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Politics Biden campaign warns media about spreading 'malicious and conclusively debunked' claims during impeachment trial

22:00  20 january  2020
22:00  20 january  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Joe Biden's presidential campaign issued a memo Monday warning journalists not to spread debunked claims about the former vice president's push to remove a corrupt prosecutor in Ukraine.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: Biden campaign warns media about spreading 'malicious and conclusively debunked' claims during impeachment trial© UPI Photo Biden campaign warns media about spreading 'malicious and conclusively debunked' claims during impeachment trial

The memo comes just days ahead of the Senate impeachment trial, during which Republicans are likely to push the theory as they seek to defend President Trump.

The Biden campaign said Trump's efforts to spread the theory is the reason the president is being impeached and said it would be "malpractice" for journalists to reference the allegations without also saying that they've been debunked, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Hill.

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"[Trump's] objective was to pressure the Ukrainian government into spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory: that Vice President Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office," communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a memo to reporters and editors.

The memo was first reported by NBC News.

Bedingfield, citing fact-checkers and reports from numerous outlets, notes that the theory that Biden sought to fire the prosecutor because his son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm has been proven false.

She called on journalists to "state clearly and unambiguously that [the claims] have been discredited" in coverage of the ongoing impeachment process.

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"It is not sufficient to say the allegations are 'unsubstantiated' or that 'no evidence has emerged to support them.' Not only is there 'no evidence' for Republicans' main argument against the Vice President -- there is a mountain of evidence that actively debunks it. And it is malpractice to ignore that truth," Bedingfield wrote.

Biden has called out the debunked theory in the months since the impeachment scandal has unfolded, defending his actions as vice president, but the memo is perhaps the campaign's strongest rebuke yet of the allegations.

It comes as Republicans float the idea of calling Biden's son, Hunter Biden, to testify as a witness in the Senate trial.

Democrats argue Hunter Biden should not appear as a fact witness as he has no knowledge of the allegations related to Trump's impeachment.

They are instead pushing to hear from witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the administration's pressure campaign in Ukraine to call for the investigation into the Bidens, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

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