President Joe Biden’s son Hunter admitted in a BBC interview that his family name was "gold" to Burisma and it played a large part in his appointment to the board of the Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president.
Although he defended his qualifications for the position at Burisma, Biden said that, in retrospect, he had "missed ... the perception that I would create."
"I know that it is hard to believe with 20/20 hindsight how I could possibly have missed that," he told the BBC in an interview to promote his new memoir "Beautiful Things."
In explaining one of the reasons Burisma placed him on their board, Biden said,"I think they saw my name as gold, and the reason they did was this: Right at that time, the Russians had invaded and taken Crimea, and they were after the natural resources and the pipeline. And I know that Burisma wanted to do one thing: They wanted to create a bulwark against that Russian aggression, they knew they had to expand internationally and into other sectors to diversify and protect themselves."
He added that "the Biden name is synonymous with democracy and transparency, and that's why I said it was gold to them."
He also said being a Biden had "opened doors that wouldn't be opened up to other people," calling this "both a privilege and a burden."
He said he hadn't expected the level of scrutiny he received, even though his father was the Obama administration’s point man on relations with Ukraine, emphasizing that "I don't belong to an administration, I belong to a family."
An investigation by Republican congressmen last year said that Biden’s work for Burisma was "problematic" but found no evidence that American foreign policy had been influenced by his position at the Ukrainian company, according to the Washington Examiner.
His controversial business dealings also made him the target of Republican attacks during the last presidential election and were center stage in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, where Trump was accused of asking Ukraine’s president to probe the Bidens in return for the restoration of military aid, the BBC reported.
In an interview earlier this week with CBS News, Hunter Biden insisted that "I'm 100% certain … that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing" at the conclusion of an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into his financial dealings, adding that "I'm co-operating, completely" with the probe.
In the BBC interview, he talked about his drug and alcohol addiction, saying he suffered trauma from the death of his mother and sister in a car accident in 1972, explaining that "There's something at the center of each addict that's missing, that they feel that they need to fill ... Nothing can possibly fill it. And so you numb yourself."
He added that when his brother Beau died of cancer in 2015, he "descended into a really dark, dark place … I'd separated with my wife, I was in an apartment by myself, and I was basically drinking myself to death."
Although his struggle with addiction made him a target for tabloid stories and political attacks, Hunter Biden said it was also something to which people could relate.
"I think what people see in the Biden family is their family," he said. "I think that they see all of the tragedy in loss, but they see all the love and sincerity. And I think that they see that we're not much different than any other family."
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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