Joe Biden claimed during Tuesday’s presidential debate that scrutiny surrounding his son’s financial dealings with Russian interests has been “totally discredited.”
But that’s not exactly true.
What did Biden say?
About halfway through the chaotic debate, President Donald Trump homed in on Hunter Biden and scrutiny surrounding his work in Ukraine and Russia during the Obama administration, for which he was paid handsomely. Biden’s critics have suggested the financial payments are evidence of corruption and a conflict of interest while Biden was vice president.
Trump asked, “While we’re at it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $3.5 millions of dollars. What did he do to deserve it?”
“None of that is true; it’s been totally discredited,” Biden responded.
When Trump attempted to rebut, debate moderator Chris Wallace, an anchor at Fox News, continually interrupted Trump and gave Biden the floor.
President Trump: “While we’re at it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $3.5 millions… https://t.co/aYSR1aDxLk
— Cheddar🧀 (@Cheddar🧀)1601430954.0
What are the facts?
Last week, Senate Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee and the Finance Committee released a joint report leveling new, serious allegations against Hunter Biden.
The report detailed more than a dozen “key findings” that connect Hunter Biden’s time on the board of Burisma in Ukraine to possible corruption, aiding Moscow’s disinformation efforts, and even hindering U.S. foreign policy.
One of those “key findings” was that “Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow.”
Baturina is a Russian businesswoman and the country’s only frail billionaire. Her riches came when her husband, the late Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, orchestrated a number of municipal contracts with her company. Luzhkov was fired in 2010 by then-President Medvedev over corruption allegations, the report says.
Baturina wired $3.5 million to Hunter Biden’s investment firm for a “consulting agreement,” the committee states.
The investment firm in question, Rosemont Seneca Thornton, was “co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.,” the Senate report explained. The firm is apparently an offshoot of another firm, Rosemont Seneca, which was co-founded by Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz, stepson of John Kerry, who at the time of the transaction of Baturina was serving as secretary of state.
The Senate report cited “confidential document 6” as proof of the financial transaction.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, told PolitiFact that the Senate report is not true. “Hunter Biden had no interest in and was not a co-founder of Rosemont Seneca Thornton, so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false,” he said.
However, PolitiFact noted that Mesires refused to show documents to corroborate his claim that Biden was not associated with Rosemont Seneca Thorton.
Senate Republicans provided no definitive proof to substantiate their claims, though many of the supporting documents are cited in the report as “confidential.”