President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter revealed Wednesday that he’s under federal investigation related to his taxes.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” Hunter Biden said in a two-sentence statement distributed 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 advisors.”
The statement did not offer further details about the nature of the investigation. A source familiar with the matter told BuzzFeed News that it is not related to the attacks that outgoing President Donald Trump and his allies have made against Hunter Biden during the campaign.
A query to the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware was not immediately returned.
Biden’s son was a constant target for Trump in the closing months of the campaign, with the president and Republicans frequently raising unfounded and debunked accusations about Hunter’s business dealings overseas. Trump’s obsession with investigating the father and son, via the Ukrainian government, led to his impeachment this year.
At the first presidential debate, Trump responded to Biden’s tribute to his late son, Beau, by raising Hunter’s past issues with substance abuse.
“President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger,” the Biden–Harris transition team said in Wednesday’s statement.
Trump, meanwhile, has discussed preemptive pardons for his three eldest children and son-in-law Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser, the New York Times reported last week. None of Trump's children nor Kushner has been charged with a crime, but the president is reportedly concerned about investigations that could launch after he leaves office in January.
Trump’s taxes have largely been a mystery since he entered politics. Breaking from tradition, he's refused to make his own tax records public and repeatedly said he wouldn’t release his returns until a long-standing IRS audit is finalized. The Times reported earlier this year, based on tax return data the newspaper said it had obtained, that Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the 15 years before he became president.
As he prepares to leave office, Trump is also facing two investigations by authorities in New York connected to his company’s business and tax dealings.