Update: The White House on Wednesday expressed skepticism and disgust following Donald Trump's Tuesday interview regarding Hunter Biden. "What kind of American, let alone an ex-president, thinks that this is the right time to enter into a scheme with Vladimir Putin and brag about his connections to Vladimir Putin? There’s only one, and it’s Donald Trump," White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said at a press briefing, per the Hill. Our original story from Tuesday follows:
Donald Trump has a request for Vladimir Putin—and it's not "please stop bombing Ukrainian hospitals." Instead, the former president wants the Russian leader to dig up some dirt on Hunter Biden, Politico reports. In an interview for right-wing TV show Just the News on the Real America's Voice network, Trump claimed the widow of late Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov had given millions to a company linked to President Biden's son. "She gave him $3.5 million so now I would think Putin would know the answer to that," Trump said. "I think he should release it."
"I think Putin now would be willing to probably give that answer. I’m sure he knows," Trump added. The former president, who sought to do business with Luzhkov in the 1990s, has made similar claims before but Hunter Biden and his lawyer have denied the allegations, reports Axios. Trump's first impeachment, in Feb. 2020, came after he was accused of abusing his power by withholding military aid as he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation of Joe and Hunter Biden.
This isn't the first time Trump has urged Russia to provide information that could help him politically: In 2016, he asked Russia to find Hillary Clinton's emails, but later said he was "being sarcastic." Aaron Blake at the Washington Post notes that unlike in 2016, polls show just 1% of Americans have a favorable view of Putin. Blake writes that if Putin did offer any information on Hunter Biden, it would be highly suspect, as "it’s become blatantly obvious that his invasion of Ukraine has been premised on disinformation—including the idea that ... Ukraine was somehow the aggressor." Sources tell the Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, that a federal tax investigation of Hunter Biden is gathering steam. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)