Former Vice President Joe Biden blamed his staff for failing to warn him about the potential conflict of interest possed by his son, Hunter Biden, by serving on the board of directors of Ukraine energy giant Burisma Holdings while serving as vice president in a Friday interview with NPR.
A partial transcript is as follows:
RACHEL MARTIN: President Trump is in the process of being impeached. The Senate trial is pending. Republicans have suggested that they might call you or your son, Hunter Biden. If you are subpoenaed, would you comply?
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: No. I’m not going to let you take the eye off the ball here. Everybody knows what this is about. This is a Trump gambit he plays. Whenever he’s in trouble, he tries to find someone else to divert attention to.
MARTIN: But this is a real thing that’s happening. Republicans are suggesting that they would subpoena you and President Trump. These issues will be parsed out in the Senate trial.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: That’s right.
MARTIN: But the question is, would you comply with the subpoena?
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, I will not yield to what everybody is looking for here. And that is to take the eye off the ball. Everybody knows the issue here is not what I did, because no one has proved one scintilla of evidence that I did anything other than do my job for America as well as anybody could have done it. Making sure that we, in fact, got rid of a corrupt prosecutor who everybody, including our allies and including our allies as well as, as, as the IMF and everyone else said has to go. I did my job incredibly well. And even the people in his administration have testified to my character, testified to my honesty.
MARTIN: You know it didn’t look good for Hunter Biden to be on that board, even if he did nothing wrong. The optics weren’t good. And you talk a lot about what it means to be a Biden and the integrity that is imbued in that family name. But there were former White House aides of yours who tried to warn you about the potential conflicts of interest.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Nobody warned me about a potential conflict of interest. Nobody warned me about that. And at the same time —
MARTIN: George Kent, the State Department official, testified that he raised it to you, and your staff.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: No, he didn’t say me. He did not say me.
MARTIN: To your staff. To your staff, I stand corrected.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I never, never heard that once at all.
MARTIN: To your staff. And your staff told him he has no bandwidth for family matters.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: My son was dying, so I guess that’s why he said it, because my son was on his deathbed. But that’s not the reason why. They should have told me. And the fact of the matter is, my son testified and did an interview saying if he, looking back on it, made a mistake, he made a mistake although he did nothing wrong. The appearance looked bad and it gave folks like Rudy Giuliani an excuse to come up with a Trumpian kind of defense, why they were violating the Constitution.