06 October, 2019
U.S President Donald Trump seems to have found the person he would like to talk about in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election. That man is Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Opinion studies of likely voters have shown that Joe Biden is the leading candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
As the target of Trump's anger, Hunter Biden now sees his name in the news every day. Trump is seeking to identify him as a sign of corruption in an effort to hurt his father's presidential campaign.
The 49-year-old Biden has never wanted to be famous like the former vice president. In private, he has struggled with alcohol and drug dependency.
It was Joe Biden's older son, Beau, who was well-known in Washington, DC. He once worked as a lawyer for the federal government. He later served as the attorney general in his home state of Delaware.
Beau Biden wanted a life in politics, perhaps one day to become a governor or senator, perhaps a president. But he died in 2015 after a fight with brain cancer.
Hunter Biden's career
Hunter Biden had little interest in politics. After law school, he went to work for MBNA, a large credit-card company, and made a lot of money.
Biden would later work as a Washington lobbyist, trying to influence U.S. lawmakers. He represented universities and technology companies. But he stopped lobbying when his father became vice president in 2009.
After Hunter Biden left lobbying, he set up a service to advise foreign companies interested in doing business in the United States. He did have contacts with China and Ukraine. President Trump calls this work evidence of corruption.
On Thursday, Trump called on China and Ukraine to launch investigations into Hunter Biden's work.
In a telephone call last July, Trump urged Ukraine's president to investigate the Bidens. It was this call that led Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives to launch an impeachment investigation into Trump.
On Thursday, the president appealed to China to investigate the Bidens. A few minutes earlier, Trump had spoken of ways he could force China to approve a trade deal.
The following day, Ukraine's top prosecutor announced plans to reexamine several cases, including one against the owner of the business that employed Hunter Biden.
Joe Biden as a candidate
Joe Biden leads in most opinion polls among the 19 Democrats seeking their party's presidential nomination. In several polls, he is shown defeating Trump in a presidential vote between the two men.
Biden believes his poll numbers are the reason Trump is making accusations against him and his son.
The Biden campaign accused Trump of abuse of power on Thursday following the president's suggestion that China investigate both Bidens. The Reuters news agency says the campaign refused its request for comment.
But all the accusations have pushed Hunter Biden into the spotlight.
I'm Susan Shand.
The Reuters News Agency reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words In This Story
attorney general – n. the main legal officer who represents a county or state government in court cases
lobbyist – n. someone who takes part in an organized effort to influence lawmakers
prosecutor – n. a person, usually a government official, who brings legal action or launches court cases against someone or something
poll – n. a public opinion study; an activity in which several or many people are asked a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something
spotlight – n. intense public attention