WASHINGTON — President Biden welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White Home on Wednesday — and White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted that first son Hunter Biden’s well-paid work within the poor post-Soviet nation wouldn’t be mentioned by the leaders.
Biden and Zelensky took no questions from reporters after exchanging pleasantries within the Oval Workplace. They then met privately for almost two hours.
Biden’s predecessor President Donald Trump was impeached by Home Democrats in 2019 for asking Zelensky to look into Hunter Biden’s reported $83,000 per 30 days place on the board of Ukrainian vitality firm Burisma, regardless of no related trade expertise.
He was later acquitted within the Senate.
Psaki curtly gave a single-word reply — “no” — when Nationwide Public Radio reporter Scott Detrow requested her throughout her day by day press briefing if Biden meant to debate his son’s work with Zelensky.
Detrow requested Psaki, “The occasions, the calls for, the telephone calls that led as much as the 2019 impeachment — I’m simply questioning, did they consider any approach in the best way the White Home ready for this assembly, particularly the truth that Hunter Biden was a key a part of these conversations with the final administration and Zelensky. And did President Biden count on in any approach, form or type to handle that dynamic in at present’s assembly?”
The primary son, who’s at the moment providing to promote his novice artworks to nameless patrons for as much as $500,000, joined Burisma’s board in 2014 whereas his then-vice president father led the Obama administration’s Ukraine coverage. He reportedly left the corporate in 2019.
Hunter Biden’s reported revenue of almost $1 million per yr for advising Burisma got here regardless of Ukraine’s intense poverty. The nation’s annual per capita GDP is lower than $4,000, in keeping with World Financial institution information.
The White Home day by day schedule stated Biden meant to debate with Zelensky “our backing for [his] efforts to deal with corruption and implement a reform agenda based mostly on our shared democratic values.”
However there was no point out of corruption throughout a short press availability within the Oval Workplace.
The president’s involvement together with his son’s abroad enterprise offers usually is murky. However The Publish reported in October that an electronic mail recovered from a laptop computer previously belonging to Hunter Biden indicated he launched his father to a Burisma govt in 2015 — regardless of Biden’s 2019 declare that “I’ve by no means spoken to my son about his abroad enterprise dealings.”
The Biden marketing campaign stated final yr that no such assembly occurred as described, however this yr The Publish printed further data indicating that the visiting Burisma exec probably met Biden at Cafe Milano in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood at a dinner with numerous different worldwide enterprise companions of the then-second son additionally in attendance.
The general public portion of Biden’s assembly with Zelensky contained acquainted international coverage themes and made little information.
Biden vowed that the US was “firmly dedicated” to Ukraine’s independence within the face of “Russian aggression.”
“The US stays firmly dedicated to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within the face of Russian aggression,” Biden stated initially of the long-awaited assembly with Zelensky.
“Right this moment we’re going to debate how the US can proceed to help Ukraine because it advances its democratic reforms agenda,” he stated.
Biden didn’t reply shouted questions on Afghanistan, even amid fierce criticism of his dealing with of the US navy withdrawal and a leaked telephone name he had with ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani through which he requested Ghani to create the “notion” that the Taliban weren’t successful, “whether or not it’s true or not.”
Biden’s assembly with Zelensky was quietly postponed two days in the past because of the chaotic exit of US troops from Afghanistan.
In 2019, Trump urged the Ukrainian chief to analyze Biden and his son for alleged corruption as Zelensky requested for a White Home invitation. The Senate later acquitted him of abuse of energy.
Zelensky on Wednesday pushed Biden for elevated navy support, COVID-19 vaccine donations and backing for Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership.
“I want to talk about with President Biden right here his imaginative and prescient, his authorities’s imaginative and prescient of Ukraine’s possibilities to hitch NATO and the timeframe for this accession, whether it is potential,” Zelensky stated within the Oval Workplace.