The White House has criticised former US president Donald Trump’s request for Russian President Vladimir Putin to release potentially damaging information on Joe Biden’s son, calling the move particularly poorly timed as war rages in Ukraine.
Reporters asked White House spokesperson Kate Bedingfield about the Mr Trump’s comments on the Just the News TV program, which raised unsubstantiated questions about Hunter Biden’s former business dealings in Russia.
“I think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it,” Mr Trump said.
His comment came as Western nations try to persuade Mr Putin to end his five-week-long assault on Ukraine.
“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 is only one, and it’s Donald Trump,” Bedingfield said on Wednesday.
Mr Trump’s remarks came a week a federal judge ruled he “more likely than not” committed a felony by trying to overturn his election defeat on January 6, 2021, and as his business remains under investigation.
During the military build-up preceding the invasion of Ukraine, Mr Trump praised Mr Putin as a “genius”. Once the attack had commenced, he condemned it as “appalling”.
Mr Trump’s long-running search for information on Hunter Biden that could be politically damaging to his successor as president, Joe Biden, led to the first of his two impeachments. It was over what presidential aides said was an effort to withhold hundreds of millions in military aid and a White House visit unless Ukrainian officials announced investigations into Mr Biden’s son.
During his 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Republican publicly suggested Russian hackers could help find Ms Clinton’s emails.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails,” he said.