No regrets at all? Well, perhaps, Hunter Biden allows during his no-holds-barred interview with ABC News. “However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is — it’s a swamp, in many ways? Yeah,” Biden says, while also admitting that he isn’t sure whether he got appointed to the Burisma board because of his father, who was at the time the Vice President of the United States.
For the most part, though, Biden fils accuses Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump of peddling conspiracy theories about him and his father Joe Biden:
“In retrospect, look, I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Is that I think that it was poor judgment because I don’t believe now, when I look back on it — I know that there was — did nothing wrong at all,” said Biden. However, was it poor judgment to be in the middle of something that is…a swamp in—in—in many ways? Yeah.”
“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,” Hunter Biden told ABC News in an exclusive interview. “So I take full responsibility for that. Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever.”
Give Amy Robach credit for asking a few tough questions in this interview, especially when it comes to his qualifications to sit on the board of a Ukrainian energy corporation. Even after all of the months of focus on his work with Burisma, Hunter has not come up with a convincing reason for his hire other than his last name. When Robach asks about his qualifications for the job, she pointedly notes what’s missing:
BIDEN: … No one buys this idea that I was unqualified to be on the board.
ROBACH: What were your qualifications to be on the board of Burisma?
BIDEN: Well, I was vice chairman of the board of Amtrak for five years. I was the chairman of the board of the U.N. World Food Program. I was a lawyer for Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the most prestigious law firms in — in the world. I think that I had as much knowledge as anybody else that was on the board — if not more.
First off, let’s muse over how Hunter Biden built that resumé, regardless of its utility to natural-gas operations in Ukraine. How did Biden ever get on the board of Amtrak, one his father’s pet projects in the Senate for almost forty years? Hmmm. And how did he get to be a lawyer for the law firm whose chair represented Al Gore in the 2000 election fight? Hmmm.
For some reason, that didn’t impress Robach:
ROBACH: You didn’t have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine itself, though?
BIDEN: Uh, no, but I think that I had as much knowledge as anybody else that was on the board.
And in the end, even Hunter admits that his last name probably was the only entry on the resumé that mattered:
ROBACH: If your last name wasn’t Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?
BIDEN: I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not. I don’t think there’s a lot of things in my life that [would have happened] if my last name wasn’t Biden.
Precisely. So let’s connect the dots that Biden spends the rest of the interview denying they exist. If a corrupt foreign oligarch hires you because your last name is the same as the Vice President who’s taking a personal interest in that country, what purpose are you serving? More importantly, whose purpose are you serving, and what does that say about the actions of the Vice President in relation to those purposes?
And that’s just the issue in Ukraine. Robach avoids connecting dots about China, where Hunter flew with his father to make business connections with state-backed companies. She focuses on Trump’s ludicrous claim that Biden got $1.5 billion off that trip, but Hunter was conducting his personal business in China while flying with his father the VP. What message did Hunter think that sent to Beijing? For that matter, what message does Joe think it sent?
Speaking of messaging, expect plenty of narrative-building off this interview in other media outlets that declare the Bidens’ ethics issues resolved. That was Hunter’s mission, and his father’s campaign will certainly push that message today and in days to come. However, it’s pretty clear that neither Biden really has an answer for Hunter’s sudden good fortune in Ukraine and China while his father ran official US policy in both countries, other than orange man bad. Will that be enough for the US media? Almost assuredly yes.
Update: To extend the argument about Hunter’s claims about his resumé, it’s instructive to recall how he got appointed to the Amtrak board in the first place. Joe Biden’s Delaware colleague in the Senate, Thomas Carper, argued that his appointment was justified because “Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains.” No, I’m not kidding:
Hunter Biden is a native Delawarian and I would go on to say that he’s also been nominated to serve on the Amtrak Board of Directors. When Hunter was unable to get into the University of Delaware, he instead went on to Georgetown and then to Yale Law School and managed to get through those OK. He’s ended up being Senior Vice President at MBNA one of the largest financial institutions in the country. He served as Executive Director of Economy Policy Coordination at the U.S. Department of Commerce. About 5 years ago he went off and formed a law firm here in Washington, D.C., and now they represent over 100 clients including a bunch of non-profit organizations and
More specifically, though, and for our purposes and for the purpose of this nomination, Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains. Like his father, like our Congressman, Mike Castle and myself, Hunter Biden has lived in Delaware while using Amtrak to commute to his job as we commute to our job in Washington almost every day of the week. You know, you learn a lot about what could work and what would work better at Amtrak by riding trains and talking to the passengers, the commuters, the passengers, the folks who work on the trains and make them work every day. You also have a chance to see the huge economic benefit the region receives from having a strong passenger rail corridor, something that should be available in a lot of other parts of our country.