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Joe Biden: My staff should've told me Hunter's job in Ukraine was a conflict of interest

Shifting the blame

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden shifted accountability to his staff when asked during a recently released NPR interview about his son Hunter's ethically questionable appointment to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

Biden has sometimes been angrily defensive, and other times claimed ignorance, when questioned about whether Hunter's position in Ukraine was represented as a conflict of interest. Hunter was appointed to the board while Biden oversaw Ukraine policy in the Obama administration.

NPR's Rachel Martin challenged Biden during the interview about his son's actions, saying Biden knew it "didn't look good" for his son to take a lucrative position in Ukraine that he had no apparent qualifications for.

"The optics weren't good," Martin said. "And you talk a lot about what it means to be a Biden and the integrity that is imbued in that family name. But there were former White House aides of yours who tried to warn you about the potential conflicts of interest."

Biden disputed the assertion that his staff raised concerns on the issue.

"Nobody warned me about a potential conflict of interest. Nobody warned me about that," Biden responded.

Martin then pointed out that George Kent, a State Department official who served as deputy chief of mission in Ukraine under the Obama administration, testified during an impeachment hearing that he brought up concerns about Hunter to Biden's staff.

Biden claimed he never heard anything about it and speculated that his staff didn't bring it up to him because his other son, Beau, was dying from brain cancer.

"Well, my son was dying, so I guess that's why he said it, because my son was on his deathbed," Biden said. "But that, that's not the reason why — they should have told me."

Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine, as well as what his father did or did not know about it, remains a relevant question as House Democrats proceed toward impeaching President Donald Trump for allegedly leveraging the power of the presidency to pressure Ukraine into publicly announcing an investigation into the Bidens after Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign.

(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)

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