Less than three weeks before the election, the New York Post has uncovered a new twist in the already tangled story of Joe Biden, his son Hunter and their dealings with Ukraine.
A look at the development:
HOW DID BIDEN’S SON BECOME A CAMPAIGN ISSUE?
Hunter Biden joined the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in 2014, around the time his father, then U.S. vice president, was helping conduct the Obama administration’s foreign policy with Ukraine.
Senate Republicans said in a recent report that the appointment may have posed a conflict of interest.
President Donald Trump and his supporters, meanwhile, have alleged that Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor to protect his son and Burisma from investigation.
WHAT DOES THE NEW YORK POST STORY SAY?
The Post highlighted an April 2015 email that it said was sent to Hunter Biden by Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma’s board.
In it, he thanks the younger Biden “for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and [spend] some time together. It’s [really] an honor and pleasure.”
HOW DID THE POST OBTAIN Hunter Biden’s EMAILS?
The Post says it received a copy of a hard drive containing the messages on Sunday from Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The emails were allegedly part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop that was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post says the customer, whom the owner could not definitively identify as Hunter Biden, never paid for the service or retrieved it, and says the owner made a copy of the hard drive that he provided to Giuliani’s lawyer.
The Post says the owner alerted the FBI to the computer and hard drive and that agents took possession of them. The FBI declined to comment Wednesday.
Asked via text by an AP reporter how long he had the hard drive, Giuliani replied, in part: “You’re interested in the wrong thing. This time the truth will not be defeated by process. I’ve got a lot more to go.”
How did the bidens respond to the story?
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, said in a statement to the AP that “we have no idea where this came from, and certainly cannot credit anything that Rudy Giuliani provided to the NY Post.”
He added that “what I do know for certain is that this purported meeting never happened.”
The Biden campaign said in a statement that a meeting with Pozharskyi did not appear in Joe Biden’s schedules from the time.
Jamal Brown, the Biden campaign’s national press secretary, said in an interview that the Post’s “purported allegations are false.”
IF AUTHENTIC, ARE THESE EMAILS DAMAGING TO BIDEN?
The suggestion that Joe Biden might have met with a Burisma representative is consequential, because he has repeatedly insisted that he never discussed his son’s business with him.
Pozharskyi was part of a Burisma delegation that lobbied congressional officials in 2014 in an attempt to show that the firm was not a corruption risk.
HOW DID SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES RESPOND TO THE STORY?
Companies like Twitter and Facebook quickly flagged the article and moved to restrict its accessibility online — an action decried by Trump and his supporters, including congressional Republicans.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone announced on Twitter that the company was working to censor the article on its platform.
On Wednesday afternoon, Twitter began banning its users from sharing links to the article in tweets and direct messages.
Twitter, whose chief executive tweeted later in the evening that it was “unacceptable” that the company had not provided more context for its action, said the images in the article include personal and private information in violation of its rules, and said it considered material included in the article to be a violation of its hacked materials policy.
how did president trump respond to the story?
Trump called for a full accounting of Biden’s conversations with Hunter and with Pozharskyi. Trump said in an interview with Newsmax that the Post had caught Biden “cold” with “serious” allegations.
At a campaign rally in Iowa on Wednesday night, Trump called Biden “a corrupt politician who shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the presidency.”
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