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Trump to bring Hunter Biden's ex-business associate Tony Bobulinski to final debate, claims Fox News

Mr Trump’s stunt is similar to one that he deployed during a 2016 debate with then Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton

Louise Boyle
New York
Friday 23 October 2020 00:36 BST
Hunter Biden’s reported former business associate says it is false that ⁦Joe Biden never discussed business with his son
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Donald Trump intends to bring Hunter Biden’s reported former business associate, Tony Bobulinski, as his guest to the final presidential debate.

The news of Mr Trump’s guest was reported by John Roberts, Fox News’ Chief White House Correspondent.

Mr Bobulinski claims that he was CEO of Sinohawk Holdings, a firm that he alleged was “a partnership between the Chinese operating through CEFC/Chairman Ye and the Biden family", Fox News reported.

Mr Bobulinski’s emails formed a large part of the story published this month by the New York Post, which claimed that Hunter Biden had connected a Ukrainian board member of the energy company, Burisma, with his father while he was vice president.

Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s lawyer, appears to have been a source for the story, as was Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser who is now facing federal fraud charges.

Other outlets, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times have been unable to independently verify or authenticate the story. The Times reported on Wednesday that some New York Post reporters would not allow their bylines to be added to the story. 

More than 50 senior intelligence officials signed a letter earlier this month saying that the Hunter Biden emails story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation”.

In a conference call with reporters ahead of Thursday night’s debate, Mr Biden’s campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said that Mr Trump would be “amplifying Russian disinformation” if he brings it up.

“If we see tonight from Donald Trump these attacks on Vice President Biden’s family, I think we need to be very, very clear that what he’s doing here is amplifying Russia disinformation,” Bedingfield said.

Senate Republicans, led by Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, published a report in September on Hunter Biden’s business dealings. 

The report alleges that Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma was problematic and interfered in “the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine”, Politifact reported. It also claimed that Hunter, and other members of the Biden family "cashed in on Joe Biden’s vice presidency." 

Ultimately, the year-long investigation found no evidence of improper influence or wrongdoing by the former VP, the New York Times reported last month.

When asked this week if there was any legitimacy to the report alleging  Hunter profited off his name, Joe Biden said there was "none whatsoever" and that the “vast majority of intelligence people” said there was no basis to the claims.

"This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump's henchman, it's a last-ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family," Mr Biden told Milwaukee's WISN 12 News.

"Ron should be ashamed of himself."

Mr Trump became only the third US president to be impeached this year, over his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to try to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

Mr Trump’s stunt is similar to one that he deployed during a 2016 debate with then Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, when he invited women who have accused former president Bill Clinton of sexual abuse to sit in the audience.

The final debate is scheduled for 22 October from 9pm-10.30pm (Eastern Time) in Nashville, Tennessee.

It will focus on six topics selected by the moderator, NBC's Kristen Welker.

The topics for the final debate are: "Fighting COVID-19," "American Families," "Race in America," "Climate Change," "National Security" and "Leadership."

The debate commission announced that candidates will have their microphones muted as their opponent gives his opening two-minute answer to each question, following a chaotic first debate full of interruptions largely by Mr Trump.

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