Stories of Hunter Biden’s questionable and reportedly corrupt Ukrainian and Russian connections were ubiquitous during the 2020 election, causing headaches forJoe Biden, Hunter Biden’s dad and the Democratic presidential nominee, at the time.
One of the more notable accusations was that Hunter Biden received — as detailed by a September report on his Ukrainian business dealings from the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Finance Committee — a multimillion-dollar payment from a Russian billionaire.
According to the Senate report spearheaded by GOP Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa), “Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the wife of the former mayor of Moscow.”
Baturina, a Russian businesswoman and the country’s only female billionaire, made her fortune when her husband, the late Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, orchestrated a number of municipal contracts with her company. Luzhkov was fired in 2010 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev over corruption allegations.
Baturina wired $3.5 million to Hunter Biden’s investment firm for a “consulting agreement,” the Senate report stated.
The story was covered not just by conservative media but also “mainstream” outlets like Newsweek, Forbes, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN. It was even the subject of a PolitiFact fact-check that was inconclusive.
But President Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, claimed this week that she has never heard of the story.
What did she say?
Psaki told reporters Wednesday that she is somehow “not familiar” with the Baturina-Biden story.
The New York Post asked Psaki about the wire transfer story specifically, but she acted like it was news to her.
“I’m not familiar with that claim,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like it’s backed up by a lot of evidence. If you have evidence or specifics, I’m happy to discuss it further.”
She went on to assure the media that she was “not familiar with the [Senate] report at all.”
Psaki’s claim seems strange considering, as the Post noted, the wire transfer allegation was repeatedly cited during the campaign — including during both presidential debates.
For example, during the first debate on Sept. 29, then-President Donald Trump asked, “While we’re at it, just out of curiosity, the mayor of Moscow’s wife gave your son $3.5 millions of dollars. What did he do to deserve it?”
Biden responded, “None of that is true; it’s been totally discredited,” which runs counter to PolitiFact’s aforementioned findings.
Trump hit Biden with the wire transfer questions again a month later during the second presidential debate.
Yet Psaki claimed she had never heard of the story.
In response to Psaki’s claim, Sen. Johnson tweeted, “.@PressSec heard you’re not familiar with my and @chuckgrassley report. Here is a link.”