Joe Biden is in full damage control mode as he risks losing Democratic frontrunner status over accusations of corruption and an ongoing series of gaffes.
To ‘set things straight,’ Biden appeared on CBS‘ “60 Minutes” Sunday – where he addressed a wide range of questions from journalist Norah O’Donnell.
Chief among them was a defense of his son Hunter’s Ukrainian business dealings at the heart of allegations of nepotism and abuse of power.
“I’ve never discussed my business or their business, my sons’ or daughter’s,” said Biden. “And I’ve never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that’s it and they have to make their own judgments.”
“[Hunter] was already on the board. And he’s a grown man. And it turns out he did not do a single thing wrong, as everybody’s investigated,” Biden added – without addressing the fact that he used his power as Vice President to have a prosecutor fired who was investigating his son’s Ukrainian employer.
Joe Biden says his son, Hunter, did nothing wrong when he was paid to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president and overseeing U.S. policy in Ukraine https://t.co/YM1hGk3yx3 pic.twitter.com/2GUTV5AfRu
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 27, 2019
“Did I do anything improper? No, not in any way. Not in any way whatsoever,” claimed Biden.
President Trump has continually stressed that the Bidens acted in a corrupt manner in Ukraine, and asked Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the matter during a now-infamous July 25 call that has become the impetus for an impeachment inquiry.
Reports this past month suggested that Burisma hired Biden as a “a helpful non-executive director with a powerful name” in the midst of corruption investigations, and paid him and his business partner Devon Archer $80,000 per month. –National Review
Shifting topics, Biden commented on the fact that he has yet to receive an endorsement from his former boss, President Obama.
“Some have asked, why hasn’t President Obama endorsed you? You guys served together for eight years.” asked O’Donnell.
“Because I have to own– I wanna earn this on my own,” Biden replied.
“Did he offer to endorse you?” O’Donnell asked.
“No, we didn’t even get there. I asked him not to. He said, “Okay.” I think it’s better– I think he thinks it’s better for me. I have no doubt when I’m the nominee he’ll be out on the campaign trail for me.”
Perhaps Obama doubts Biden’s ability to beat Trump ‘like a drum’?
The former VP also said:
On Facebook removing fake accounts from Russia while allowing Trump to run ads on Biden: “Facebook is running right now — paid advertising by Trump that — everybody knows is a flat lie. You know, I’m glad they brought the Russians down. Why don’t you bring down the lies that Trump is telling and everybody knows are lies?”
On Trump’s family working at the White House: “[If I] get elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the White House. My children are not going to sit in on Cabinet meetings. … It’s just simply improper because you should make it clear to the American public that everything you’re doing is for them. For them. And the idea that you’re going to have his children his — son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about.”
“You don’t think that Jared Kushner should be negotiating a Middle East peace solution?” asked O’Donnell.
“No, I don’t (laughs) … what credentials does he bring to that?”
Via Axios, the Trump campaign issued a response once Biden’s answer became known shortly after “60 Minutes” was taped;
Trump campaign puts out statement defending Jared and Ivanka’s White House positions after Joe Biden’s “60 Minutes” interview. pic.twitter.com/GBo4iH7w5u
— Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) October 25, 2019
On President Trump:
CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell: “President Trump says Russian interference is a hoax.”
Biden: “He’s an idiot, in terms of sayin’ that. Everybody knows this. Everybody knows it. Nobody doubts it.”
O’Donnell: “President Trump has said publicly, ‘Joe Biden and his son are stone cold corrupt.’ … you want to say to him…?
Biden: “Let’s see how straight you are, OK old buddy? I put out 21 years of mine. So show us your tax returns … what are you hidin’? You want to deal with corruption? Start to act like it. Release your tax returns or shut up.”