Former vice president Joe Biden defended his son’s foreign business dealings during Tuesday evening’s Democratic debate, saying neither he nor his son is guilty of any wrongdoing in the controversy that has become the focal point of the impeachment probe against President Trump.
“If it’s not okay for a president’s family to be involved in foreign businesses, why was it okay for your son when you were vice president?” CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked Biden.
“Look, my son did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong,” Biden responded. “I carried out the policy of the United States government in rooting out corruption in Ukraine.”
“My son made a judgment. I’m proud of the judgement he made,” he added.
During a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky to help his administration investigate allegations that Biden used his position as vice president to help Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings avoid a corruption probe soon after the younger Biden was appointed to its board of directors.
Biden, for his part, has admitted that in the spring of 2016, during his tenure as vice president, he called on Ukraine to fire the prosecutor who had been investigating the energy company paying his son. Biden suggested he would withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine if the country did not fire the prosecutor, who was accused by the State Department and U.S. allies in Europe of being soft on corruption.
“What I think is important is we focus on why it’s so important to remove this man from office,” Biden said Tuesday night regarding Trump’s conversation with Zelensky. “He’s going after me because he knows that if I get the nomination I will beat him like a drum.”
In the wake of the controversy, the younger Biden has promised he will no longer serve on the boards of foreign companies.