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Joe Biden denied that his family has profited from his public offices, appearing to contradict a statement his son Hunter Biden made last year in which he said he thinks he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board of a Ukrainian energy company if he were not Biden’s son.
In an interview published Wednesday, the Democratic presidential nominee was asked about Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s claim that Hunter Biden along with other Biden family members profited off the family name, an accusation that has become a frequent attack line by the Trump campaign less than two weeks out from the election.
“Is there any legitimacy to Senator Johnson’s claim?” WISN 12 News’s Adrienne Pedersen asked Biden.
“None whatsoever,” Biden responded, calling the accusations “garbage” promoted by “Trump’s henchman,” Rudy Guiliani.
“It’s a last-ditch effort in his desperate campaign to smear me and my family,” Biden continued, citing Senator Mitt Romney in the former vice president’s argument that “there’s no basis to this.”
Romney serves on the Senate Homeland Security committee, which Johnson chairs, and in September criticized the committee’s probe of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, saying it is “not the legitimate role of government or Congress … to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”
“And the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said there’s no basis at all,” Biden added. “Ron should be ashamed of himself.”
Last week, the New York Post reported on leaked emails revealing high-dollar negotiations between his son Hunter Biden and foreign companies.
In leaked emails from 2014, Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, then-vice president Joe Biden, in negotiations regarding his lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma. He refers to his father, who was heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine at the time, as “my guy.”
Emails from 2017 show Biden discussing a deal with the former chairman of Chinese energy company CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, saying Ye agreed to improve the terms of Biden’s three-year consulting contract with CEFC, which initially promised Biden $10 million per-year “for introductions alone.” One of Biden’s business partners who was included on the chain confirmed the email’s authenticity to Fox News.
In an interview last year Hunter Biden appeared to contradict his father’s claim that the family name did not provide opportunities for profit.
“If your last name wasn’t Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?” ABC’s Amy Robach asked the younger Biden.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not. I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life that if my last name wasn’t Biden.”
Trump has claimed that “Biden and his son are stone cold crooked” and on Tuesday called on Attorney General William Barr to investigate the pair.
“We’ve got to get the attorney general to act,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News. “He’s got to act, and he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election.”