In an interview published Wednesday, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee denied that his family has profited from his public offices, appearing to contradict a statement his son Hunter Biden made last year in which he said he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board of a Ukrainian energy company if he were not Biden’s son.

Biden was asked about Republican Senator Ron Johnson’s claim that Hunter Biden along with other Biden family members profited off the family name, an accusation that has become a frequent attack line by the Trump campaign less than two weeks out from the election.  

WISN 12 News’s Adrienne Pedersen, an ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, asked Biden, “Is there any legitimacy to Senator Johnson’s claim?”

“None whatsoever,” Biden responded, calling the accusations “garbage” promoted by “Trump’s henchman,” Rudy Guiliani.”It’s a last-ditch effort in his desperate campaign to smear me and my family,” Biden continued, citing Senator Mitt Romney in the former vice president’s argument that “there’s no basis to this.”

Romney serves on the Senate Homeland Security committee, which Johnson chairs, and in September criticized the committee’s probe of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, saying it is “not the legitimate role of government or Congress, to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.” “And the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said there’s no basis at all,” Biden added. “Ron should be ashamed of himself.”

But last week, the New York Post reported on leaked emails revealing high-dollar negotiations between his son Hunter Biden and foreign companies.  In the leaked emails from 2014, Hunter Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, then vice president Joe Biden, in negotiations regarding his lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.   

He refers to his father, who was heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine at the time, as “my guy.” Emails from 2017 show Biden discussing a deal with the former chairman of Chinese energy company CEFC China Energy, Ye Jianming, saying Ye agreed to improve the terms of Biden’s three-year consulting contract with CEFC, which initially promised Biden $10 million per-year “for introductions alone.”  One of Biden’s business partners who was included on the chain confirmed the email’s authenticity to Fox News.

In an interview last year Hunter Biden appeared to contradict his father’s claim that the family name did not provide opportunities for profit.  “If your last name wasn’t Biden, do you think you would have been asked to be on the board of Burisma?” 

ABC’s Amy Robach asked the younger Biden.  “I don’t know.  I don’t know.  Probably not.  I don’t think that there’s a lot of things that would have happened in my life that if my last name wasn’t Biden.”

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