When the now famous phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was revealed, it was former Vice President Joe Biden's son who was at the center of it all. Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president. That call, and the apparent withholding of military aid unless Ukraine did what Trump asked, is ultimately what got Trump impeached. As the Senate holds a trial to decide whether to remove him from office or not, the younger Biden keeps surfacing in the news as Republican members of Congress consider whether to call him to testify.
Trump reportedly wanted Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden's work with Burisma, one of the country's largest natural gas companies. Hunter Biden served on the Burisma board for five years, from 2014 to 2019, having previously worked with the company during his time as a lawyer with the Boies Schiller Flexner law firm. Around the time his son joined the board, Joe Biden was handling U.S. policy regarding Ukraine in his capacity as vice president. Hunter Biden was also serving at the time on the board of BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company, which is based in China. He resigned at the end of October last year.
Trump claims the Biden family was "paid off" and took "millions" from Ukraine and China, though there is no evidence that any of Hunter Biden's business dealings ever came into contact with the vice president's work. Trump alluded in his call with Zelensky to work Joe Biden did under the Obama administration to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor, but Joe Biden's efforts were in line with international consensus at the time. Hunter Biden has further denied doing anything wrong, though he said in an ABC News interview last October that he had shown "poor judgment" in getting into the situation at all.
Hunter Biden's lawyer, George Mesires, published a statement on Medium on his client's behalf in October, noting that Hunter Biden's business activities were independent of his father. "Under a Biden administration, Hunter will readily comply with any and all guidelines or standards a President [Joe] Biden may issue to address purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts, including any restrictions related to overseas business interests," Mesires wrote. "In any event, Hunter will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign owned companies." Mic reached out to Mesires for additional comment but did not receive a response.
In the ABC News interview, Hunter Biden touched a bit on what he has been up to lately, and noted that he is a private citizen, which means he is therefore not subject to the same scrutiny that elected officials receive when it comes to how he makes his money. He said he is continuing to work on his sobriety — he has been open about struggling with alcohol and substance use disorder — and says his new wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, whom he married within a week of meeting her, has been his "redemption." Hunter Biden is also facing a paternity lawsuit from a woman in Arkansas, who claims he is the father of her child. He denies that, but a paternity test ordered by the court reportedly showed that he is the father, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Mic reached out to the Joe Biden campaign about what Hunter is currently up to, but they did not have further comment.
"I talk to my dad every day. I live my life in the open," Hunter Biden told ABC News last year. "I get in my car in the morning and I go down the road and I get coffee. And I go to the same place for lunch with Melissa. And I go about doing my business and my work, and I come back at night. And we watch — you know, Netflix, and then we do it all again in the morning, just like anybody else."
But what about all this impeachment trial testimony noise? Even if Republicans did manage to call him as a witness in the Senate trial, it's unlikely that much would come of it, give the trial is focused on uncovering whether Trump did anything wrong, not whether Hunter Biden did. At the center of the trial is the phone call with Zelensky and the apparently withholding of aid, two things that Hunter Biden wouldn't know anything about. Instead, his testimony would serve to give Republicans a distraction from the issue at hand — which is probably why Democrats have largely shot down the idea.