Joe Biden Not Asked About New York Post Story on Son Hunter’s Ukrainian Email Messages During 90-Minute ABC Town Hall

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden got no questions during an ABC townhall Thursday night about an explosive New York Post news story suggesting that as vice president he met with a Ukrainian businessman who had gotten Biden’s son a lucrative appointment to a Ukrainian gas company’s board of directors.

The New York Post story, published earlier this week, quotes from email messages purportedly recovered from the hard drive of a laptop once owned by Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son. One email message purportedly from the Ukrainian businessman thanks Hunter Biden for “giving an opportunity to meet your father and spend some time together.”

The email message, purportedly from Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi, is dated April 2015. At the time, Biden was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine.

Biden has acknowledged getting a Ukrainian prosecutor fired when he visited the country in March 2016, saying he threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if government officials didn’t get rid of the man. Biden made the comments during an appearance at a Council on Foreign Relations event in January 2018.

Biden supporters say he was following U.S. policy at the time to try to remove a corrupt Ukrainian official. Biden critics suggest he was running interference for the gas company paying his son. They say email messages show company officials were concerned about a possible investigation into its business practices by the Ukrainian prosecutor who got fired.

Biden’s campaign has denied that he met with the Ukrainian businessman, saying his official schedule as vice president doesn’t include such a meeting. But Biden himself has said nothing about it in public – and he wasn’t asked during a 90-minute live appearance on ABC hosted by former Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos that started at 8 p.m. Thursday, October 15.

Instead, Biden took questions from Pennsylvania residents and from Stephanopoulos on other campaign topics.

Biden supporters have attacked the New York Post story, suggesting that it stems from Russian government disinformation.

Left-leaning Politico published a story Wednesday, October 14 that paraphrased Biden advisers as creating wiggle room for Biden. The Politico story states:


Biden’s campaign would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of informal interaction with Pozharskyi, which wouldn’t appear on Biden’s official schedule. But they said any encounter would have been cursory. Pozharskyi did not respond to a request for comment.


A spinoff conflict developed earlier this week when social media giants Facebook and Twitter blocked online links to the New York Post story, suggesting that the information is not trustworthy. Some Republicans have called for officials from those companies to testify before Congress to explain their actions, which they describe as censorship.

According to The New York Post, the email message suggesting a meeting between Joe Biden and the Ukrainian businessman came from the hard drive of a laptop computer that a local business owner in Delaware says he received from Hunter Biden for repairs. The computer repair business owner says the computer was never picked up by its original owner, and that he subsequently found the data on the computer and gave it to the FBI – and later to a lawyer representing Rudy Giuliani, an ally of President Donald Trump. The New York Post says it obtained the email messages from Giuliani’s lawyer.

Some prominent Republicans in Washington have been careful not to appear to validate the purported email messages while calling for further investigation.

One example is an exchange between U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), the chairman of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Sean Hannity on Fox News on Wednesday, October 14. Johnson said he was familiar with the computer store owner’s story before it became public.

A transcript of one portion of the Hannity interview follows:


Sean Hannity:  I cannot independently corroborate all of this new information that keeps coming out. And I have a hard time trusting information that comes out of a lot of these countries that we know there are high levels of corruption within the upper levels of their governments.

Do you feel the same way? Or am I just being paranoid?


U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin):  No, listen, I take everything that our committee receives, everything I hear, with a huge grain of salt – particularly when it’s coming from countries like Ukraine that have a history of corruption and disinformation.

The same thing for this whistleblower.  You know — The only reason I’m talking about this whistleblower is this whistleblower’s gone public.

So, I’ve acknowledged that, yes, he contacted us the day after we issued our report. We have talked to him. But we are in the process of validating his claims. We take it all with a grain of salt.

Obviously, The New York Post feels they – strongly enough that they actually went with the story.

We were trying to validate the claims.