Former Vice President Joe Biden said he doesn’t know what work his son Hunter Biden did in Ukraine while serving on the board of an energy company there for five years, but noted that it didn’t matter “because I trust my son.”
“I don’t know what he was doing,” Biden said of his son’s work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, in an interview with “Axios on HBO” on Sunday. “I know he was on the board. I found out he was on the board after he was on the board, and that was it.”
HuffPost has reached out to the Biden campaign for clarification on the remarks.
The former vice president, a frontrunner in the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination, has been forced to go on defense for months, after a whistleblower revealed that President Donald Trump had pressured the newly elected Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens in July while peddling unfounded theories about the younger Biden’s work for the company, which paid him as much as $50,000 a month.
Trump’s demand for a political favor is the focus of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing by either Biden. The former vice president was tasked with overseeing an anti-corruption initiative in Ukraine while serving under President Barack Obama.
Hunter Biden has defended his work amid the scrutiny, saying in an interview in October that he did nothing “improper,” while admitting that it may have been “poor judgement” to sign up for the job.
Axios asked how Biden would address questions about his son’s work as the 2020 race heats up, noting that even though he hadn’t been accused of impropriety, “the average Joe hears that and says that sounds fishy.”
Axios: You’ve had a lot of time, isn’t this something you want to get to the bottom of?
Biden: No, because I trust my son.
Axios: When you’re vice president, isn’t there a higher standard? Don’t you need to know what’s happening with your family? Don’t you need to put down some guardrails?
Biden: No, unless there was something on its face that was wrong. There’s nothing on its face that was wrong. … You know there’s not one single bit of evidence, not one little tiny bit, to say anything done was wrong, you know that. But you keep asking me these questions.
Biden has grown increasingly frustrated over questions about his son’s involvements in Ukraine in recent days. During an event in Iowa earlier this week, the former vice president snapped at a voter — and challenged him to a push-up contest — after the man hinted that Biden had helped set his son up with the board position.
“You’re a damn liar,” Biden told the man, whose comments echoed debunked conspiracy theories. “That’s not true.”
Biden also clarified Sunday that should he be elected to the White House next year, no members of his family would undertake foreign business while he served as president, drawing a contrast with the Trump family’s ongoing work overseas.
“They will not be engaged in any foreign business because of what’s happened in this administration,” Biden said. “No one’s going to be seeking patents. … No one’s going to be engaged in that kind of thing.”