In what can only be referred to as some kind of “preemptive strike,” the Biden campaign has released an official memo to members of the media, warning them not to play into reports of “debunked conspiracy theories” that are likely to be bandied about by Republicans about the former VP and his son during the upcoming impeachment trial.
The memo, which was first obtained and disclosed by NBC News, is also a direct jab at Republican senators as they consider whether to entertain Trump’s demands to call Hunter Biden — Joe Biden’s son — as a witness in the trial.
The key impeachment allegations against Trump involve his withholding of nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, while seemingly pressuring that country’s leadership into launching an investigation into the actions of former VP Joe Biden – Trump’s chief political rival.
Among the issues addressed in the memo is the past targeting of Biden’s attempt as then vice president, to sideline Viktor Shokin, a Russia-aligned Ukrainian prosecutor general, at a time when Biden’s son served on the board of Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine.
Trump has been “spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory” that “Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office,” the campaign said in the memo sent by Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, and a senior adviser, Tony Blinken.
Current and former administration officials testified during the House impeachment investigation that while Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma presented the potential for the “appearance of a conflict of interest” given his father’s position, Shokin’s ouster was a key priority of the Obama administration and other members of the international community. Those that testified said there was no evidence to suggest that Biden was acting on his own behalf, or for the benefit of his son.
In its first forceful pushback since the impeachment proceedings began, the Biden campaign is demanding that “any media organization referencing, reporting on, or repeating these claims” from Trump and his allies “must state clearly and unambiguously that they have been discredited and debunked by authoritative sources.”