This came up during the campaign and was met with ferocious media denials and partisan fact check spin.
Here’s a sample.
President Donald Trump claimed that former Vice President Joe Biden received $3.5 million from Russia and that it “came through Putin because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow, and it was the mayor of Moscow’s wife. You got $3.5 million. Your family got $3.5 million.”
Facts First: This is false.
Trump was seemingly trying to raise an allegation previously made against Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, but there’s no connection to Joe Biden.
No connection whatsoever.
Joe Biden met with Ukrainian, Russian and Kazakhstani business associates of his son’s at a dinner in Washington, DC, while he was vice president, records on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop show.
The dinner, on April 16, 2015, was held in the private “Garden Room” at Café Milano, a Georgetown institution whose catchphrase is: “Where the world’s most powerful people go.”
The next day, Hunter received an email from Vadym Pozharskyi, an executive of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, to thank him for introducing him to his father.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote on April 17, 2015.
“It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”
At the time, Burisma was paying Hunter $83,333 a month to sit on its board.
So there’s a direct Bursima connection and a direct Luzhkov one.
The guest list prepared by Hunter three weeks before the Café Milano dinner included Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina and her husband, corrupt former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov, who since has died. Baturina wired $3.5 million on Feb. 14, 2014, to Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, a Delaware-based investment firm co-founded by Hunter and Devon Archer, a former adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry.
The wires were flagged in suspicious activity reports provided by the Treasury to a Senate Republican inquiry into Hunter last year by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
And there’s also a possible Kerry angle.
It is unclear if everyone on Hunter’s list attended. Archer emailed Hunter before the event to say that Baturina did not want to come but her husband would attend.
“Yelena doesn’t want to steal Yuri’s Thunder, so she’ll be in town to meet with us but doesn’t want to come to dinner,” Archer wrote on March 20. “That was just her thoughts. We could insist.”
He finished the email: “Obviously save a seat for your guy (and mine if he’s in town.)”
Hunter replied: “I think your guy being there is more trouble than it’s worth- unless you have some other idea.”
It’s unclear if Archer’s “guy” was then-Secretary of State John Kerry or someone else.
Time for some more media fact checks explaining that everything is fine. And then maybe a second Hunter memoir.
Meanwhile, here’s a Washington Post flashback debate fact check.
“The Senate report falsely alleges that Hunter Biden had a financial relationship with Russian business executive Yelena Baturina and that he received $3.5 million from Baturina,” Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, said in an email. “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.”
Or how about CNN?
Neither the Senate report nor Trump have provided any evidence that the payment was corrupt or that Hunter Biden committed any wrongdoing.