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Joe Kennedy III Grilled On Whether Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Deal Looks All Right

December 30, 2019

U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III stammered several times Sunday while answering a question over whether the appearance that former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter profited from his father’s high office is enough to try to prevent it from happening again.

Kennedy (D-Newton) appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper on Sunday, December 29, talking mostly about the impeachment of President Donald Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives and his possibly forthcoming trial in the U.S. Senate.

Kennedy voted to impeach Trump over his July 25 telephone call to the president of Ukraine and what Trump’s critics say was a threat to withhold aid if the Ukrainian government didn’t resume a previous investigation of Hunter Biden.

Tapper asked Kennedy about whether Republicans should be able to call Joe Biden to testify during the Senate trial. Kennedy said yes, but that there’s no evidence linking Biden to any wrongdoing.

When Tapper followed up, Kennedy did not offer a direct defense of Biden, and eventually turned to Trump’s kin as a means of parrying Tapper’s question.

Here below is a transcript of the question-and-answer exchange after that. (A video link is here.)

Jake Tapper:  You know, it’s true that there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing by Vice President Biden, or that Hunter Biden broke any laws at all.

But, frankly, it does stink that Hunter Biden got this contract with no expertise in the energy sector, and that he likely — he’s already said, basically, he probably got that money, which was significant, because of his connection with his father, the vice president at the time, who was also in charge of Ukraine at the time.

Do you think that future presidents and vice presidents should say, “My relatives cannot cash in any way on their connection to me”?

Joseph P. Kennedy III:  Look, I think it is certainly – ah, I think it is certainly worth putting that out there and worth trying to make sure that there is not any sort of profit that is going to be earned by close relatives being in office.

I, I, I have had plenty of family members in office. I understand the responsibility that comes with holding, uh, a position of public responsibility and ensuring that there is a very clear, ah, delineation there, so that others aren’t profiting off of it.

I do think, though, that if we, again, are going to get into this conversation, it’s awfully hard for me to reconcile and to square those comments and that clarity put forth by Vice President Biden, by Hunter Biden, with the fact that you’ve got the current president’s children running around on an international hotel chain that is being, ah, supported by U.S. military service members staying at their hotels across the world, that is — where he tried to host the G7 at a struggling hotel in Florida — and where his daughter, who runs clothing lines and jewelry lines, just got patents from China in the midst of a trade war.

So, look, some of those might be legitimate, some of them might not be. But let’s be clear and make sure that everybody is being held to the same standard. And once again I just don’t think that’s the case here.

CNN’s transcript of the exchange is here.

Kennedy’s office posted two clips from his appearance with Jake Tapper on Kennedy’s Twitter account, but not the exchange with Tapper over Joe and Hunter Biden.

Kennedy has endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president in the Democratic primary. Warren has endorsed U.S. Senator Edward Markey for re-election in 2020. Kennedy is challenging Markey for the seat.

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