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Joe Biden defends son Hunter against Trump's attacks, says he will be part of 2020 campaign

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/3/2019 Siobhan McAndrew, Reno Gazette Journal
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Former Vice President Joe Biden defended his son Hunter, who he said will be part of Biden's campaign for president.

"I knew it was going to be this way," Biden said in an interview with the Reno Gazette Journal on Wednesday night after a campaign stop in Reno.  

Biden said he knew his family would come under attack, but after a sit-down with his five grandchildren three weeks before announcing he was entering the race, he made the decision.

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"They came to me and said, 'Pop, you got to run.'"

When Biden said it would get really mean, his grandchildren responded, "We know how he is," they said about President Donald Trump, "but, Pop you got to do it."

Hunter Biden has come under scrutiny after Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden. Trump claims that Biden tried to remove a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating a company where Hunter Biden served on the board. But sources ranging from former Obama administration officials to an anti-corruption advocate in Ukraine say the official, Viktor Shokin, was ousted for the opposite reason Trump and his allies claim.

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On Wednesday, Trump called Biden and his son "stone cold crooked."

But Biden fiercely defended his family during the Reno campaign rally.  

“Let me make something clear to Trump and his hatchet men and the special interests funding his attacks against me. I’m not going anywhere,” Biden said.

 "I think it's the beginning not the end,” Biden said about what he anticipates will be more attacks against his family.

"I'm also confident the American people know me, and they know my son." 

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Biden said his son will be a visible part of the campaign. "He's a fine man. He's been through hell."

Biden's wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972, just weeks after he won his first Senate race.  In 2015, his oldest son, Beau Biden, 46, died from a form of brain cancer.

Biden said Trump’s attacks are tough but won’t stop him from winning come November.

"Look, we are a family. We have been through a lot worse," Biden said. "We know what real pain is."

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Biden talked about the tragedy of losing his son to cancer.

When asked about Reno mother Kristin Sumbot, whom he met at a hospital in 2016, Biden remembered her. Biden helped Sumbot get into a clinical trial at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a top research hospital in Houston.

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"She was so brave," Biden said of Sumbot. “Like my son, she let me know she wasn't afraid but that she had a lot to live for.” 

Sumbot, who recovered from childhood leukemia, was diagnosed with fatal brain cancer and just days after giving birth to her son, August. 

Sumbot died in 2017 after being diagnosed with the same deadly form of  brain cancer that killed Beau Biden, but her family credited the clinical trial for giving her an extra six months.

“If I'm elected president it is going to be one of the overwhelming priorities,” Biden said of cancer research.  "It is one of the missions of my life.” 

This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Joe Biden defends son Hunter against Trump's attacks, says he will be part of 2020 campaign

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