Trump speaks out during war in Ukraine to call on Putin to release Hunter Biden dirt

Mr Trump has a history of asking foreign leaders for dirt on his political opponents

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Tuesday 29 March 2022 17:07 BST
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Five years and eight months after he asked Russia to release damaging information on former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump still hopes Russia is listening.

In an interview with right-wing publication Just the News, Mr Trump said Russian president Vladimir Putin should release information about a Russian widow’s investment into a company Republicans claim is connected to Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s younger and sole surviving son.

Mr Trump has long claimed Hunter Biden received a $3.5m payment from Elena Baturina, the widow of late Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and has suggested – without evidence – that such a payment was intended to curry favour with the elder Mr Biden for corrupt purposes.

Mr Trump told Just the News Mr Putin should release information the matter, which he also tried raising at his first debate with Joe Biden.

“She gave him $3.5 million so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” he said. “I think we should know that answer.”

A report prepared by Senate Republicans to aid Mr Trump’s re-election campaign alleged Hunter Biden received the $3.5m pursuant to a “consultancy agreement” through a firm called Rosemont Seneca Thorton.

While Hunter Biden was a co-founder and CEO of an investment firm called Rosemont Seneca Advisors, his attorney, George Mesires, has said Mr Biden has no connection to Rosemont Seneca Thorton, and it’s not known what, if any, connection exists between the two companies.

Mr Trump has frequently sought foreign assistance to damage his perceived political enemies.

In July 2016, he infamously called on Russia’s government to release emails he claimed Ms Clinton was withholding to prevent discovery of damaging information about her.

Speaking at a press conference at his Doral, Florida golf resort, he said: "Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens”.

Nearly three years later, he tried blackmailing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing a sham investigation into Hunter Biden’s work as a board member for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

At the time, Mr Zelensky’s armed forces were battling against Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, and the newly-elected Ukrainian president asked Mr Trump to sell Ukraine more Javelin anti-tank missiles to stop Russian tanks.

Mr Trump responded: “I would like you to do us a favour though,” and went on to tell Mr Zelensky to speak with then-attorney general Bill Barr about a conspiracy theory which posited that Joe Biden corruptly withheld US and EU-backed loan guarantees so Mr Zelensky’s predecessor would fire then-prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin because he was allegedly investigating Hunter Biden.

In reality, then-Vice President Biden was carrying out the wishes of the Obama administration as well as the EU and IMF in pushing for the firing of Mr Shokin, who was widely regarded as corrupt. Mr Trump’s attempt at blackmail was later reported to Congress by a whistle-blower, leading to the first of his two impeachment trials.

Mr Trump also told Just the News he would still like to have more information about Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma. The information he seeks may not exist, but he complained that none would be forthcoming because Mr Zelensky is unlikely to take any action to damage Joe Biden while the US is assisting Ukraine fight off the unprovoked invasion Mr Putin launched last month.

“Now, you won't get the answer from Ukraine,” he said.

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