Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden will step down from a Chinese-backed private equity firm, his lawyer said in a statement posted to Medium defending the former vice president’s son’s work abroad for the first time since it has become a major issue in the 2020 presidential cycle.
Through his attorney George Mesires, the younger Biden defended his past relationships with foreign businesses while pledging to avoid any future work that might pose conflicts of interest should his father win the White House. Miseres said that at no time has the former vice president’s 49-year-old son engaged in any wrongdoing related to his affiliation with a Ukrainian energy company, and details the limited role he plays as a member of the board of directors with a private equity firm with ties to Chinese state-owned businesses.
Hunter took on both business relationships "independently," and "did not believe it appropriate to discuss them with his father, or did he," Mesires wrote. "Hunter always understood that his father would be guided, entirely and unequivocally, by established U.S. policy, irrespective of its effects on Hunter’s professional interests."
The younger Biden would commit, however, to "readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests," Mesires continues, and won’t serve on any boards or work on behalf of foreign-owned companies."
Regarding Bursima, the Ukrainian gas company Hunter sat on the board of until earlier this year, Mesires wrote that Hunter, of counsel with Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, advised the company on its "corporate reform initiatives" and joined the board after board member Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former president of Poland, recommended he join.
"Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term," Mesires wrote.
Mesires added that Hunter "intends to resign from" the board of directors of a Chinese-backed private equity firm by the end of the month.
The statement comes weeks after congressional Democrats took formal steps to launch an impeachment inquiry largely centered efforts from President Donald Trump and his allies in seeking foreign help to investigate the Bidens.
The elder Biden only this week formally joined most in his party in saying the president’s actions rose to the level of impeachable offenses. But his campaign has worked aggressively to push back on the unsubstantiated claims that Biden had taken steps to protect his son from an investigation involving a Ukrainian energy company whose board he served on.
Biden has been reluctant to discuss his son’s work overseas, addressing it most directly in a pair of interviews with local media outlets. In an interview with Boston’s WBZ-TV this week, Biden said he purposely does not talk to family members about their business dealings because he never wanted to get blamed for improper behavior, and said that his son "did nothing wrong."
"He’s a fine man, he’s been through hell," he told the Reno Gazette-Journal a week earlier. "But look, we’re family. We’ve been through a lot worse."
After Hunter released his statement, the elder Biden declared, "No one in my family will have an office in the White House."
Trump’s campaign, undeterred by the threat of impeachment, has only ramped up its focus on Biden’s son. At a campaign rally this week in Minnesota, the president repeatedly invoked his name while his own son led the crowd in a chant of "Lock Him Up."
"WHERE’S HUNTER?" Trump tweeted Friday night.
Mesires wrote that Hunter always "believed that he was acting appropriately and in good faith” in his professional dealings, and "never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States."
Hunter's Ukrainian and Chinese business dealings have come under fire from the president and his allies, leading Trump to privately and publicly call for Ukraine and China to probe one of his top political rivals. The president's July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkiy, in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart for a "favor" that included Ukraine probing a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election and the Biden family, set off a series of events that led to the impeachment inquiry.
Trump has also repeatedly accused Hunter of using a 2013 trip on Air Force Two with his father to procure $1.5 billion from China for a private equity fund he had started. There has been no evidence of corruption on behalf of either Biden.
Critics have claimed hypocrisy on behalf of the president, whose own children have regularly engaged in international business dealings since Trump took office.
Speaking with Fox News Radio last week, the president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. said: "We were businessmen before my father went into politics."
"We actually stopped doing all new international deals. Now, I have a contractual obligation to do the deals that we had signed up before he was president. That’s what you do," Trump Jr. said, adding, "We’re finishing off the deals that we had in the works prior to becoming politicians."