After laying low for weeks as President Trump and right-wing allies have assailed him over his ties to a Ukrainian energy company, Hunter Biden directly defended himself in an interview on ABC News. In it, he said that while he may have shown “poor judgment” in using his famous last name to advance his career, he had not broken the law.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father,” Biden said. “That’s where I made the mistake. So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
Hunter, whose turbulent personal life has put him in the spotlight before, has come under fire for serving on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, which paid him as much as $50,000 a month — even though he is not known to possess great energy expertise. “I don’t think there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life if my last name wasn’t Biden,” he allowed. But he said that he possessed as much knowledge, if not more, than the other members of the board.
He claimed that he never discussed the specifics of his position with his father, but that he had erred in not anticipating the political headaches it could cause him down the road. “In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part,” he said.
Commentators from across the political spectrum have found fault with Hunter’s name-trading in Ukraine. But Trump and his allies have gone well beyond such criticisms; they allege that Joe Biden used his clout to order the firing of a prosecutor because he had been in the process of investigating Hunter. No evidence has emerged to back up that claim, which of course has done nothing to keep the president from advancing it as he faces his own Ukraine-related mess.
Trump has been baiting Hunter for weeks, taunting him with the question “Where’s Hunter?” on Twitter and at rallies. His emergence is unlikely to quell the president’s criticisms.
Joe Biden, famously protective of his family, has been fairly reticent to engage with the president’s attacks, though he has ramped up his response in recent days, calling Trump a “bully” and “coward.” On Sunday, he pledged that nobody in his family would have an office in the White House or sit in on high-level government meetings — clear references to the children of President Trump.