POLITICS

Biden Says He's Still 'Front-Runner' Despite Attacks Over Son's Ukraine Work

The former vice president also called Trump an "idiot" for refusing to recognize Russian attempts to influence the 2020 election.

Former Vice President Joe Biden once again defended his son, Hunter Biden, during an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, saying he didn’t do a “single thing wrong” and pledging that should he be elected none of his children would serve in his administration.

“He’s a grown man,” Biden said. “I’ve never discussed my business or their business, I’ve never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job.”

Biden made the comments to host Norah O’Donnell, who asked about the ongoing House impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump’s behavior.

The former vice president has been at the center of the investigation into Trump’s alleged demand for a quid pro quo from the leader of Ukraine. Critics have accused the president of withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from the country unless it opened an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Neither Biden has been accused of any wrongdoing, although they have been subject to false political ads claiming as much.

Biden said Sunday once more that he hadn’t discussed Hunter’s work in Ukraine. But he said that should he be elected in 2020, none of his children would have an office in the White House or “sit in on Cabinet meetings.” The comments directly targeted Trump’s children, including Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who hold senior roles in the administration.

“Their actions speak for themselves,” Biden said. “What you should make it clear to the American public is the idea that everything you’re doing is for them.”

The Trump campaign defended Ivanka Trump and Kushner last week after Biden’s remarks were first made public, saying the pair were “instrumental” in major administration decisions. 

Despite the unfolding scandal over Ukraine, Biden said he was still on top of the 2020 Democratic field, saying the country needed “somebody who on day one knows exactly what to do, can command the world stage.”

“No one wonders whether I know a great deal about these issues in foreign policy and domestic policy. They’re things I’ve done,” he said, later adding: “I know I’m the front-runner. Find me a national poll with a notable couple exceptions. This is a marathon.”

Biden also levied harsh criticism at Trump, calling the president an “idiot” for refusing to admit that the Russian government was attempting to, once again, influence American elections.

“Everybody knows this, nobody doubts it,” Biden said.

O’Donnell noted that Biden’s campaign had just under $9 million cash on hand while some of his rivals were sitting on much bigger war chests, including Sen. Bernie Sanders ($33.7 million) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren ($25.7 million). But the former veep said he wasn’t troubled by those figures, saying: “We’re on course to do extremely well. I’m not worried about being able to fund this campaign.”

Biden also noted that he has asked former President Barack Obama not to endorse him in the 2020 presidential race, saying he wanted to win the Democratic nomination on his own merits.

“I want to earn this on my own,” Biden said. “I asked him not to, he said okay. I think it’s better, I think he thinks it’s better for me.”

He continued: “I have no doubt that when I’m the nominee he’ll be out on the campaign trail for me.”

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