Politics: Scrutiny over Trump’s Ukraine scandal may also complicate Biden’s campaign - PressFrom - US
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Politics Scrutiny over Trump’s Ukraine scandal may also complicate Biden’s campaign

07:15  21 september  2019
07:15  21 september  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it

  Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani gave conflicting answers in an interview on CNN on Thursday night as to whether he asked Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden, saying at one point "of course I did."After CNN host Chris Cuomo questioned whether Giuliani had asked Ukraine to investigate Biden, Giuliani said, "No, actually I didn't. I asked the Ukraine to investigate the allegations that there was interference in the election of 2016 by the Ukrainians for the benefit of Hillary Clinton.

Trump ’ s campaign has spent months focused on Biden ’ s family, attempting to cast the former senator and vice president as a lifelong politician Trump ’ s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has suggested that Biden improperly used his influence to get Ukraine to dismiss its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016.

The renewed scrutiny of Hunter Biden ’ s work in Ukraine is entangled in politics on both sides of The Biden campaign cast the revival of the Ukrainian investigation as politically motivated and Kate Bedingfield, a Biden campaign spokeswoman, said the former vice president’ s 2016 push to oust the

Joe Biden intended to spend Friday talking about climate change and his long-standing support for the gay and lesbian community.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Joe Biden speaks during a town hall meeting while campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.© Charlie Neibergall/AP Joe Biden speaks during a town hall meeting while campaigning in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Instead, he was thrust into the center of the latest White House scandal — that President Trump allegedly urged the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden’s son Hunter.

Suddenly, Biden faced two dueling realities: The president he is hoping to defeat next year — and who he describes as morally unfit for office — is under scrutiny for behavior some view as treasonous. But the story is inextricably linked to Biden’s son, pushing one of the topics that Biden is least comfortable discussing into the spotlight.

Biden dismisses Trump's Ukraine allegations: 'The president should start to be president'

  Biden dismisses Trump's Ukraine allegations: 'The president should start to be president' Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden dismissed President Trump's call for an investigation into the former vice president's ties to Ukraine amid conservatives' accusations of misconduct."Not one single, credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion. Not one single one," Biden told reporters Friday. "So I have no comment except the president should start to be president."Joe Biden reacts to reports that President Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine's President to investigate Biden's son: "Not one single credible outlet has given any credibility to (Trump's) assertion. ...

The pressure campaign also just so happened to benefit Biden ’ s younger son, Hunter, who was then Nevertheless, the Times report dovetails with Trumpworld efforts to get the Biden - Ukraine story in The Burisma affair—whether coincidence or scandal — may be just the first volley in what is likely

Mr. Trump has called attention to the scrutiny of Hunter Biden , and to questions about the former vice president’ s involvement in the removal of a But State Department officials at the time were concerned that Hunter Biden ’ s work for the gas company could complicate his father’ s diplomacy in Ukraine .

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The challenge of taking advantage of this political moment without becoming ensnared was evident by how Biden responded to the news Friday afternoon. First, he reacted defensively in an exchange with reporters in Iowa. Then later, in a formal statement from his campaign, he forcefully denounced Trump’s actions.

“Not one single credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertions. Not one single one,” Biden told reporters in Iowa on Friday afternoon, referring to the allegations related to his son, after initially ignoring shouted questions.

“And so I have no comment,” he said. “Except the president should start to, uh, be president.”

Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act'

  Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed Congress as "complicit" in the latest scandal surrounding President Trump's conversations with the Ukrainian president by "failing to act" after special counsel Robert Mueller's report."After the Mueller report, Congress had a duty to begin impeachment. "After the Mueller report, Congress had a duty to begin impeachment. By failing to act, Congress is complicit in Trump's latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in US elections," Warren tweeted. "Do your constitutional duty and impeach the president.

President Trump Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images. Appearing last night on CNN, Rudy Giuliani created a furor by openly confessing that he had pressured Ukraine ’ s government to investigate Joe Biden .

"President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ' s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.

He brushed aside further questions about whether Trump had abused his power.

But two hours later, Biden’s campaign released a written statement that was far more robust. While his initial response was to defend his family’s honor, his second statement focused on Trump’s behavior.

He said that Trump’s “clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta.” He also called on Trump to release the transcript of the call in question.

“This behavior is particularly abhorrent because it exploits the foreign policy of our country and undermines our national security for political purposes,” Biden said in the statement. “It means that he used the power and resources of the United States to pressure a sovereign nation — a partner that is still under direct assault from Russia — pushing Ukraine to subvert the rule of law in the express hope of extracting a political favor.”

Democrats say battle with Trump may help Biden

  Democrats say battle with Trump may help Biden Democratic strategists say allegations that President Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his family will help the former vice president's cause in trying to win the Democratic nomination. © Getty Images Democrats say battle with Trump may help Biden The strategists - unaffiliated with any of the presidential campaigns - say Trump's actions suggest he feels the most threatened by Biden as an opponent in the general election. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

While Trump ' s critics are sounding the alarm over the allegedly scandalous call and "pressure" campaign , President Trump made clear in a Trump tweeted Friday. "They think I may have had a 'dicey' conversation with a certain foreign leader based on a 'highly partisan' whistleblower[' s ] statement.

President Donald Trump reportedly pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at least eight times to investigate Joe Biden ' s son. Trump reportedly urged Volodymyr Zelensky to work with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on the investigation, but did not threaten to withhold aide from Ukraine .

The heightened scrutiny of Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian leader, and efforts by congressional Democrats to investigate it, thrust the 2020 campaign into uncertain terrain — for Trump and Biden, who leads the polls in a crowded Democratic primary field.

Viktor Shokin wearing a suit and tie: Viktor Shokin was Ukraine’s general prosecutor. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has suggested that Joe Biden improperly used his influence to get Ukraine to dismiss Shokin in 2016.© Sergei Chuzavkov/AP Viktor Shokin was Ukraine’s general prosecutor. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has suggested that Joe Biden improperly used his influence to get Ukraine to dismiss Shokin in 2016.

When Biden first entered the presidential race, it triggered a burst of attention on Hunter Biden’s foreign business ties and made-for-tabloid lifestyle.

The Biden campaign had hoped it had dispatched with some of those questions.

That won’t be so easy if House Democrats move toward impeachment proceedings. While the hearings would focus on Trump’s behavior, House Republicans would also amplify questions over Biden’s actions while he was in office.

Several Democratic presidential candidates on Friday condemned Trump without mentioning Biden. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) renewed calls for his impeachment and said “by failing to act, Congress is complicit in Trump’s latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in US elections.” Gov. Steve Bullock (Mont.) called it “behavior you’d expect from an incompetent mobster.”

Biden rises in poll as Ukraine scandal unfolds, interest in impeachment drops: Reuters poll

  Biden rises in poll as Ukraine scandal unfolds, interest in impeachment drops: Reuters poll Support for Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden ticked higher following reports that President Donald Trump pressured his Ukraine counterpart to investigate Biden, while Americans overall are less supportive of impeaching Trump than they were months ago, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. © Reuters/BASTIAAN SLABBERS Joe Biden makes a statement on the whistleblower report in Wilmington In a sign that Biden's supporters appear to be standing by their candidate, 20% of Democrats and independents said they would vote for him in statewide nominating contests that begin next year according to the Sept.

Trump urged Ukraine president eight times during call to The Wall Street Journal' s report came as a top Ukraine official said President Donald Trump "is looking" for Ukraine officials to investigate business dealings of Biden ' s son

Trump , then a newly minted front-runner in the Republican nominating contest, wasn’t worried about Ukraine has become a repeated and obvious political playing card for Trump over the past several Manafort’ s tenure with Trump ’ s campaign ended after a Ukrainian politician publicized what he

But the news also comes at a time when some of Biden’s Democratic rivals are growing increasingly desperate to gain traction, and shedding some of their unwillingness to attack him forcefully. And while some may rally behind Biden for what they view as an unfair — and potentially illegal — targeting of a fellow Democrat, it could lead others to question whether he is best fit to counter Trump.

“We’re out there every day criticizing Trump and saying it’s the most corrupt administration in the history of America,” said Grant Woodard, an attorney and longtime Iowa Democratic consultant unaligned with a candidate. “It’s going to be problematic for Biden to have to answer those questions about himself.”

“Whether it’s true or not, the fact that you have to deal with it is problematic. It’s a distraction they don’t want,” he added. “They want to create the narrative, ‘I can win, I can take on Trump, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good in terms of ideological fights.’ This is the stuff they don’t want to be talking about.”

Biden allies, meanwhile, hope that elevating the case surrounding Hunter Biden will dispel the notion that he did anything wrong.

It also serves as a vivid example of how worried Trump is about Biden’s prospects in a general election. On Friday night, Biden sent out a fundraising email saying, “Donald Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate me and my family.”

Biden rises in poll as Ukraine scandal unfolds, interest in impeachment drops: Reuters poll

  Biden rises in poll as Ukraine scandal unfolds, interest in impeachment drops: Reuters poll After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, MSNBC's Heidi Przybyla joins Ari Melber on The Beat to share reporting about a phone call between the president and speaker today when Trump asked Pelosi if they could "work something out" about the whistleblower complaint.

Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden ’ s son Hunter, according to people with knowledge of the call. In May , Ukraine ’ s then prosecutor-general Yuriy Lutsenko told Bloomberg News in an interview that he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden and his son.

President Trump ’ s withholding of military aid for Ukraine is drawing fresh attention. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post). Privately, Democrats are wondering whether the Trump administration was trying to use that money as leverage over the Ukrainian president, hopeful it would spur an investigation of

Trump’s campaign has spent months focused on Biden’s family, attempting to cast the former senator and vice president as a lifelong politician whose family has been personally enriched off his powerful positions.

Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani has suggested that Biden improperly used his influence to get Ukraine to dismiss its top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, in 2016. The prosecutor general’s office had opened an investigation into Burisma Holdings, a national gas company on whose board Hunter Biden had a position starting in April 2014.

Biden traveled to Ukraine in March 2016 and said the United States would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless Shokin was removed.

The push was part of a wider effort — which involved other Western allies as well as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank — to remove Shokin, who was viewed as corrupt.

“We found no evidence to support the idea that Joe Biden advocated with his son’s interests in mind,” PolitiFact wrote in May. “It’s not even clear that the company was actively under investigation or that a change in prosecutors benefited it.”

One of the reasons Biden took a long time to decide whether to get into the presidential race was over considerations of the attacks on his family that not only come under the bright lights of a national campaign but also from the bullying tactics that Trump has employed.

It also comes at a time when his son has become fodder for gossip pages. He divorced his wife amid charges of extramarital affairs, cocaine use and financial problems. He also began dating the widow of his brother, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015. After their separation, he married a woman in May that he had met a few weeks earlier.

Biden’s campaign earlier this year declined to say whether it had done a full vetting of Hunter, which campaigns sometimes do to prevent surprises.

During Biden’s announcement speech in Philadelphia, most of Biden’s immediate family appeared onstage with him. Hunter, afraid that being there would be a distraction, did not attend.

He said during a fundraiser earlier in the year that his grandchildren had urged him to run for president and were cognizant of the amount of scrutiny that would come.

“ ‘Mommy and daddy had a divorce and they’re going to really go after that,’ ” Biden recounted hearing from one of his grandchildren. “My generic point is they know how tough it’s going to be.”

Biden was asked last month about the appropriateness of Giuliani’s efforts, and reports that the State Department was cooperating with his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his son.

“I’m not worried about it,” Biden responded. “But secondly, I think it’s Rudy Giuliani. And it’s the president. And appropriateness has never been the measure they’ve started with.”

When asked about concerns of a quid pro quo, Biden demurred.

“I have no idea what they’re doing,” he said.

[email protected]

Holly Bailey in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, contributed to this report.

Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report .
The whistleblower behind the explosive complaint involving President Trump's efforts to persuade Ukraine's president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter is currently under federal protection, CBS News reported Sunday. © Provided by News Communications, Inc. Whistleblower in Ukraine scandal under federal protection: report "60 Minutes" host Scott Pelley announced the network had obtained a letter indicating the whistleblower is under protection because they fear for their safety.

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