Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has remained mum on questions about his knowledge of his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings, which were discussed in a series of emails purportedly found on a laptop belonging to his son.
The New York Post last week published the controversial emails, which were later obtained by Fox News, related to Hunter Biden’s work with Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, as well as his work with a Chinese energy firm.
While the Biden campaign has hit back at the New York Post report, the former vice president himself has not given a sustantive answer on the emails.
Biden, over the weekend, was asked about the Post report by a CBS News reporter, to which he replied: “I have no response.”
It's "another smear campaign," he said.
One email, dated May 13, 2017, and obtained by Fox News, includes a discussion of “remuneration packages” for six people in a business deal with a Chinese energy firm. The email appeared to identify Hunter Biden as “Chair/ Vice Chair depending on an agreement with CEFC,” in an apparent reference to now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co.
The email includes a note that “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.” A proposed equity split references “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?” with no further details.
Fox News spoke to one of the people who was copied on the email, who confirmed its authenticity. Sources also told Fox News that “the big guy” was a reference to the former vice president.
While Biden has not commented on that email or his alleged involvement in any deals with the Chinese Energy firm, his campaign said it released the former vice president’s tax documents and returns, which show no involvement with Chinese investments.
Fox News also obtained an email last week that revealed an adviser of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, Vadym Pozharskyi, wrote an email to Hunter Biden on May 12, 2014, requesting “advice” on how he could use his “influence to convey a message” to “stop” what the company considers to be “politically motivated actions.”
“We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,” Pozharskyi wrote.
The email, part of a longer email chain obtained by Fox News, appeared to be referencing the firm’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, being under investigation.
Another email revealed that then-Vice President Biden, at his son’s request, allegedly met with Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C. The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation that Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015 — a year after Hunter took the position on the board of Burisma, and a year prior to Biden pushing to have Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin – who was investigating the founder of Burisma – removed from his post. Both the Obama administration and a number of Western European governments were pressuring Ukraine to remove Shokin over his failure to root out corruption in the former Soviet republic.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spend some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email read.
But Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates last week hit back against the New York Post story, saying: “Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”
The Biden campaign also told Fox News Sunday that the former vice president “never had a meeting” with Pozharskyi.
Biden, prior to the emails surfacing, repeatedly has claimed he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
Hunter Biden’s business dealings, and role on the board of Burisma, emerged during Trump’s impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop which was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post reported that other material turned up on the laptop, including a video, which they described as allegedly showing Hunter Biden smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman, as well as other sexually explicit images.
The FBI reportedly seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”
Giuliani did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
The former vice president is not expected to host or attend any public events until Thursday -- the date of the final presidential debate, where President Trump is expected to bring up allegations stemming from the emails.
"If Kristen Welker, the moderator, doesn't bring it up, I think you're pretty safe to assume that the president will," Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said Monday on FOX Business' "Mornings with Maria." "Again, these are real simple questions."
Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., over the weekend described the emails as being part of a smear coming "from the Kremlin."
“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff said on CNN. “That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about this vice president and his son.”
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Monday said Hunter Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign."
“Let me be clear: the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that," Ratcliffe said. "And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress.”
Ratcliffe went on to say that it is “simply not true" and that the laptop is “in the jurisdiction of the FBI.”
“The FBI has had possession of this,” he said. “Without commenting on any investigation that they may or may not have, their investigation is not centered around Russian disinformation and the intelligence community is not playing any role with respect to that.”
He added: “The intelligence community has not been involved in Hunter Biden’s laptop.”
A senior Trump administration official, however, told Fox News that the FBI was not investigating the emails as Russian disinformation.
The FBI declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, as is standard practice.
Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter Biden’s emails which reveal that he introduced his father, the former vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015.
Fox News' Mike Emanuel and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.