The Story Behind Biden's Son, Ukraine and Trump's Claims - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Decision 2020

Decision 2020

The latest news on the race for president in 2020

The Story Behind Biden's Son, Ukraine and Trump's Claims

There's been no evidence of wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden or his son

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    The Story Behind Biden's Son, Ukraine and Trump's Claims
    In this file photo, Hunter Biden attends the T&C Philanthropy Summit with screening of "Generosity Of Eye" at Lincoln Center with Town & Country on May 28, 2014 in New York City.

    In 2014, then-Vice President Joe Biden was at the forefront of American diplomatic efforts to support Ukraine's fragile democratic government as it sought to fend off Russian aggression and root out corruption. So it raised eyebrows when Biden's son Hunter was hired by a Ukrainian gas company.

    The Obama White House said at the time that there was no conflict because the younger Biden was a private citizen. And there's been no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

    Yet the matter is back in the spotlight following revelations that President Donald Trump prodded Ukraine's president to help him investigate any corruption related to Joe Biden, now one of the top Democrats seeking to defeat Trump in 2020. Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani has also publicly urged Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens. 

    Hunter Biden was named a paid board member of Burisma Holdings in April 2014. The company's founder was a political ally of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, who was driven out in February 2014 by mass protests.

    Amb. Yovanovitch Responds to Trump’s Tweet During Testimony, Calls It ‘Very Intimidating’

    [NATL] Amb. Yovanovitch Responds to Trump’s Tweet During Testimony, Calls It ‘Very Intimidating’

    Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, responds to a tweet President Donald Trump published about her record as an ambassador.

    (Published Friday, Nov. 15, 2019)

    Yanukovych's ouster prompted the Obama administration to move quickly to deepen ties with Ukraine's new government. Joe Biden played a leading role, traveling to Ukraine and speaking frequently with its new Western-friendly president.

    The younger Biden's business role raised concerns among anticorruption advocates that Burisma was seeking to gain influence with the Obama administration. At the time, the company ran a natural gas extraction operation in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia after Yanukovych was pushed from power.

    Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma. He remained on the board through early 2019, often appearing at energy-related conferences abroad representing Burisma's interests.

    On Saturday, the former vice president said he never speaks to his son about his overseas business dealings.

    The matter, however, has continued to be questioned by Trump and his allies. They've pointed in particular to Biden's move in March 2016 to pressure the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who had previously led an investigation into Burisma's owner.

    Biden's was representing the official position of the U.S. government, a position that was also supported by other Western governments and many in Ukraine, who accused Shokin of being soft on corruption.

    Key Moments From Impeachment Hearing

    [NATL] Key Moments From Impeachment Hearing

    Here are key moments as they unfolded during Wednesday’s public impeachment hearings, which included testimony from U.S. diplomat William Taylor and State Department official George Kent.

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019)

    Corruption has continued to fester in Ukraine. In May, the country's new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, came into office with no political experience but with bold promises to put an end to the corrupt practices.

    Around this time, Giuliani began reaching out to Zelenskiy and his aides to press for a government investigation into Burisma and Hunter Biden's role with the company.

    In a Fox News interview on May 19, Trump claimed the former Ukrainian prosecutor "was after" Joe Biden's son and that was why the former vice president demanded he be fired. There is no evidence of this.

    Ukraine's current prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, was quoted by Bloomberg News in May as saying he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son. Bloomberg also reported that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time Biden pressed for Shokhin's ouster.

    Biden has accused Trump of making a baseless political smear and Democrats have pressed for investigations into whether the president improperly used his office to try to dig up damaging information about a political rival. The call came as the White House was holding up $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The matter has sparked a fierce debate over whether Trump misused his office for political gain and whether his administration is withholding from Congress critical information about his actions. The incident is part of a whistleblower complaint, but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share details with lawmakers, citing presidential privilege.