President-elect Joe Biden said in a new interview that accusations of wrongdoing against his son Hunter, who is being investigated by federal prosecutors over his tax affairs, are “kind of foul play.”
It was not immediately clear whether the president-elect was specifically referring to the tax probe being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, which Hunter Biden announced last week. But the remarks from his father are likely to stoke further scrutiny of the next administration and the governance of the Justice Department under the incoming president — who has yet to announce his pick for attorney general.
The president-elect made the remark in an interview Thursday night on CBS’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” where he was asked by the host how he plans to deliver on his promises of bipartisanship even as “the people who want to make hay in Washington are going to try to use your adult son as a cudgel against you.”
“We have great confidence in our son,” the president-elect responded. “I am not concerned about any accusations made against him. It’s used to get to me. I think it’s kind of foul play. But look, it is what it is, and he’s a grown man. He is the smartest man I know [in terms of] pure intellectual capacity. And as long as he’s good, we’re good.”
Pressed again on whether he can still reach out to Republicans in Congress who level allegations against his son, the president-elect said: “If it benefits the country, yes. I really mean it. Because we know who we are.”
But his willingness to reach across the aisle “doesn’t mean I’m not angry,” the president-elect added. “It doesn’t mean I wasn’t angry, and it doesn’t mean if I were back in the days in high school, I wouldn’t say, ‘Come here, you know, and go around,’” he said, suggesting a schoolyard fight.
“Look, there’s so much at stake,” the president-elect added. “And the American people, I think they can smell the phoniness, smell what’s true and what’s not true.”
The president-elect previously commented on his son earlier Thursday following an event in Wilmington, Del., where he formally introduced Pete Buttigieg as his choice to serve as Transportation secretary. Asked by a reporter whether he was confident Hunter Biden had not committed any wrongdoing, the president-elect said: “I’m confident.”
Hunter Biden first came under attack from congressional Republicans during last year’s impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, who pressured Ukraine’s president to open investigations into domestic political rivals, including the Bidens, apparently conditioning hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid on the announcement of those probes.
More recently, Trump has pointed to the findings of a controversial, highly politicized Republican Senate investigation into the Bidens, which was published just weeks before Election Day but produced little new evidence of wrongdoing.
Trump has also touted dubious claims of Hunter Biden’s foreign financial dealings promoted by Rudy Giulani, the president’s personal attorney, as well as a New York Post report that alleged a direct link between the then-Democratic presidential nominee and his son’s business transactions.
Over the past week, however, the revelation that Hunter is under federal investigation has prompted Republicans to argue that past allegations against the president-elect’s son should be revisited — with some even calling for the appointment of a special counsel to probe the supposed misconduct.
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