Presidential Relatives Behaving Badly: What’s the Difference Between Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner?


It’s about timing with Kushner, and it’s about transparency with Biden, according to former White House ethics czar Richard Painter

Given that, in the last few weeks, I’ve written about ethics controversies around both Jared Kushner and Hunter Biden, I thought it was important to think about the differences and similarities between the two.

Kushner’s appearance of self-interest (his investment fund received $2 billion from PIF, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, over the objections of PIF’s financial advisors) is far worse than Biden’s, because Kushner was actually an official in the Trump White House, guiding policy in the Gulf, and, so it appears, possibly benefitting financially from policy favorable to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS—possibly at significant cost to U.S. national security. (See both my previous reporting on this—Part OnePart Two, and Part Three—as well as my book, Kushner Inc.)

Hunter Biden, on the other hand, has (sensibly) been kept far away from his father’s White House, but, even so, his past efforts at influence-peddling his father’s vice-presidency bear shades of Billy Carter. And there are questions as to whether Joe Biden, as vice-president, was as careful as he should have been at keeping out of his son’s business dealings. The big question remains as to why close Putin ally Vladimir Yevtushenkov, with whom Hunter Biden reportedly met, is still not sanctioned. Had Joe Biden never met with some of Hunter’s foreign business partners, who knew Yevtushenkov, the question would not be so problematic.

But the bottom line, as the ethics lawyer Richard Painter rightly points out below, is that the two cases are really not comparable. Jared Kushner’s conduct should not be the measuring stick by which we judge Hunter Biden. Regardless, that does not mean the media should give Hunter Biden—or his father—a pass, which does seem to be what is happening in the mainstream press.

I did two interviews with Painter, one on Kushner and one on Biden. Read them both at “Vicky Ward Investigates.”