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Hunter Biden on Sunday insisted it was not a “mistake” to take a lucrative seat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was overseeing US policy to battle corruption in the country.
In the tearful interview on “CBS Sunday Morning,” the president’s son also claimed he couldn’t “remember” leaving a laptop at a Delaware repair shop — which became the center of a Post expose about his dealings with with the natural energy firm Burisma — and also insisted he would be “100 percent” cleared by a federal probe into his finances.
“I don’t think I made a mistake in taking a spot on that board. I think I made a mistake in terms of underestimating the way it would be used against me,” he said of the $50,000-a-month gig that raised eyebrows and ignited a political firestorm because his dad, President Biden, was serving as vice president in the Obama administration at the time.
Asked by host Tracy Smith if he at least understood the bad “optics” of being on the company’s board, the son said he did not.
“Because I really didn’t. I’m being as honest as I possibly can. All I know is not one investigative body, not one serious journalist has ever accused has ever come to the conclusion that I did anything wrong, that my father did anything wrong,” he responded in the interview to promote his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” which will be released Tuesday.
The Post last October revealed that Hunter introduced his father to a top executive at Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company that had been investigated for corruption.The revelations were contained in a series of emails found on a MacBook pro laptop that Hunter dropped off at a Wilmington, Del., computer repair company in April 2019 but forgot to pick up.
Hunter admitted that there “certainly” could be a laptop out there — but he couldn’t recall if he dropped off the one that included the emails at the shop.
“Not that I remember at all,” he said.
“Certainly, there could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me, that could be that I was hacked, it could be that it was Russian intelligence, it could be that it was stolen from me,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s work at Burisma has come under intense scrutiny by Congress and by federal prosecutors, who are investigating his “tax affairs” while sitting on the board.
He acknowledged the probe into his finances but predicted that he would be cleared in the long run.
“I’m cooperating completely. And I am absolutely certain, 100 percent certain, that at the end of the investigation, that I will be cleared of any wrongdoing,” Hunter said.
“You’re 100 percent certain you’ll be cleared?” Smith asked.
“I’m 100 percent certain of it. And all I can do is cooperate, and trust in the process,” he added.
In the interview, Hunter also addressed his years of drug and alcohol addiction, how that affected the relationship between him and his father, and the relationship he had with Hallie Biden, the widow of his late brother Beau.
At one point he recalled that after falling off the wagon following a stint in rehab he found himself scrounging carpets where he woke up looking for something to smoke.
“I spent more time on my hands and knees picking through rugs, smoking anything that even remotely resembled crack cocaine. I probably smoked more Parmesan cheese than anyone that you know. I mean, I went one time for 13 days without sleeping, and smoking crack and drinking vodka exclusively throughout that entire time,” Hunter said.
The death of his brother Beau, a war veteran and Delaware attorney general of brain cancer in 2015, shook the entire family.
Hunter, who was married at the time, began a relationship with Hallie.
Smith asked him how people reacted to him and Hallie.
“I think people were confused by it,” Hunter said.
“And I understand that. I mean, I really do. To me, it’s not something that is difficult to explain. Because it came out of a real overwhelming grief that we both shared. And we were together, and trying to do the right thing. And that grief turned into a hope for a love that maybe could replace what we lost. And it didn’t work. It didn’t work,” he continued.
Smith said the consequences also involved Hunter losing clients and having to step down from the World Food Programme.
“Yeah. Well, I made a lot of decisions that I probably shouldn’t have made. There was a lot more compassion and understanding from the people that knew me. But it was a horrible time, too,” he said.
Since then, he and his wife Kathleen, the mother of their three daughters, have divorced and he married Melissa Cohen in 2019, and continues to fight his addictions.
He teared up at the end of the interview, saying his father still talks to him every night.
“Well, we talk at least every night. Yeah, sometimes by the way. Not only does he talk to me every night, he calls every one of my daughters. He talks to each one of them every day, and he talks to me,” he said.
“But, by the way, he’s always done that. I mean, always. He talks to each one of us. I tell you why, because he’s lost,” he said, pausing before continuing. “Because he like me knows what it’s like not to be able to pick up the phone and talk to your son.”
“And he almost lost you,” Smith said.
“It’s hard,” he said.
“I’m a Biden, we cry too much. Yeah. You know, I guess one of the reasons that I’m crying is because, you know, beautiful beings, we’re here.”
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