The magic words to make Joe Biden angry appear to be “Burisma Holdings.”
The former vice president lashed out at NBC’s Savannah Guthrie for asking about his son Hunter Biden’s work for the Ukrainian gas company, a controversy that is at the heart of the impeachment drama involving President Donald Trump, the Daily Caller reported. Biden said that Hunter, often derided by Trump and his supporters, is a “bright guy” and that Guthrie doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
“That’s not true. You’re saying things you do not know what you’re talking about,” Biden said. “No one has said that — who said that?”
Biden snaps over Burisma question
Biden has been noted for hostile interactions with journalists and voters who ask tough questions, especially about his son and Ukraine, but also about more mundane things like policy. He recently told a concerned Iowa voter to vote for someone else when the man asked about his position on pipelines and the environment.
Republicans maintain that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who had investigated Burisma, and suggest that Hunter was the beneficiary of corruption, since Biden was President Barack Obama’s point man for rooting out corruption in Ukraine at the time. Trump and his allies have also pointed to the fact that Hunter took a lucrative position at the company despite no relevant background.
In an interview that aired Monday, Guthrie asked Biden if it was ironic that Trump’s impeachment had brought attention to the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine, which, according to Democrats, was Trump’s objective in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the matter. Biden conceded that Hunter’s work at Burisma looked bad to many people but that “no one’s found anything wrong.”
He became irate and defensive when Guthrie asked if it was wrong for Hunter “to take that position” because “the company wanted access to you.” Pressed if Hunter’s business was “sleazy,” Biden suggested that his son earned the job through merit because he’s a “very bright guy.” “Well, he said he regretted having done it. Speak for yourself. He’s a grown man,” Biden said.
Dems, media protecting Biden
Democrats have accused Trump of abusing his power by pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into the Bidens by withholding military aid to Ukraine. They impeached Trump for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” by blocking aspects of Congress’s impeachment inquiry.
For their part, Trump and his Republican allies have said that Democrats want to protect the Bidens and that Trump had a legitimate public interest in seeking a probe into their dealings. The Ukraine drama has given life to epithets like “Quid pro Joe” and a favorite of Trump’s, “Where’s Hunter?” to imply that Hunter has something to hide.
But Democrats and their allies in the media have — with certain exceptions, as Guthrie’s testy exchange with Biden shows — generally downplayed the Biden-Ukraine story as a Republican “conspiracy theory.” They point to claims that Shokin was widely seen as corrupt by Western institutions and that his investigation of Burisma was “dormant” when he was sacked, but there has never been any concerted effort to “debunk” the corruption allegations, and even the Bidens’ defenders admit their business was, at best, an example of obvious, if legal, nepotism.
Biden saved by Iowa fiasco?
Joe Biden has been named as the Democrats’ frontrunner since he entered the 2020 race, despite a lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy and lingering questions about his fitness for office. Many were left with the impression that Biden was the beneficiary of the Democrats’ ineptitude after a meltdown Monday at the Iowa caucuses, the first real test of his campaign, left Democrats without a clear victor well into Tuesday — and sparing Biden the embarrassment (at least temporarily) of what many predicted would be an underwhelming performance.
Despite the melodrama over Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, the president is on the path to acquittal in a Wednesday vote after Republicans rejected a push from Democrats for witnesses last week. And surprising no one, Democrats vowed to continue investigating Trump and disputed the legitimacy of his exoneration.