Hunter Biden defended his controversial overseas work in his first television interview after months of political attacks.
In a sit-down with ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired Tuesday, Biden took “full responsibility” for fueling accusations of corruption against his father, former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
He admitted to “poor judgement” by getting involved in a situation that he compared to a “swamp.”
“What I regret is not taking into account that there would be a Rudy Giuliani and a president of the United States that would be listening to this ridiculous conspiracy idea,” he told anchor Amy Robach.
“I gave a hook to some very unethical people to act in illegal ways to try to do some harm to my father. That’s where I made the mistake. So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
At the same time, though, Hunter Biden, 49, denied an “ethical lapse” and said he has no regrets about his foreign business dealings. He blamed President Donald Trump and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani for spreading a “ridiculous conspiracy idea” involving his work.
A number of conservative commentators on Twitter noted the apparent tension in Biden’s answers.
Hunter Biden tells ABC that he exercised "poor judgment" but also that he did "nothing wrong at all."
Says he takes "full responsibility" but also that he did nothing "improper… not in any way whatsoever."
Says he was in the middle of "a swamp." pic.twitter.com/EMoiiLWHR6
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) October 15, 2019
Hunter Biden gave ABC an interview under pressure
Biden is at the center of perhaps the largest scandal confronting U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump faces an impeachment inquiry stemming from a call he made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to urge the latter to investigate the Biden family over Hunter Biden’s involvement with the Burisma Group, a Ukrainian energy company.
The president’s unproven accusations against Hunter Biden and his efforts to get officials in Ukraine to investigate, led Democrats in the U.S. House last month to begin an impeachment inquiry.
Democrats assert Trump risked U.S. national security when he withheld aid to Ukraine while urging the probe into the Bidens for his own political gain.
Trump has accused Hunter Biden of using his father’s influence to help secure Chinese backing for his investments, and has publicly called on Beijing to investigate Biden’s role in the company. As vice president, Joe Biden urged the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor, which Trump and his allies have charged was done to benefit Burisma.
The Bidens have denied the allegation, and Trump and his allies have not produced evidence to support it.
Hunter Biden told ABC News that he never spoke with Joe Biden about his business dealings with Burisma Holdings. But he acknowledged they had a “brief exchange” about the role, leading to Twitter outcry on the right.
Hunter Biden admits to discussing corrupt foreign business deals with father @JoeBiden while VP Biden was overseeing China & Ukraine.
ABC: Did you speak with VP about deals?
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 15, 2019
A lawyer for Biden said Sunday that his client would leave the board of the Chinese private equity company by the end of October. He also said that if Joe Biden were elected president, Hunter Biden would “agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies.”
Asked by Robach why he had moved to step down, Biden said, “I think it’s pretty obvious why.”
“Because this is what becomes a distraction,” he continued. “Because I have to sit here and answer these questions.”
(Reporting by Makini Brice and Andy Sullivan.)