Biden blames staff, says nobody ‘warned’ him son’s Ukraine job could raise conflict

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Biden says he won't appear as impeachment witness in potential Senate trial

2020 Democrat hopeful Joe Biden tells Fox News' Peter Doocy he will not voluntarily appear if called to testify in a Senate impeachment trial for President Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed in a new interview that when his son Hunter was a board member of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings while he was in office, no one informed him that it could pose a problem.

Biden insisted again that Hunter did nothing wrong, but this time appeared to fault his staff for not cluing him in that there could be concerns about his son's involvement with the foreign company that had been under investigation while Biden was in office and dealing with Ukraine policy.

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"Nobody warned me about a potential conflict of interest. Nobody warned me about that," Biden told NPR in a story posted Monday.

State Department official George Kent addressed this during his testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, acknowledging that he told staff members there was concern over the appearance of a conflict of interest, but that no one told the vice president because his older son Beau was suffering from what was ultimately a fatal battle with brain cancer.

"They should have told me," Biden says now. Hunter's dealings and the elder Biden's role ousting a prosecutor looking into Burisma are being used by Trump and his supporters against the now-2020 presidential candidate, even as Trump's effort to press for an investigation into that conduct has spurred the impeachment inquiry.

"The appearance looked bad and it gave folks like Rudy Giuliani an excuse to come up with a Trumpian kind of defense, while they were violating the Constitution," Biden said.

Trump's impeachment inquiry has focused primarily on his request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, as well as Democratic activities during the 2016 election. Democrats have accused Trump of using a White House visit for Zelensky and the delay of military aid to Ukraine as leverage.

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Trump insists he did nothing wrong and that he never called for any quid pro quo with the investigations. His administration claims that Trump was simply concerned about corruption within the Ukrainian government, asserting that is part of why he delayed the aid. Trump has also hammered the Bidens for alleged impropriety, blasting the former vice president for pressuring Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.

In the past, Biden has bragged publicly about threatening to withhold money from Ukraine in order to force the prosecutor's termination, but he claims it was due to suspicions of corruption, not because of his son's role with Burisma.

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who recently endorsed Biden for president, also claimed following a Biden campaign event Sunday that he "had no knowledge" of Hunter's involvement with Burisma while he was secretary.

This, despite Kerry's stepson Christopher Heinz reportedly notifying two of Kerry's aides after Hunter Biden became a Burisma board member. Heinz and Hunter Biden had been business partners, co-owning the private equity firm Rosemont Seneca. According to the Washington Examiner, an email from Heinz to Kerry's aides distanced Heinz from Burisma, saying "there was no investment by our firm in their company," and claiming ignorance as to why Hunter became involved in the Ukrainian firm.

Fox News' Rob DiRienzo contributed to this report.

Original Article

Steele warned that IG report contains information previously blacked out, report says

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Horowitz report will reportedly criticize FBI leaders for handling of Russia probe

The IG report on the origins of the Russia probe will reportedly hit FBI leadership for their handling of the investigation, according to The New York Times.

Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy and author of the anti-Trump dossier, was reportedly told that the Justice Department will release information about him that was previously blacked out in the department’s internal watchdog report on the investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign due on Monday.

The New York Times, citing two individuals with knowledge of the situation, reported that Attorney General William Barr approved the release of the previously redacted information in Michael Horowitz’s 400-page report. The report called Steele’s heads-up unusual and said he was not given any indication of whether the information would benefit or hurt him. An after-hours email from Fox News to the Justice Department was not immediately returned.

Steele is poised to be a notable figure in the Horowitz report because he provided opposition research into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia which was funded by Democrats and the Clinton campaign.

Much of the Steele dossier has been proven discredited or unsubstantiated, including the dossier's claims that the Trump campaign was paying hackers in the United States out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami, and that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russians.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller also was unable to substantiate the dossier's claims that Carter Page, who worked on the Trump campaign, had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant, or that a lurid blackmail tape involving the president existed.

IG Horowitz to release the highly anticipated report on alleged FISA abuseVideo

Horowitz's report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump's 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by Mueller .

The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claims is politically biased.

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Still, the release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It's also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Trump's attorney general, William Barr and led by a U.S. attorney, John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn't examining.

Trump tweeted Sunday: "I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!"

Fox News' Gregg Re and the Associated Press contributed to this report

Original Article