Washington — President Trump turned his attacks from former Vice President Joe Biden to his Democratic opponent's son, invoking his issues with substance abuse and position on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which was the subject of a recently concluded investigation by Senate Republicans.
In one of the most contentious exchanges of a bruising first presidential debate, Biden criticized Mr. Trump forthat he called fallen members of the military "losers" and suckers."
"My son was in Iraq, he spent a year there. He got the Bronze Star, he got the Conspicuous Service Medal," Biden said of his late son, Beau Biden. "He was not a loser. He was a patriot, and the people left behind there were heroes."
Mr. Trump interrupted the former vice president, saying, "are you talking about Hunter?" Biden said "I'm talking about my son, Beau Biden."
Mr. Trump interrupted again, saying "I don't know Beau, I know Hunter."from a brain tumor in 2015, when Biden was vice president.
The president then pivoted to claiming without evidence that Hunter Biden was dishonorably discharged from the military and "made a fortune" in Ukraine and Russia.
Biden refuted Mr. Trump's claims about Hunter Biden but acknowledged his son had issues with drugs.
"He's fixed it, he's worked on it," the former vice president said. "I'm proud of him. I'm proud of my son."
Hunter Biden's tenure on the board of Burisma was the subject of a yearlong investigation mounted by a pair of Republican-led Senate committees and is frequently cited by Mr. Trump as evidence of alleged wrongdoing by Democrats and the Bidens.
A report from the two committees released last week found that while Hunter Biden's position on Burisma's board was "problematic" and created a potential conflict of interest, "the extent to which Hunter Biden's role on Burisma's board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear. "