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Hunter Biden Announces Departure from Chinese Company Amidst Criticism

Until recently, the business dealings of the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were not often the subject of political discussion. However, following an unlikely and consequential string of events involving President Trump, a phone call with Ukraine, and a whistleblower complaint, Hunter Biden announced his decision to step down from the board of a Chinese company, BHR, to reduce the appearance of a conflict-of-interest with respect to his father’s presidential bid. Trump has responded to the news of the whistleblower complaint, which alleges that he illegally requested campaign assistance from a foreign power when he asked the President of Ukraine to investigate his likely political opponent, Joe Biden, by doubling down on his attacks of the Biden family, putting the Biden campaign in an awkward and defensive position.

No evidence of misconduct on Hunter Biden’s part is known to exist, and he has not been formally charged with a crime nor is he known to be under investigation. However, the younger Biden has been the target of relentless, vicious, and personal attacks from President Trump on the campaign trail and by abusing the powers of the presidency to undermine the integrity of the upcoming election in what has become the subject of an ongoing and historic impeachment investigation. Trump’s ongoing attempts to smear his political rivals by using both lawful and unlawful strategies, including outright lies and quid-pro-quo requests for foreign assistance, present a unique and unprecedented challenge for the Biden campaign as well as for the campaigns of any potential nominee.

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Hunter Biden’s announcement came via a statement released by his lawyer, who also said that the younger Biden would pledge to forgo all work in foreign countries if his father is elected president. Hunter Biden’s decision seems to have been made independently of his father’s campaign, as both Bidens have publicly stated that they had never discussed Hunter’s business dealings with each other. Joe Biden has said that he only found out about his son’s decision to step down from BHR after being contacted by Hunter’s lawyer, and had no input into the decision-making process.

The younger Biden’s decision to step down from his position at BHR is the first time anyone in the pro-Biden camp has acknowledged the appearance of impropriety of Hunter’s business activities, and though the move was made in order to quell conspiracy theories about political corruption, the political ramifications are as of yet difficult to predict. Predictably, Trump responded to the news with a tweet, asserting without evidence that Hunter Biden was “forced to leave” the company. Joe Biden, on the other hand, praised his son’s decision, arguing that it demonstrates his son’s integrity, and hoped that it would put an end to any speculation of political corruption.

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In a brief news conference on Sunday, Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to transparency and integrity, promising that if he becomes president, neither he nor anyone in his family would be involved in any foreign operation whatsoever. Joe Biden also took the opportunity to indirectly point out the political family corruption of his opponent, President Trump, by saying “No one in my family will have an office in the White House, will sit in on meetings as if they’re a Cabinet member, will in fact have any business relationship with anyone that relates to a foreign corporation or a foreign country.” (The President’s daughter and his son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both have worked for the White House and for Trump’s campaign, as have his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr.)

Despite ongoing concerns about Trump’s various business properties around the world and their impact on his foreign policy, the roles of his family members in government and business, and the funneling of taxpayer dollars into Trump-owned businesses, the President and his campaign have decided to focus on political corruption as a line of attack against Biden, spending millions of dollars on ad campaigns featuring demonstrably false accusations. In his defense, Joe Biden has pointed out that “no one has asserted that I have done anything wrong except the lying president.” However, Biden seems reluctant to call out his opponent’s political corruption, apparently signaling a refusal to stoop to his level, though he has called for Trump’s impeachment.