Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) believes that former vice president Joe Biden has a bit more explaining to do regarding the ongoing Ukrainian corruption scandal.
On Saturday, Biden was asked a question about his son, Hunter Biden, and the latter’s tenure on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. When pressed to describe the number of times the elder Biden had spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings, Joe Biden answered with a categorical denial of any such discussions:
I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.
That “never” answer, however, appears at odds with how the younger Biden remembers his and his father’s discussions vis-à-vis Burisma.
A July article headlined “Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign?” by Adam Entous in the New Yorker notes:
In December, 2015, as Joe Biden prepared to return to Ukraine, his aides braced for renewed scrutiny of Hunter’s relationship with Burisma. Amos Hochstein, the Obama Administration’s special envoy for energy policy, raised the matter with Biden, but did not go so far as to recommend that Hunter leave the board. As Hunter recalled, his father discussed Burisma with him just once: “Dad said, ‘I hope you know what you are doing,’ and I said, ‘I do.’ ”
Gonzalez was asked to account for the apparent discrepancy between the two Bidens’ dueling accounts of such alleged talks.
The scandal itself centers around allegations that Joe Biden played a pivotal role in sacking former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. As one side tells it, Biden threatened then Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with cessation of U.S. aid unless Shokin dropped an inquiry into whether Hunter Biden–along with his private equity firm Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC–and other members of Burisma’s board had received improper transfers of money.
Joe Biden has bragged about his role in ridding the Ukraine of Shokin–but the former vice president has downplayed the role his son played in that decision. To hear Biden and his defenders tell it, he was simply acting as the emissary of the Obama Administration and Shokin needed to go because he was actually being too light on perceived wrongdoers and corruption in the Ukraine.
Now, with the Ukraine corruption storyline veering off into several different directions, the Biden who is running for president looks to be increasingly vulnerable to attacks on his family’s business dealings. So much so, that even his stalwart supporters will appear on live television asking for answers: Gonzalez recently switched his presidential endorsement away from Julián Castro to Biden himself.
[image via screengrab/CNN]