President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday defended his son, Hunter Biden, who is the subject of a federal tax evasion investigation, saying the wrongdoing charges against him were “a kind of foul play” .
“I am not concerned about the charges against him. It’s used to touch me, ”Biden said in an interview with late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert.
“I think it’s kind of a foul play,” Biden said in an excerpt from the interview CBS aired Thursday afternoon, several hours before it aired on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He added: “This is what it is.”
Last week, Hunter Biden revealed that the Delaware attorney’s office was investigating him for tax evasion. The two-year investigation began as an investigation into potential money laundering crimes, according to several federal officials familiar with the investigation. FBI agents were unable to gather enough evidence to move forward with the money laundering aspect of the case, they said.
“I am confident that a professional and objective examination of these matters will demonstrate that I have conducted my affairs in a legal and proper manner, including with the benefit of professional tax advisers,” young Mr. Biden said in a statement.
Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for Biden’s transition team, said Mr Biden was not calling the investigation himself. Mr. Bates shared a transcript of the interaction on Twitter it showed Mr Biden made his statement after Mr Colbert asked him what he thought about his son being used as a “club” against him.
The investigation into Mr Biden’s son has already had political fallout. President Trump was furious to learn that Attorney General William P. Barr had kept the investigation under wraps in the run-up to the election – behavior consistent with Department of Justice policies.
Mr. Trump said on twitter that more people could have supported his party in the election had they known about the investigation, and his fury over the lack of disclosure contributed to Mr Barr’s announcement that he will step down as attorney general starting next week.
The investigation also made it difficult for Biden to choose the attorney general, who will have to oversee the investigation. It appeared this month that Doug Jones, the former Democratic senator from Alabama, was a top choice for the job, largely based on his close relationship with Mr Biden.
Now, such close ties could make the confirmation process difficult, as senators are sure to grill the candidate on his ability to prevent the White House from influencing the investigation. Republicans are already asking for the appointment of a special advocate to oversee the investigation and protect it from political interference.
The president-elect’s own comments could also complicate matters for who he chooses to lead the department. Earlier this week, Mr Biden defended his son, telling a reporter he was “confident” his son had done nothing wrong.
In the interview with Mr Colbert, the elder Mr Biden said his son was “the smartest man I know from a pure intellectual capacity”. He added, “As long as he’s good, we’re good.”