- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 31, 2021

After having his private and professional life take center stage during the 2020 presidential election, Hunter Biden is set on getting even with the “vile man” he believes responsible — former President Donald Trump

“He pushed debunked conspiracy theories about work I did in Ukraine and China, even as his own children had pocketed millions in China and Russia and his former campaign manager sat in a jail cell for laundering millions more from Ukraine,” writes Mr. Biden, the younger son of President Biden, in his upcoming memoir “Beautiful Things.”

Within the book, the younger Mr. Biden sheds light on his life as a member of America’s new first family, as well as his decades-long battle with substance abuse.

“I’ve bought crack cocaine on the streets of Washington, D.C., and cooked up my own inside a hotel bungalow in Los Angeles,” Mr. Biden writes. “‘I’ve been so desperate for a drink that I couldn’t make the one-block walk between a liquor store and my apartment without uncapping the bottle to take a swig.”

The book, which is slated for publication early next month, is being pitched for its candidness. While excerpts reviewed by the Washington Times indicate Mr. Biden is forthcoming about his tribulations with drug abuse, little is said about his business dealings.

For decades, Mr. Biden has found himself in professional roles connected to his father’s political influence. 

In 1996, at the age of 26 and fresh out of Yale Law School, Mr. Biden was hired as a senior vice president at MBNA Corp. The company at the time was one of the largest credit card distributors in the U.S. It was also the largest donor to then-Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Delaware. 

The position raised eyebrows from ethics watchdogs as MBNA employees had just donated $63,000 to the senator’s re-election campaign in what appeared to be a coordinated manner to sidestep federal campaign finance regulations.

Mr. Biden remained on the company’s payroll as a consultant throughout the mid-2000s. The agreement, which was not unveiled until 2008, struck many as troublesome because Mr. Biden’s father was championing legislation to make bankruptcy reform harder, an outcome that proved profitable to credit card giants like MBNA.

Mr. Biden similarly engaged with politically-connected businesses during his father’s tenure as vice president. One of those dealings, with the Ukrainian natural-gas giant Burisma Holdings, became a central issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. 

Mr. Biden joined Burisma’s board of directors in 2014, despite having no background in the energy industry or Eastern Europe. The appointment came shortly after the elder Mr. Biden got the task of leading the Obama administration’s policy towards Ukraine. 

Although the exact nature of Mr. Biden’s relationship with the company has remained unclear, he was paid more than $1 million for his services over a few years. 

Burisma, whose founder has been accused of corruption on multiple occasions, drew the attention of Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign early.

Mr. Trump, in particular, made much of the fact that in 2016 the elder Mr. Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, and even publicly bragged about doing so. The prosecutor at the time had an open investigation into Burisma, although many claim the probe was long dormant. 

Both Bidens have denied any wrongdoing. In his memoir, the younger Mr. Biden attempts to sidestep the controversy, suggesting it’s only “remarkable for its epic banality.” 

“I did nothing unethical, and have never been charged with wrongdoing,” he writes. “In our current political environment, I don’t believe it would make any difference if I took that seat or not. I’d be attacked anyway.”

Mr. Biden’s book also attempts to dismiss the scandal as nothing more than one part of a “vile mission” by Mr. Trump to hold onto the White House.

Trump believed that if he could destroy me, and by extension my father, he could dispatch any candidate of decency from either party, all while diverting attention from his own corrupt behavior,” Mr. Biden writes. 

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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