President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Thursday accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE of engaging in a quid pro quo hours after his own acting chief of staff appeared to admit that the Trump administration had done the same with Ukraine before seeking to walk back his remarks.
The president zeroed in on the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden during a campaign rally in Dallas in a continuation of his effort to paint the family as corrupt.
“Look at the terrible foreign corruption of the Bidens. I hate to talk about him. You know why? I don’t think he’s got a chance,” Trump told the crowd.
Trump said Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration and sought the firing of the then-Ukrainian prosecutor general while his son, Hunter Biden “was paid massive sums of money [to] buy a Ukrainian energy company.”
“Now that’s what you call quid pro quo,” Trump said.
Trump ripped the news media for calling his allegations of corruption “unsubstantiated,” despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
The president’s attacks on the former vice president came hours after acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyTrump names new acting director of legislative affairs 12 things to know today about coronavirus Mulvaney: ‘We’ve overreacted a little bit’ to coronavirus MORE said during a briefing with reporters that aid for Ukraine was tied in part to Trump’s desire for help investigating the hack of the Democratic National Committee server and 2016 election interference.
“The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the things that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate,” Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney later sought to walk back his comments, instead saying that “the only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.”
Trump has publicly urged Ukraine and China to look into the Bidens. Those comments are at the heart of an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats.
Hunter Biden joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a natural gas giant in Ukraine, in 2014. The company’s founder was under investigation by prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, who the U.S., United Kingdom and other Western governments argued had failed to rein in corruption in the country.
The U.S. threatened to withhold roughly $1 billion in loan guarantees if Shokin was not replaced as prosecutor general, a message Joe Biden delivered to officials in Kiev while serving as vice president and recounted during a 2018 Council on Foreign Relations conference.
Trump has also claimed that Hunter Biden got $1.5 billion from China, similarly alleging it is evidence of corruption involving the former vice president and his family.
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Hunter Biden has business connections to China, but there is no evidence of how much he’s made or that it had any relation to his father’s work while in office.