Washington (CNN) — In a new interview published Tuesday, former President Donald Trump called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to release any damaging information he has about the Biden family, in a brazen request for domestic political assistance from America’s top adversary.
It is the latest example of Trump’s willingness to solicit to accept domestic political help from foreign powers, including Putin, who is currently overseeing a bloody war against Ukraine.
In an interview with JustTheNews, Trump made an unproven claim about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Russia and asked Putin to release any information he might have on the situation. It is not clear if any material exists, or if the Kremlin has access to it.
“I think Putin would know the answer to that,” Trump said, referring to Hunter Biden’s potential dealings in Russia. “I think he should post it. I think we should know that answer.”
It is true that Hunter Biden was paid handsomely for the consulting work he did in foreign countries, including Ukraine and China, while his father, President Joe Biden, was vice president. The Department of Justice has an ongoing criminal investigation into these dealings and possible financial crimes.
But no evidence has emerged to support Trump’s claims that the Bidens engaged in corruption or influenced US politics for personal gain, and the president has not been implicated in the investigation. Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing and says he will be acquitted when the criminal investigation is over.
Trump’s public appeal to Putin dates back to his infamous July 2016 comment in which he said, “Russia, if you’re listening,” and then urged Putin to hack Hillary Clinton’s personal emails. It was the beginning of a years-long effort by Trump to improve his political prospects with foreign help.
The Trump campaign in 2016 also welcomed and took advantage of Russia’s operation to meddle in the elections against Clinton. For example, the campaign used to play Democratic emails that were hacked and leaked by the Russian military, and members of Trump’s inner circle also met during the campaign with a Russian agent who promised to find out malicious information about Clinton.
In 2019, Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch baseless corruption investigations against then-candidate Joe Biden and withheld nearly $400 million in US military aid as part of the scheme. This incident led to Trump’s first impeachment trial.
And during the 2020 campaign, some of Trump’s top allies collaborated with a known Russian spy to spread disinformation about Biden and his family, including some of the same corruption allegations that Trump mentioned in the new interview.
The clip of Trump asking Putin for help was posted by a news website founded by John Solomon, a pro-Trump journalist whose previous coverage of the Bidens’ ties to Ukraine has been debunked. He told CNN that the interview was taped Monday at Mar-a-Lago.