The Biden campaign Wednesday denied a New York Post report that said the former vice president met with a senior official from a Ukrainian energy firm that was at the center of a controversy over the dismissal of a prosecutor investigating the company.
"We have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place," campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath," Bates added, according to Politico.
The newspaper offered no proof the meeting took place, but cited unverified emails it said it was given by surrogates of President Donald Trump. The report said Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board at Burisma, thanked Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in an April 2015 email for inviting him to Washington and "giving an opportunity to meet your father." The then-vice-president's son had joined the company's board about a year earlier, according to the Post.
A May 2014 email also showed Pozharskyi sought advice from Hunter Biden on ways "you could use your influence" on Burisma's behalf, the paper reported. The email and the Post story do not detail whether Biden ever met Pozharskyi.
The Post claims the communication contradicts an assertion by Joe Biden he has not spoken to his son about his business dealings, but it offers no evidence the former vice president and his son discussed it. Bloomberg News hasn’t independently verified the authenticity of the purported emails.
The newspaper reported the recovered data came from a laptop and hard drive that were abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. The shop owner said he alerted the FBI, and photos of a Delaware federal court subpoena given to The Post show that both the computer and hard drive were seized by federal agents in December, according to the report.
But before turning it over to federal law enforcement, the Post reported, the shop owner made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to Robert Costello, an attorney for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now an outspoken ally of Trump and his reelection campaign.
Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, disclosed the existence of the hard drive in late September, and Giuliani gave the Post a copy of the hard drive Sunday, the paper reported.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told reporters the campaign heard about the alleged emails from the New York Post.
"The real question is, as of course this has been seized by the FBI since then, why has the FBI been sitting on this?" Murtaugh said, adding, "I would also further point out that no one seemed to care when someone committed an obvious federal crime by leaking the president's tax documents to the New York Times."
Trump has charged Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine, in which he pushed for the dismissal of the country's prosecutor general, were to benefit Hunter Biden.
That claim has been widely debunked. In pushing for the firing of Viktor Shokin, Biden was acting in concert with official U.S. foreign policy and other allied nations that viewed Shokin as corrupt.
The investigation into Burisma had long been dormant by the time Joe Biden was pushing for Shokin’s ouster in early 2016, a former Ukrainian official told Bloomberg News in May 2019.
Two Republican Senate committee chairmen last month tried to revive allegations around Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine but their report broke little new ground in finding his role on the board of Burisma put State Department officials in an "awkward" position. Their findings disclosed no impact on policy nor proved wrongdoing.
The emergence of the emails carries echoes of the 2016 controversy promoted by the Trump campaign surrounding communications by then Democratic contender Hillary Clinton.
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