The US president’s son is often in the news for all the wrong reasons. But what has he actually done? And could he cost his father a second term?
Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, has long been the black sheep of his family. When his father was Barack Obama’s vice president Hunter appeared in the news for all the wrong reasons, mostly due to his problems with drug and alcohol addiction.
The most recent controversy has been the emergence of Hunter’s secret child with a stripper – who both he and his father have yet to acknowledge as a member of their family.
But it was during the 2020 election campaign that Hunter became a political problem. A news story broke alleging that his laptop was handed to a computer repair shop in Delaware and he forgot to collect it. It made its way into the hands of allies of then president Donald Trump, and in the final weeks of the campaign, the New York Post published the emails stored on it.
As well as photos and videos showing Hunter’s drug and alcohol abuse, there were emails which referred to his overseas business dealings, including Hunter’s time on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. In one of those emails, Hunter refers to someone as “the big guy” who would “get half” of the cash.
There’s yet to be any hard proof of actual wrongdoing despite Trump supporters alleging, without evidence, that the “Big Guy” referred to Joe Biden. Ukrainian authorities announced that they’d found no proof of wrongdoing by Hunter, something echoed in a report by Senate Republicans – although it did say his position on the board of a Ukrainian energy company was “awkward” and “problematic”.
All of this, combined with Hunter’s guilty plea to three charges – two tax-related and one gun-related – contributes to the idea among Republicans that, when it comes to the president’s son, there’s no smoke without fire. And some of that smoke must be wafting around the Oval Office.
Hunter Biden’s business dealings are currently being investigated by the Republican-controlled oversight committee in the House of Representatives – although they’ve yet to find any evidence of wrongdoing.
They may not need to. In 2016, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails helped to create an atmosphere of mistrust around her – and ultimately contributed to her losing the presidential race.
As the 2024 election approaches, the investigations into Hunter Biden may be designed to serve a similar purpose.
Today’s episode was written by James Wilson and mixed by Rebecca Moore.