WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said his family members would not engage in any business abroad if he were to win the White House next year, citing the activities of United States (US) President Donald Trump’s children as problematic.
But the former vice president defended his son Hunter’s work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, which has become a focus for Republicans in the impeachment probe swirling around Trump.
“They will not be engaged in any foreign business because of what’s happened in this administration,” Biden said in an interview with Axios on HBO that aired last Sunday on the cable network.
“No one’s going to be seeking patents for things from China. No one’s going to be engaged in that kind of thing,” he added.
“If you want to talk about problems, let’s talk about Trump’s family.”
During Trump’s administration, his daughter Ivanka – a senior White House aide – obtained initial approval for a number of trademarks for her fashion label, which has since closed.
The wide-ranging interview was part of a media blitz as the 77-year-old looks to consolidate his position as the frontrunner in the Democratic Party contest to take on Trump in 2020.
Biden was adamant in his defence of his son’s work at Burisma, which has been the target of corruption accusations, though Hunter Biden has not been personally accused of criminal wrongdoing.
He admitted, however, he didn’t know what Hunter’s responsibilities were at Burisma. “I don’t know what he was doing. 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,” Biden said.
Asked whether he wanted to know more, Biden said, “No. Because I trust my son.”
“You know there’s not one single bit of evidence, not one little tiny bit, to say anything done was wrong. You know that,” a combative Biden added.
Democrats accuse Trump of linking military aid and a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to a request that Kiev investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.