Donald Trump Jr. made the erroneous claim that Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is to blame for Russian aggression toward Ukraine as the United States and other nations aim to repair a deteriorating international security situation.
Trump Jr. asked, without presenting any evidence, whether Hunter Biden's "lucrative and shady AF business dealings in Ukraine" will ultimately lead to a war with Russia.
In making his claim, Trump Jr. aims to push more conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden into the mainstream.
Conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden's business dealings have been a favorite in conservative circles for some time.
A 2020 New York Post investigation published emails suggesting Hunter Biden introduced his father, President Joe Biden, to an executive with Burisma Holdings–a Ukrainian gas firm–in 2015.
The story received criticism for shaky reporting and Twitter's attempts to block the news outlet from sharing the story received criticism from Republicans who accused the tech giant of censoring conservative voices.
Many criticized Trump Jr. and accused him of downplaying the severity of the tensions, which have alarmed foreign policy experts who are working to contain the threat and respond to the Kremlin's demands.
Additionally, Trump Jr.'s remarks come just days after the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, in a court filing, accused the Trump family business of enaging in “fraudulent or misleading” practices by misrepresenting the value of its assets.
His critics also pointed out that his assertions only serve to distract from his own family's legal troubles and the often deterential attitude his own father, former President Donald Trump, exhibited toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump Jr.'s claim is especially absurd amid heightened fears that Russia will invade Ukraine as Putin masses an estimated 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border.
Russia has issued several security demands that the United States and its allies have already rejected.
Putin aims to curtail the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), seeking to bar Ukraine from joining the alliance in a bid to assert Russia’s influence over its neighbors, aspirations that gained further prominence after Putin seized the Crimean Penninsula in a fait accompli.
Although Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, it is partnered with the military alliance, a development that has angered Putin, who views Ukraine not as an independent nation but as land lost as a result of the end of the Cold War, which resulted in the Soviet Union's collapse and diminished Russia's superpower status.
Putin has left world leaders guessing as to whether or not he actually wants to invade Ukraine though he clearly wants NATO to curb military exercises in Ukraine and in other former Soviet satellite states, demands that have resulted in a diplomatic stalemate.