NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign hinted Thursday that he will try to brush off debate questions about his involvement in son Hunter’s overseas business deals by claiming newly revealed documents are “Russian misinformation” — despite US spy agencies concluding there’s no Russia link.
Biden communications director Kate Bedingfield told the Wall Street Journal: “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 Russian misinformation.”
Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Monday that a Hunter Biden laptop with documents implicating Joe Biden in overseas business deals “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senate Republicans concurred.
On Thursday, former Hunter Biden business partner Tony Bobulinski corroborated to The Post the appearance of Joe Biden being cut into a China business deal. A 2017 email recovered from the hard drive describes a 10 percent set-aside for “the big guy” as part of a prospective deal involving China’s largest private energy company.
“The reference to “the Big Guy” in the much publicized May 13, 2017 email is in fact a reference to Joe Biden,” Bobulinski said.
Trump is expected to hammer Biden on the subject at Thursday night’s final presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn., following The Post’s reporting on documents that contradict Joe Biden’s claim he was uninvolved in Hunter Biden’s lucrative gigs abroad.
He has also invited Bobulinski to the debate, sources said, and plans to point to him in the audience when he brings up the subject.
Meanwhile, both Biden and Trump tested negative for COVID-19 before the forum, aides said, meaning it will proceed as planned after the Commission on Presidential Debates canceled the second scheduled debate following Trump’s Oct. 1 diagnosis with the virus.
New debate rules allow the Commission to mute candidate mics if they go over their allotted time, infuriating Trump, who says the group is biased against him.
“Hopefully he’s gonna play by the rules,” Biden said as he boarded a plane for Tennessee. “Hopefully everybody’s been tested. Hopefully it’s all worked out. This is way the rules are. I’m looking forward to this.”
At a chaotic first debate in Cleveland, Trump pressed Biden on his son’s cushy career in foreign countries. Joe Biden did not dispute any facts in detail, simply saying Trump’s assertions were “not true.’
Emails implicating Joe Biden in his son’s business dealings in China and Ukraine were first reported by The Post this month after a Delaware computer repairman provided a copy of the hard drive to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The repairman, whose identity The Post confirmed before publication, is working with the Senate homeland security committee, chaired by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who released a report last month alleging Hunter Biden was paid $3.5 million in 2014 by the wife of Moscow’s former mayor, for unknown reasons.
House Democrats impeached Trump in December for asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, including Hunter Biden’s reported $83,000 per month job on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma, despite no relevant industry experience.
A 2015 email published by The Post indicates Hunter Biden facilitated a meeting between then-Vice President Biden and Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi.
Biden, who led the Obama administration Ukraine policy, said last year, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” including his work on Burisma’s board. In a carefully worded statement, Biden’s campaign said last week there were no meetings with Pozharskyi on the former vice president’s “official schedules.”
The Justice Department and FBI concur with spy chief Ratcliffe’s statement that the laptop’s release was not a Russian plot, Fox News reported.
Johnson (R-Wis.) told The Post last week there’s an active investigation of the hard drive content. Johnson said in a Wednesday interview on “Hannity” that “all we have found is verification. We haven’t found any discrepancies” in the new documents.
As part of a different China-related deal, Hunter Biden flew aboard Air Force Two with his then-veep father in December 2013 on an official visit to Beijing where Joe Biden reportedly met with Hunter’s Chinese partners. Ten days later, the troubled son’s firm inked a deal with a state-backed bank to create a $1 billion investment firm.
Trump has turned Biden’s alleged corruption into a major campaign issue in the closing days of the campaign.
“The Biden family treated the vice presidency as a for-profit corporation,” Trump charged at a rally last week. “Vice President Biden, you owe the people of America an apology because it turns out you are a corrupt politician.”
“Wow. Today’s @nypost story on Joe Biden’s corruption is a monster. Many witnesses to a crime against our Country. This isn’t going away. Even the Lamestream Media is starting to say it must be covered!” Trump tweeted Thursday.