.
Trump implored the Chinese to investigate Hunter Biden's role in the company in remarks last week at the White House.
Republicans reacted to news of Hunter Biden's decision to step away from the Chinese-backed BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Company with deep skepticism.
"I think this is just another way to save a flailing campaign that's going down. He knows he's in trouble and this is just another way to try and detract attention," Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House judiciary xommittee, said on Fox News Channel's Sunday Morning Futures.
On the same show, White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway said Hunter Biden "should have done this quite a while ago."
"This is a part of how Donald Trump won in the first place saying that we're going to get rid of these sweetheart deals, we're going to make sure that we clean up the axis of power in a place like Washington, D.C., where someone like Hunter Biden gets a $50,000 a month retainer for Ukrainian energy company when everybody knows that he doesn't have that skill set."
Separately, Hunter Biden's lawyer detailed his work at Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine, saying while he worked there, he faced no allegations of wrongdoing. Hunter Biden left the company in April.
"Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term," Mesires said.
With files from the Associated Press