Biden senior adviser defends Hunter, says he made his own decision to hold interview amid 'lies and smears' from Trump

Former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter made an independent decision to sit for an interview with ABC News, amid "lies and smears" from President Trump, according to Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders.

Hunter Biden's business activities in Ukraine and China are the conversation Trump wants the public to have to distract from bigger political issues, Sanders told Martha MacCallum Tuesday on "The Story."

"This was absolutely Hunter's decision to do the interview," she said.

"Frankly, for three weeks, Hunter Biden has been the focus of attacks, lies -- and, frankly, smears -- unsubstantiated smears by the administration, Donald Trump himself and the Trump campaign."

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Just before the interview on "The Story," host Martha MacCallum noted former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell -- a longtime ally of the Delaware senator -- said in retrospect Hunter should not have done the interview.

"I wouldn't have put Hunter on the air," Rendell told The Daily Beast.

MacCallum said the former Philadelphia mayor was also not alone as a Democrat in his reaction.

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In response, Sanders reiterated throughout the interview that the campaign does not "book the press" for other members of the Biden family and that the 49-year-old acted on his own.

"This was completely his decision," she continued. "Hunter spoke with conviction today. He was strong and forceful."

In addition, she compared what she considered the younger Biden's straightforwardness with that of Trump and his circle.

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"He answered every single question thrown at him," she said of Hunter. "That is more than what we can say for Donald Trump and also Rudy Giuliani."

Sanders continued, telling MacCallum it is Trump that brought Hunter Biden into the 2020 conversation.

"The only reason we're having this conversation is because Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani injected these lies and smears into the atmosphere and you know why they did it -- because Donald Trump is terrified of facing Vice President Biden in a general election."

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She pledged that if Biden wins in 2020, neither Hunter nor any other Biden family member will have offices in the West Wing, be sitting in on presidential-level meetings or the like -- pointing to members of Trump's family who are often seen in public with the president.

"I do believe I saw some criticism online about this from Donald Trump Jr. of all people," she said, claiming the first son is not someone, "we should all look to as an example."

She added that, in Tuesday's debate, she hoped Biden's fellow contenders will not make the conversation about things Trump wants Democrats to focus on.

"We hope that Democrats won't take the bait," she said.