How Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump have profited off their dad’s presidency


(from left) Eric Trump, Don Jr., and Ivanka Trump PHOTO/GQ AUSTRALIA

As House Democrats continue their impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s efforts to leverage foreign aid for political favors, among his most ardent defenders, as usual, are Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric.

“Why didn’t @JoeBiden recuse himself from dealing with Ukraine?” Don Jr. tweeted recently. “His son was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated by the prosecutor who Joe pushed to be fired.” This, Don Jr. argued, created the “appearance of impropriety,” and constituted a “clear conflict of interest.”

Eric was similarly critical of this arrangement in an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show on October 2. Hunter, Biden’s son, “didn’t know anything about the industry he was in,” Eric protested. “He didn’t have any discernible duties, and he’s getting paid $50,000 a month? And then he gets $1.5 billion from China? Laura, it’s insane.”

It is perhaps true that when the vice president is in charge of American foreign policy in Ukraine, his son’s service on the board of a Ukrainian energy company is not a great look. But the Trumps have omitted or misstated key facts en route to their anti-nepotism outrage. Biden joined the international community in calling for the ouster of Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, because Shokin was slow-walking investigations and ignoring the corruption he’d been charged with rooting out. If anything, Biden’s efforts to get rid of Shokin increased the likelihood that the energy company, Burisma Holdings, would face meaningful scrutiny.

The $1.5-billion-from-China talking point, meanwhile, is a wildly-distorted reference to the financial maneuverings of an investment fund called BHR Partners. Hunter Biden served on the fund’s advisory board beginning in 2013, and acquired a ten-percent stake in 2017. A lawyer for Hunter Biden told the Washington Post that his client received no compensation as a BHR board member, and has not seen a return on his investment since becoming an investor.

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