When Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter appeared in public together in Beijing during the 2013 trip, it looked like a mini-family vacation tacked on to a business trip.
With granddaughter Finnegan in with them, the Biden men sipped tea in a teahouse, looked at books at local shops and treated themselves to some afternoon ice cream.
Now, six years later, Biden’s trip to Beijing is coming under new scrutiny in the midst of revelations concerning President Donald Trump’s efforts to find information to corroborate his allegations regarding Biden and his son’s work in Ukraine.
As he accompanied his father to China, Hunter Biden was forming a Chinese private equity fund that associates said at the time was planning to raise big money, including from China. Hunter Biden has acknowledged meeting with Jonathan Li, a Chinese banker and his partner in the fund during the trip, although his spokesman says it was a social visit.
Trump is seeking to expand his corruption accusations beyond Ukraine. The president has accused Hunter Biden of using his trip on Air Force Two to procure $1.5 billion from China for his fund, calling it “a horrible thing.”
There have been no allegations of corruption or impropriety on the part of the former vice president.
“The Washington Post Fact Checker has dismantled this conspiracy theory,” said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates. “Donald Trump’s degradation of his office is unacceptable.”
“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden said last month.
The renewed interest in the China trip comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry from the House after a whistleblower in the intelligence community brought attention to a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Trump, in the call, seemed to press the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden and his son as a “favor” and seemed to link it to the sale of Javelin missiles by the U.S. to the Ukrainians.
Democrats say that constituted an abuse of Trump’s presidential powers for political purposes given Biden’s position as a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.