Donald Trump in a new interview called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release information regarding alleged dealings between Eastern European oligarchs and Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son.
Trump’s remarks, in an interview with discredited far-right journalist John Solomon, were published Tuesday by the “Just the News” television show on the Real America’s Voice network.
In making his claims about Hunter Biden, Trump cited the findings of a controversial, highly politicized investigation by Senate Republicans into the Bidens, which was published just weeks before the 2020 election and produced little new evidence of wrongdoing.
Trump has repeatedly promoted dubious claims of foreign business dealings by Hunter Biden, specifically alleging that he received millions of dollars from the wife of Moscow’s late mayor, Yury Luzhkov.
“She gave him $3.5 million so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Trump said in the interview, conducted at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “I think we should know that answer.”
Trump failed to mention that he himself sought to do business with Luzhkov’s government in the late 1990s, according to POLITICO. Trump also was pursuing high-profile real estate deals in Russia as recently as 2016, including a proposed Trump Tower Moscow.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment on Trump’s remarks. Attorneys for Hunter Biden did not immediately return a request for comment.
Hunter Biden revealed in 2020 that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware was investigating his tax affairs. POLITICO also reported at the time that the securities fraud unit in the Southern District of New York scrutinized his finances.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the federal tax investigation into Hunter Biden is gaining momentum, with prosecutors in Delaware seeking information and grand jury testimony in recent weeks.
Trump’s new interview is far from the first time the former president has suggested or openly demanded that foreign governments intervene to damage his domestic political rivals.
In 2016, Trump publicly asked the Russian government to obtain and release emails from the private email server that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used during her tenure as secretary of State.
In 2019, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for allegedly withholding crucial military aid from Ukraine unless President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced investigations targeting the Bidens and other Democrats on discredited allegations.
Trump’s new request of Putin raises the specter of those scandals, as the Russian president plods on with his more than monthlong war in Ukraine and Zelenskyy’s forces continue to fend off the invaders.
Trump described Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as “genius” and “savvy” last month, and he argued that Joe Biden was “almost giving [Putin] an incentive” to deploy nuclear weapons amid the conflict last week.