‘I truly don’t know’: Hunter Biden stumped
President Joe Biden's son Hunter has claimed he "truly does not know" whether or not the mysterious laptop that rocked US politics during last year's election campaign is his.
In October, less than a month before the election, The New York Post published emails purportedly drawn from the hard drive of a laptop owned by Hunter, which it described as a "smoking gun" regarding his business interests in Ukraine and China.
Hunter had reportedly left the laptop at a computer repair shop in Delaware. When he did not return to retrieve it, the store's owner contacted the FBI, as well as Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
The actual laptop is now believed to be in the FBI's possession. Mr Giuliani is the person who gave the files, allegedly from its hard drive, to the newspaper, though the emails have never been verified due to a lack of metadata.
Mr Trump repeatedly cited the story before the election as evidence of the Bidens' "major corruption", calling it the "laptop from hell" and publicly urging the Department of Justice to launch an investigation.
Hunter Biden has been doing the rounds in US media recently to promote his memoir Beautiful Things, in which he opens up about his struggles with substance abuse.
In an interview that aired yesterday, he confessed that at one point he went "13 days without sleeping" while "smoking crack and drinking vodka exclusively".
In a second interview today, which aired on the show CBS This Morning, host Anthony Mason went into more detail about Hunter's business dealings, asking whether they "ever crossed a line".
He specifically referred to Hunter's decision to take a job on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was overseeing US policy in the region as Barack Obama's vice president.
As you may recall, Mr Trump got himself impeached by pressuring the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to announce an investigation into the Bidens, and specifically Hunter's role with Burisma.
Hunter told Mason that, given a choice, he would not take the job with Burisma again.
"I didn't fully comprehend the level to which this former administration and the people around it would go," he said.
"I don't want to ever again hand a weapon to people that would use it in an illegitimate way."
At this point, Mason brought up the laptop.
"Is that laptop yours?" he asked.
"You don't need a laptop. You've got a book. It's all in the book," said Hunter.
"And I don't know. The serious answer is that I truly do not know the answer to that."
"Did you leave a laptop with a repair man?" Mason asked.
"Not that I remember, no. But whether or not somebody has my laptop, whether or not it was a - I was hacked, whether or not there exists a laptop all, I truly don't know," he replied.
"Are you missing a laptop?" asked Mason.
"Not that I know of. But read the book and you'll realise that I wasn't keeping tabs on possessions very well for about a four-year period of time," Hunter said.
WATCH: @AnthonyMasonCBS spoke with Hunter Biden about whether his business dealings ever crossed a line — including work for a Ukrainian company that became a big issue in President Trump's first impeachment — and whether he regrets putting his father's political future at risk. pic.twitter.com/ImbuBil1sw— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) April 5, 2021
Last year, Mr Trump repeatedly claimed Mr Biden had benefited financially from his son's business dealings. Mason brought that up as well.
"The implication all through the campaign was that your efforts had somehow benefited your father financially. Have you ever given your father money from any of your business ventures?" he asked.
"No. Nothing. Ever," Hunter said.
"Not a nickel?" asked Mason.
"Not a nickel. Directly or indirectly, not a nickel, 100 per cent no. Never," he said.
Last month America's National Intelligence Council, with input from the CIA, FBI, NSA and Department of Homeland Security, published an assessment that Russia attempted to influence the election by "denigrating President Biden's candidacy" and supporting Mr Trump.
"We have high confidence in our assessment," the NIC said.
"A key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives - including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden - to US media, US officials and prominent US individuals, including some close to former president Trump and his administration."
Back on the subject of his struggle with addiction, Hunter also told Mason about one of his lowest points, when he realised a family he dinner he'd been invited to was actually an intervention.
The future president ended up chasing his son down the family's driveway.
"I looked and said, 'Not a chance. No way.' I literally begain to run up the driveway," said Hunter.
"And your father chased you?" asked Mason.
"Yes, and grabbed me in a hug. He just cried and said, 'I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do," he recounted.
"I thought, 'I need to figure out a way to tell him that I'm going to do something, so that I can go take another hit.
"It's the only thing I could think. I don't know of a force more powerful than my family's love except addiction. I said I was going to get help, booked the next flight to Los Angeles, and decided that I was going to completely disappear forever."
Hunter Biden's book releases tomorrow.
Originally published as 'I truly don't know': Hunter Biden stumped