After months of silence, Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, spoke up for the first time on Sunday, defending his work in Ukraine and China even as he vowed to make some changes. In a statement through his attorney, Hunter Biden said he would be stepping down from the board of a Chinese company. And went even further by saying he would not work for any foreign-owned company if his father is elected president.
Biden, 49, currently serves on the board of BHR, an equity investment fund manager. He will step down by the end of the month. Trump has accused Biden’s son of using his political connections to get China to invest $1.5 billion in a fund he was involved in, although he has never presented any evidence to support that assertion. The president has also asserted with no evidence that Biden was trying to help his son when he pressured Ukraine to fire the country’s prosecutor general.
“Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established U.S. policy, regardless of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests,” the statement by by attorney George Mesires said. “He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the President of the United States.”
The statement went on to note that if Biden wins the presidential election in 2020, “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.”
Biden’s campaign said it only learned about the statement a day before it was sent out. But it marked the first time since the issue has emerged that Hunter Biden spoke up and made a specific commitment to try to quell the controversy. And it seems to be an acknowledgment by Biden’s allies that recognizes Hunter Biden’s work could raise some questions about his father’s candidacy. Coming days before the fourth Democratic primary debate, “Hunter Biden’s decision to leave the Chinese company could help defuse the issue at a time when some of Mr. Biden’s lower-polling Democratic rivals have suggested his son’s work overseas raises questions about conflict of interest,” notes the New York Times.
Hunter Biden joined the board of BHR “based on his interest in seeking ways to bring Chinese capital to international markets,” notes the statement, which adds that it was an unpaid position. Still, Trump’s allies used the statement to suggest that it shows there was something fishy about his business dealings. “He should have done this quite a while ago,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to Trump, said on Sunday. “In fact, he probably shouldn’t have been on the board to begin with.”
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