CNN anchor Jake Tapper zeroed in on the issue of potential impropriety of the Biden family's business ties in a Thursday interview with the former vice president and his 2020 running mate Kamala Harris, more than a month after he refused to repeat the Hunter Biden laptop claims on-air.
The seeming U-turn comes days after the provocative Project Veritas group issued a batch of what it described as leaked tapes of October morning briefings at CNN, with a person alleged to be the network’s President Jeff Zucker ordering subordinates to bury the allegations surrounding the Bidens.
In a Thursday interview, CNN’s Tapper started off by mentioning that Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, was leaving his law firm to avoid a potential conflict of interest and then addressed Joe Biden’s potential concerns on the issue.
"When your son came under scrutiny during the campaign, you vowed 'No one in my family or associated with me will be involved in any foreign operations whatsoever. Period. End of story,'" said Tapper.
He then questioned the Democratic presidential candidate, declared by most US media outlets the winner in the 2020 election:
"Will your brothers, will your son take leave from any business interests, not just foreign but any business interests, that might create any even an appearance of impropriety?"
Joe Biden, who has been tapping a range of experts for leadership roles in a potential administration despite official results not having been announced yet and with Donald Trump alleging his victory in the presidential election was "stolen" via massive fraud, responded:
“My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict with an appropriate distance from the presidency and government."
The CNN host steered clear of any follow-up questions.
‘Too Disgusting to Repeat’
This comes as earlier Tapper dismissed the explosive Hunter Biden controversy that made headlines in the final weeks of the presidential election.
During a panel discussion on 22 October, the anchor had reacted to the reporting from The New York Post that broke the story on Hunter Biden's purportedly questionable foreign business dealings implicating his Father, Joe Biden, before and after he served as vice president.
Tapper: "The right wing is going crazy with all sorts of allegations about Biden and his family too disgusting to even repeat here. Some of the ones I've seen from the president's son and some of the president's supporters are just wildly unhinged." pic.twitter.com/gtGffC9xLc— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) October 22, 2020
"The right wing is going crazy with all sorts of allegations about Biden and his family. Too disgusting to even repeat here," said Tapper, adding:
"I mean, some of the ones I've seen from the president's son and some of the president's supporters are just wildly unhinged."
‘Downplayed’ Coverage of Hunter Biden Story
On Wednesday independent undercover news outlet Project Veritas, founded by James O'Keefe, published alleged recordings of a board meeting where CNN President Jeff Zucker purportedly orders editors to downplay a story implicating Joe Biden in his son, Hunter Biden’s foreign meddling schemes.
CNN Communications neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the recordings, where a person alleged to be Zucker is heard saying:
"I don't - we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the right-wing media suggests that we should."
The voice of a person purported to be CNN executive vice president and legal counsel, David Vigilante, is heard voicing agreement that "we should be awfully careful regarding coverage of the Hunter Biden story".
In the audio tapes released by Project Veritas, a voice claimed to be that of CNN political director David Chalian is heard saying that the broadcaster would not be going with the bombshell story.
"Obviously, we're not going with the New York Post story right now on Hunter Biden… Obviously, Hunter Biden's lawyer is quoted in the New York Post piece and we'll just continue to report out this is the very stuff that the president was impeached over, this is the stuff that Senate Committees looked at and found nothing wrong in Joe Biden's interactions with Ukrainians and now having an email that perhaps there was a meeting with someone from Burisma it seems," Chalian reportedly says.
On yet another leaked recording the purported CNN boss can allegedly be heard dismissing to his colleagues the credibility of the story implicating Joe Biden in cutting deals and making millions from China.
"On the Breitbart, New York Post, Fox News rabbit hole of Hunter Biden, which I don't think anybody outside of that world understood last night, The Wall Street Journal reported that their review of all corporate records showed no role for Joe Biden on the Chinese deal. And yes, I do put more credibility in The Wall Street Journal than I do in the New York Post," Zucker allegedly says.
Biden Laptop Scandal
The story referred to by the voices in the leaked recordings was made public by the New York Post and commented on by Hunter Biden's ex-business partner Tony Bobulinski.
Amid the presidential campaign that pitted Democratic contender for the Oval Office Joe Biden against the current incumbent, Republican Donald Trump, the mainstream media had revealed a series of scandalous files from the so-called "Biden laptop".
Originally, the New York Post reported on 15 October that files had surfaced on a laptop said to have belonged to Hunter Biden and abandoned at a computer repair shop in Delaware. The documents purportedly contained evidence that Hunter Biden, who was on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma between 2014 and 2019, peddled access to his father, the former US vice-president and now US president elect, Joe Biden, to Ukrainian business associates.
Some of the documents, according to the reports, indicated that the Biden family was wielding its influence to strike lucrative agreements with a wealthy Communist Party-linked Chinese tycoon, with Hunter Biden set to receive a 10 percent cut from one of the deals.
The New York Post broke the story after being fed the information by Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, during the election campaign, with most mainstream media, including public service broadcaster NPR, blatantly ignoring the story or denouncing it as "right-wing propaganda".
As Donald Trump slammed his rival in the 2020 election, Joe Biden, as "the most compromised person in the history of American politics" he also accused the mass media of glossing over the scandal.