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Donald Trump, his family and supporters hoped their attacks on Hunter Biden would distract Joe Biden rather than convince people not to vote for him, the president’s son said in an interview on Friday, “whether it ended up in some horrible death, or whatever was their intention”.

Hunter Biden is the author of the memoir Beautiful Things. He was speaking to the New Abnormal, a Daily Beast podcast. He discussed his struggles with addiction and attempts to find dirt to use against his father which resulted in Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

Host Molly Jong-Fast asked: “Do you think they did it because they wanted you to kill yourself?”

Biden said: “There literally is nothing more important to my dad than his family, and if they could, whether it ended up in some horrible death or whatever was their intention, I think they thought they would be able to distract my dad enough that he wouldn’t be able to focus on the campaign. And they had the exact opposite effect.”

Jong-Fast also asked Biden about his dealings with energy companies in Ukraine and China, the subject of Trump’s attacks.

“Vadim Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, thanked you in an email ‘for giving me the opportunity to meet your father and spend some time with him’. Did you in fact introduce the two, did they meet, and what was the purpose of the meeting?”

“No,” Biden said. “100% not … [neither] my father or myself did anything that is wrong, that is unethical. As I said in so many times, I made a huge mistake in my calculation about how far they would go to smear my dad, by using me.”

Jong-Fast asked: “In spring of 2017 you sent an email titled ‘expectations’, which involve China’s largest private energy company, and it discussed details of remuneration packages. And there was a line in the email that said ‘interesting for me and my family’ and then your pay was set at ‘850’. Do you remember this?”

“I literally don’t know what you’re even referring to,” Biden said. “Is it from me?”

“This email is sent by you,” said Jesse Cannon, Jong-Fast’s producer and co-host. “And it does refer to these things though.”

“I don’t have it in front of me,” Biden said, “but I do know this. It’s that my dad was never involved in any of my business, period, 100% … But you know there’s an intelligence report from, from all of our intelligence agencies that has come to the conclusion that this was a Russian operation from the get-go.”

US intelligence agencies have said Russia sought to stoke the Hunter Biden affair and hurt his father in the 2020 election.

Biden’s book deals with his addiction to crack and alcohol and events including the death of his brother Beau Biden in 2015. It has not detonated problems for his father as many feared or expected. Jong-Fast told the Guardian she “knew the relapse story was something a lot of sober readers could relate to”.

Returning to Trump’s failure to derail his father, Biden said: “Right around when I started to get sober and clean, I guess it was only then did I realize the level of their obsession, because I took long enough to look up from whatever drink or drug I was pursuing at the moment, and it seemed like every word out of the president’s mouth was some kind of demeaning or just horrible insult towards me.

“I didn’t think that it could possibly grow and they just kept digging that hole, which was a dry hole, in my opinion, politically.”

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 and online chat is also available. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email or In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at