U.S. President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, says in a forthcoming book that his service on the board of a Ukrainian gas firm at the center of the scandal that prompted ex-President Donald Trump's first impeachment wasn't unethical and didn't represent a lack of judgment on his part.
But the 51-year-old presidential son writes in his memoirs, titled Beautiful Things, set to be released next week, that if given a chance, he wouldn't take the job again.
Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings hired Hunter Biden to serve on its board in 2014, while his father was vice president and helping steer and implement President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in Eastern Europe.
During his unsuccessful reelection campaign against Biden, Trump's Republican allies last year repeatedly raised the issue of Hunter Biden's work for the Ukrainian company.
E-mails and other potentially damaging materials related to him and Burisma circulated in some U.S. news media weeks before the vote, with former U.S. intelligence officials warning that the materials were part of a Russian hacking and disinformation campaign.
Trump confidants, Republican operatives, and some Ukrainians pushed the suggestion that then-Vice President Joe Biden sought the firing of Ukraine's then-top prosecutor in order to protect his son.
U.S. lawmakers later found no evidence that Biden's work as vice president was influenced by his son's employment at Burisma.
In December 2019, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over a phone conversation Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in July of that year.
A whistle-blower complaint highlighted part of a conversation in which the U.S. president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to "look into" allegations of wrongdoing by Biden and his son and the Ukrainian firm.
Trump is also heard seemingly conditioning further U.S. military assistance on Ukraine investigating the Bidens.
Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in the impeachment trial.
“The episode that led to the impeachment of a president and put me at the heart of the greatest political fable of the decade is most notable for its epic banality,” Hunter Biden writes in his book.
Acknowledging that he might have been appointed to the board because of his last name, Hunter Biden writes that his “response has always been to work harder so that my accomplishments are self-sustaining.”
Hunter Biden says his only misjudgment was not considering, when he joined Burisma's board to help oversee its corporate practices, that Trump would become president in 2017.
“I have not done anything unethical and have never been charged with wrongdoing,” he also says, adding: “What I do believe, in this current climate, is that it wouldn't matter what I did or didn't do. The attacks weren't intended for me. They were meant to wound my dad.”
“Knowing all of that now: No, I would not do it again,” Biden writes. “I wouldn't take the seat on Burisma's board. Trump would have to look elsewhere to find a suitable distraction for his impeachable behavior.”
Hunter Biden's memoir centers on his battle with alcohol and drug addiction following the death of his older brother, Beau, of brain cancer in 2015.
The president’s son ends the book by saying he is now sober, living with his second wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, and their baby son, Beau.
He also has three daughters from his previous marriage.