Biden skirts questions on son’s dealings
US President-elect Joe Biden has spoken of his support for his son Hunter after it was revealed his 'tax affair's are under investigation but pointedly ignored other questions on the topic.
In announcing several appointees to his transition team on Friday (Saturday AEDT) Mr Biden ended his weekly press briefing without any questions from the media regarding the investigation into Hunter Biden's taxes by the Delaware Justice Department.
Mr Biden answered questions on the pandemic and the diversity within his team from reporters, who some claimed were specifically chosen.
However, after wrapping up the official part of the event, reporters then moved to question Mr Biden on the allegations after his transition team released a statement earlier this week.
Reporters shouted several questions at Mr Biden as he left the stage. He avoided answering one question on whether Hunter has committed a crime.
But when asked if he has spoken to his since news of the investigation broke, the Democrat leader replied: "I'm proud of my son".
It was revealed earlier this week, Hunter Biden was the subject of an active investigation from the US Attorney's Office in Delaware.
"I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs," Hunter Biden said in a statement released by his father's transition team.
"I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisers."
The investigation was based in part on the existence of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) related to Hunter Biden's business dealings in "China and other foreign nations," Fox News reported.
During the election campaign President Donald Trump repeated claimed Hunter had leveraged his father's stature to enrich himself via overseas business dealings.
Further allegations were made in a New York Post report about a laptop computer Hunter Biden has left abandoned at a Delawar repair shop.
The repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac has since defended himself against claims he is a Russian agent and a hacker. The Post reports.
Mr Biden announced several administration picks, including Obama-era officials such as former national security adviser Susan Rice as White House Domestic Policy Council director and ex-chief of staff Denis McDonough as veterans affairs secretary.
The appointments, laid out by Biden's presidential transition team, highlight the diversity which Biden pledged to bring to his cabinet.
"This is the right team for this moment in history, and I know that each of these leaders will hit the ground running on day one to take on the interconnected crises families are facing today," Biden said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court dismissed a bid by Texas to overturn the results of the presidential election, which Republican Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden, in a fresh setback for the president.
The longshot suit lodged late Tuesday against four states key in the November 3 vote - Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - challenged Biden's victory in each of the four.
But the Supreme Court justices said Texas - which voted for Trump - "has not demonstrated a judicially cognisable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections."
The suit had been seen as audacious and barely legally sound, given that no one state has any legal right to interfere in another's voting processes. Even so, it was backed by 106 Republican lawmakers and 17 state attorneys general.
Texas alleged that the results in the other four states were "unconstitutional" because of their heavy use of "fraud-prone" mail-in votes during the coronavirus pandemic.
BIDEN INVESTIGATION 'HIDDEN FROM PUBLIC'
Under siege US Attorney-General William Barr knew about two federal investigations into Hunter Biden for months - and worked to keep them from the public ahead of the election, according to a new report.
The nation's top law enforcement official avoided providing information about the probes to Republicans in Congress without explanation, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Barr is already in the firing line after saying publicly that he hadn't seen any signs of widespread voter fraud that would have influenced the outcome of the election.
"Ahhh … ask me that question in a few weeks," President Donald Trump said this week when asked if he still had confidence in Mr Barr.
This latest news is likely to leave Mr Trump even less impressed.
One of the investigations was made public this week, when the 50-year-old son of President-elect Joe Biden disclosed on Wednesday that he was being probed for possible tax fraud, the New York Post reports.
Hunter Biden is also implicated in a broader international financial investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, two people familiar with the case told the Journal. That probe has been going on for at least a year. Hunter Biden, however, was never a specific target for criminal prosecution, according to the Journal.
Barr is said to have been aware of the federal scrutiny - which dates back to 2018 - into Hunter Biden since before the spring. But how and when he first learned of the probes isn't clear.
Investigators worked to make sure news of the investigations didn't become public before the presidential election, as per Justice Department guidelines that prohibit activity that could influence a political race.
President Trump and his Republican allies have repeatedly urged the AG to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Bidens.
On Thursday night, Trump railed against the timing, tweeting, "Why didn't the Fake News Media, the FBI and the DOJ report the Biden matter BEFORE the Election."
MEXICANS RUSH TO THE US BORDER AFTER BIDEN WIN
President-elect Joe Biden will take office amid a surge in detentions at the Mexican border, reportedly prompting his advisers to consider keeping some Trump administration immigration policies to avoid inspiring an even bigger rush.
The uptick threatens Biden's promises to propose amnesty legislation and to adopt policies that defer deportation and allow applicants to await amnesty decisions in the US.
The Wall Street Journal reports the transition team "has grown concerned" and is "trying to decide which policies to change and when" to avoid "creating the appearance of leniency."
The number of unaccompanied minors and families detained at the border is rising and experts say they expect numbers to grow further.
"I don't see any recipe that doesn't have them as overwhelmed as we were in '14 and '18," former Border Patrol acting director Ron Vitiello told the Journal.
Originally published as Biden skirts questions on son's dealings