Joe Biden’s campaign launched an all-out defense of his son Hunter Monday ahead of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, calling claims they worked together corruptly in Ukraine ‘a debunked conspiracy theory.’
The former vice president’s campaign claimed in a memo sent to ‘reporters and editors’ Monday that the press needs to be careful not to contribute to ‘spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory.’
Trump claims there was a conflict of interest when Hunter Biden took a job with Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas firm, while his father was still serving as vice president.
The president has also questioned publicly Hunter’s qualifications to become a board member at Burisma – and demanded Biden and his son give evidence at his own impeachment trial, which begins Tuesday.
But the Biden campaign said: ‘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.’
Biden, who is running in the Democratic presidential primary, has asserted his son did not engaged in any unethical behavior – but has offered two different versions of whether he knew his son had become a member of the board of Burisma.
The Biden camp wants to make sure that media outlets’ coverage of impeachment and the candidate do not contribute to this rhetoric, the campaign said.
The move represents both a pre-emptive defense of both Bidens in an impeachment trial which will focus on Trump’s demand that they be investigate, and a new element in Democrats’ assault on Trump himself.
It is also an unusual attempt to directly influence media outlets, who Biden’s campaign calculate will feel obliged to use their rebuttal when claims of corruption are leveled at the father and son.
So far no concrete proof of corruption has emerged despite months of focus on the Bidens, including by Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who instead is himself apparently the focus of a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in New York.
‘No political entity – not the Republican Party nor the Democratic party, not the Biden campaign nor the Trump campaign – can ever be allowed to act as your editors,’ the memo read.
It also listed several examples when different outlets outright said Biden engaged in ‘corrupt’ activities as vice president.
Trump, in a call with his Ukrainian counterpart in July brought up Biden’s business dealings, urging Volodymyr Zelesnky to open an investigation into his political rival.
This sparked the events that eventually led to the House voting to impeach the president.
Biden, while serving as Barack Obama’s No. 2, removed a prosecutor, which the Trump administration claims was done to stop Hunter from getting investigated.
In the Biden memo, sent from his deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield and senior advisor, Tony Blinken, it demanded members of the media stop suggesting through reporting that ‘Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office.’
‘To fail to make clear that the conspiracy theory and false accusations about Joe Biden have been comprehensively disproven, to artificially prop-up these egregious lies based on the ‘principle’ that if partisans make accusations, they have to be treated as legitimate regardless of the facts, is to make you an enabler of misinformation,’ the memo threatens.
While the gaffe-filled candidate claims there was no unethical behavior, he has been inconsistent when it comes to his and his son’s dealings with Ukraine.
He told Axios last month that he wouldn’t look into it further because ‘I trust my son.’
However, in an interview last week with The New York Times, he claimed he ‘didn’t realize’ Hunter’s position with Burisma until ‘after he had been on the board.
‘He has come forward and said it was a mistake on his part to be on the board,’ Biden added on his son’s role.
The three-page memo comes just a day before the Senate is set to begin the impeachment trial against Donald Trump.
Trump has deflected, claiming he is being impeached for making a ‘perfect call’ with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky to flesh out issues with corruption in the Eastern European nation.
He also insists it should be the Bidens who are being looked into by Congress – not him.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the upper chamber would decide after opening arguments this week if they want to allow witnesses to be called in the trial.
But Republicans warn that if Democrats get their way and end up calling individuals to testify, like Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton, then the GOP might end up calling witnesses like Joe and Hunter Biden and even the anonymous whistle-blower.