President Trump slammed Democratic rival Joe Biden as a "totally corrupt politician" after a New York Post story published on Wednesday alleged a direct link between Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and his father, then the vice president.
"The whole thing is insane. Joe Biden is a corrupt politician. I've been saying it for a long time," Trump told FOX Business' Stuart Varney during an interview Thursday.
Newly uncovered emails obtained by the New York Post suggest that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 one year before his father allegedly pressured the country's government to fire a prosecutor who had launched an investigation into the company.
The main email obtained by the Post is an April 2015 message that the newspaper said was sent to Hunter Biden by Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma's board.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.
Fox News could not independently verify the legitimacy of the emails.
It's unclear whether Joe Biden met with the executive. The Biden campaign pushed back on the allegations in the report, saying that a review of the former vice president's schedule from the time shows that no such meeting took place.
"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,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”
"The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story," Bates continued. "They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani -- whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported -- claimed to have such materials."
But Trump maintained that Joe Biden is a "totally corrupt politician."
"All you have to do is look at the son's server. I can't believe they found his laptop. It's incredible," he said.
Asked by Varney how he could be certain the New York Post story isn't a "setup," Trump said: "Oh, I don't know what a setup is. Look, they have the guy's laptop. Hey, Hunter was a disaster. Hunter didn't have a job. Hunter got thrown out of the military -- you know why he got thrown it -- didn't have a job, didn't have anything. His father becomes VP, and then Hunter starts making millions and millions of dollars a year. And the father gets some of that too."
(Hunter Biden’s discharge was administrative, which is standard procedure for failed drug tests, rather than dishonorable, as Trump has previously claimed).
The Post said it received a copy of a hard drive of a laptop containing the emails on Sunday from Rudy Giuliani, a personal lawyer for Trump. The emails were part of data that had been recovered from a laptop dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019, the Post said.
The messages purport to show that Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top executive at Burisma about one year before allegedly pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the company. Obama administration officials insist the reason for pushing out Shokin was because he was not cracking down on corruption within the country.
That issue was also central to impeachment proceedings against Trump about one year ago.
The owner of the store, John Paul Mac Issac, told Fox News that he could not definitively identify the customer -- who never retrieved the laptop -- as Hunter Biden. Isaac told the New York Post that he determined the individual was Hunter Biden because the laptop had a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named for his late older brother.
“I just don't know what to say, or what I'm allowed to say,” Isaac said Wednesday. “I know that I saw, I saw stuff. And I was concerned. I was concerned that somebody might want to come looking for this stuff eventually and I wanted it out of my shop.”
Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, in 2014 -- around the same time that his father, then vice president, was helping to conduct U.S. foreign policy in the country.
In February 2014, Ukraine had been thrust into a violent revolution when pro-European, anti-Russian protesters marched in the nation’s capital, Kyiv, ultimately overthrowing the Ukrainian government and pro-Kremlin leader. Less than one month later, the Russian military seized control of Crimea and, via a dubious referendum, annexed the peninsula.