Biden camp hits back at Hunter Biden email report suggesting then-VP met with Burisma execOctober 14, 2020
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The Biden campaign hit back Wednesday after the New York Post reported that newly uncovered emails suggested Hunter Biden introduced his father, then the vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 at Hunter's request.
The emails turned up in the hard drive of a laptop dropped off at a repair shop in 2019, the Post reported, adding that a copy of the hard drive ended up in the hands of Robert Costello, a lawyer for Rudy Giuliani, a personal attorney for President Trump.
"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," Bates continued. "They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani — whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported — claimed to have such materials."
Bates added: "Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place."
The campaign’s statement comes after the New York Post published an email indicating the former vice president met with a top executive for Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 at son Hunter Biden’s request.
The emails published by The Post indicated Biden’s son introduced the former vice president to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings less than a year before he pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the company. The issue of Hunter Biden and Burisma was a central issue during the Trump impeachment proceedings a year ago.
The meeting in question was revealed in the emails, according to the Post, which showed that the former vice president and his son met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington D.C.
The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation, according to the Post, that an adviser to the board Vadym Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015 — a year after Hunter took on his lucrative position on the board of Burisma.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads, according to The Post.
An earlier email from May 2014, according to The Post, indicates Pozharskyi, reportedly a top Burisma executive, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.
Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin, who was the top prosecutor at the time. He had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously said to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“Well, son of a b—-,” he continued. “He got fired.”
Biden, and Biden allies, have maintained, though, that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to the corruption concerns.
Biden has repeatedly claimed that he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
In October 2019, Biden said he “never” discusses “with my son or any family member what they’re doing because in fact what happens if you did that, then it’s well ‘are you engaged and in any way helping?’ I never had a discussion with my son about it.”
Biden added that Hunter “did say at one point that it came out that he was on the board, I said ‘I sure hope the hell you know what you’re doing, period.’”
Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday that the emails were contained in a trove of data recovered from a laptop computer, which, according to The Post, was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post reported that there was other material found on the laptop, including a video, which they described as showing Hunter smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman, as well as other sexually explicit images.
The FBI seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019, according to The Post. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
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A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”
Biden’s role on the board of Burisma and his business dealings emerged during the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Trump, during his now-infamous July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pressed for Kiev to look into the elder Biden's role pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine prompted a whistleblower complaint, and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.
Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – in February.
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