Fox News contributors Rachel-Campos Duffy and Sean Duffy weigh in on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend.’
Focus on public policy!
This is what I have done, and advised others to do, since Donald J. Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Some people, including otherwise intelligent and thoughtful free-market and cultural conservatives, cannot tolerate Trump’s larger-than-life persona, his often grandiose statements, his Twitter blasts, and the sneaking suspicion that he might be the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum. Some Americans find the president’s quirks and conduct amusing. Others are appalled.
President Trump’s antics make me grin more than they make me grimace, Regardless, I focus on public policy: What legislation has he signed? What has he vetoed? Do his actions as president make Americans freer, safer, and more prosperous? Do America’s enemies advance or retreat in his presence?
NEWT GINGRICH: TRUMP'S COMPOSURE VS. GUTHRIE'S ALMOST MANIACAL HOSTILITY AT NBC'S TOWN HALL TELLS US THIS
As voters pick the Oval Office’s next occupant, they should imagine it’s Christmas morning. A large, mysterious box sits beneath a shimmering tree. Is it covered in soothing, lovely wrapping paper or in months-old newsprint? Who cares? The box’s contents matter.
Former vice president Joe Biden generally exudes a vaguely calming tone. His empathetic demeanor, perhaps forced by multiple family tragedies, also amplifies his appeal. For some people, that’s plenty. They, especially Republicans in their midst, should meditate long and hard on what Biden actually would do as president.
While Biden might seem warmer and toastier than Trump, his public policy will be colder than Siberia if he shutters Washington, D.C.’s school voucher program, as threatened.
Biden’s vaunted compassion will be lost on thousands of poor, mainly Black kids who would have no choice but to return to often-dangerous, reliably dysfunctional government schools. While their minds would be crushed, Biden’s teachers-union masters would cheer. They detest competition.
Conversely, a second Trump term promises school choice for every parent.
President Trump has created 8,700 Opportunity Zones, largely in low-income minority neighborhoods. Incentives have attracted some $75 billion in private investment to these communities.
If Biden kills the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as he has pledged, wave goodbye to Opportunity Zones.
Biden hopes to grant citizenship to 11 million illegal aliens. Most of them likely would vote Democrat. This would steepen GOP election prospects.
Free healthcare for illegal aliens? Biden’s prescription is malpractice for an already overburdened medical system and a morbidly obese federal budget.
Biden now claims he “will not ban fracking.” While this could become his “Read my lips: No new taxes” moment, he could keep this promise while also pleasing keeping his fossil-fuel-loathing far-Left base. Why kill fracking when you simply can study it nearly to death, as Obama-Biden did the Keystone Pipeline? Thankfully, President Trump greenlighted that pipeline.
Indeed, from the left’s perspective, it’s better not to kill projects. Doing so creates bad headlines, and entrepreneurs can move on with their lives. Instead, Team Biden might say: “Please conduct a study on your program’s impact on the Endangered Species Act.”
Two years and $3 million later, it could be, “Hmmmm. Interesting. Now tell us what your plan will do to Native American burial grounds.” And then, “Please forecast damage to fossils…clean air…urban sprawl.” If the potential frackers have not surrendered, Biden-Harris would deliver the coup de grace: “Please detail your initiative’s impact on racial justice.”
Far better, from the left’s view, to bog down disfavored businesses with these demands and slowly leech them white than slap them with a swift “No!” and let them relocate their dreams and undepleted capital.
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President Trump delivered American energy independence, largely through fracking. Biden would reverse this achievement in favor of habitat-chewing solar panels and eagle-shredding windmills.
While President Trump proposes patriotic education and Americanism in U.S. classrooms, Biden-Harris most likely would set the anti-American 1619 Project on a fast track via the Department of Education. After Trump ditched Critical Race Theory training within federal agencies, Biden-Harris would resurrect it in the U.S. government and perhaps impose it on the private sector.
As happened recently at the federal Sandia Laboratories, white males would be subjected to mandatory re-education sessions where they would be denounced as racists and forced to apologize for being born white.
“I will end the Muslim ban on Day One,” Biden said. This policy does not ban Muslims. Rather it limits arrivals by foreigners who have traveled through several nations designated by Obama-Biden as either tainted by terror or hobbled by insufficient security standards. Biden would throw the Golden Door open to these travelers, some from nations that sponsor terrorism. What could go wrong?
And, among other planned blunders, a President Biden would revive the Iran Nuclear Deal. Appeasing the ayatollahs surely will unravel the growing Middle East peace that President Trump has orchestrated by isolating Tehran.
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Voters are free to reject President Trump’s eccentricities. But if Joe Biden prevails, the ensuing far-left agenda will be the steep price that 330 million Americans pay to satisfy the Trump haters’ burning desire never to see his face again.
Biden avoids firm stance on vaccine, court-packing
Trump campaign senior advisers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie react on ‘Fox & Friends.’
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at an ABC town hall Thursday night equivocated on whether he would pack the Supreme Court or institute a mandate to take a coronavirus vaccine even as he gave definitive statements on other issues, including that he would not ban fracking and a strong condemnation that the "Green New Deal" is "not possible."
Biden's town hall on ABC happened parallel to a separate event on NBC with President Trump, after a presidential debate initially scheduled for Thursday was canceled because Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate. Biden was quizzed by voters from both sides of the aisle and the forum was moderated by "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.
"I have not been a fan of pack — court-packing, because I think it just generates what will happen every — whoever wins, it just keeps moving in a way that is inconsistent with what is going to be manageable," Biden said in response to a question that touched on court-packing before Stephanopoulos pushed him for a clearer answer.
"I would then say, it depends on how this turns out… how it's handled," Biden said regarding the pending confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. "If there's actually real live debate on the floor, if people are really going to be able to have a time to go through this — you know, I don't know anybody who has gone on the floor and just — and that's been a controversial justice, in terms of making — fundamentally altering the makeup of the court, that's gone through in a day, kind of thing."
Biden added: "It depends on how much they rush this."
Stephanopoulos asked Biden whether voters would have an answer on court-packing before Election day and Biden responded "Yes, depending on how they handle this."
Biden also said whether or not he would issue a national vaccine mandate "depends on the state of the nature of the vaccine when it comes and how it's being distributed."
He noted there is a range of outcomes of how effective a vaccine might be, and that distributing a vaccine to more than 300 million Americans is going to be a herculean task.
Stephanopoulos then asked Biden "How could you enforce that?" Biden replied that "you couldn't, that's the problem" before seeming to imply that it's possible to have a quasi-mandate by requiring children to have a coronavirus vaccine before coming to school.
"You can't come to school until you have a measles shot," Biden noted. "You can't."
Biden also said that it's not possible to have a national mask mandate but he would tell all governors to issue statewide mask mandates, and if governors resisted he would "go to every mayor, I go to every councilman, I go to every local official, say, mandate the mask, man."
Biden was clearer on other issues. He stated plainly that "I do not propose banning fracking." Biden also came out with one of his strongest condemnations of the "Green New Deal" to date, contradicting the statement on his website which says "Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face."
"My deal is a crucial framework, but not the new green deal," Biden said. "The new green deal calls for the elimination of all non-renewable energy by 2030. You can't get there."
Biden later emphasized that "the new green deal they say automatically by 2030 we're going to be carbon-free. Not possible."
The former vice president, addressing his personal climate plan, said he would roll back subsidies for oil and invest in new technology, among other things.
Because the second presidential debate was canceled and replaced with the Thursday night town halls, there is only one more scheduled face-to-face battle between Biden and Trump before the Nov. 3 election.
That debate is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. The Supreme Court is likely to be one among many hot topics at that debate, as the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to report the Barrett nomination at 1 p.m. that day, just hours before the start of the debate.
Perhaps the most vexing question facing a Joe Biden presidency would be what to do about the last guy who had the job: Donald Trump.
The list is long of possibilities for what Trump could be in trouble for on the other end of his presidency, when he'd no longer enjoy the immunity from criminal prosecution that comes with occupying the White House.
"Even the fact you're considering those questions is itself earth-shattering," Norm Eisen, a former counsel for House Democrats during the Trump impeachment proceedings, said.
Many Democratic insiders and other law-enforcement experts said the best path would be to let the normal procedure play out, with FBI-led investigators providing evidence to the relevant US attorneys, who then would make their charging decisions alongside the top brass at the DOJ.
But the prospect of a Trump probe is so significant that a Biden administration may want to go outside the typical law-enforcement channels by appointing a new special counsel, impaneling a wider commission of outside legal experts, or even removing the federal government entirely from the picture in deference to state investigators.
During an ABC News town hall on Thursday, Biden said he'd stay out of the decisionmaking when asked directly what he'd do about prosecuting Trump. "What the Biden Justice Department will do is let the Justice Department be the Department of Justice," the Democratic nominee replied. "Let them make the judgments of who should be prosecuted."
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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will have a very full plate should the 2020 election break his way. He'd have to come up with plans for reviving the US economy and keeping Americans safe from COVID-19 while also juggling pent-up demands to address everything from racial disparity to climate change.
But perhaps the most vexing question that would face a Biden presidency is what to do about the last guy who had the job: Donald Trump.
Everything that has happened over the past five years of the Republican's roller-coaster political career suggests he could end up as a defendant in any number of criminal cases brought by federal or state prosecutors once he no longer enjoys the immunity that comes from being president of the United States.
That alone is enough to cause heartburn among Democrats and longtime law-enforcement officials who said tough decisions would loom for both Biden and his Department of Justice as they considered the evidence, history, and political implications swirling around what would be an unprecedented criminal case guaranteed to blot out the sun for pretty much anything else the new president hopes to accomplish on his agenda.
"The worst thing the new administration could do is give the appearance it's on some kind of witch hunt to go back in time and rereview everything that may have happened in the Trump administration," said Greg Brower, a former George W. Bush-appointed federal prosecutor and top FBI liaison to Congress who has also served in the Nevada Senate. "It's also equally bad for a new administration to just ignore it all and look the other way as it tries to move on."
Lock Trump up?
There are no easy answers here, but many Democratic insiders and other law-enforcement experts maintain the best path for a new Democratic president would be to let the normal procedure play out, with FBI-led investigators providing evidence to the relevant US attorneys, who then would make their charging decisions alongside the top brass at the DOJ.
But others say that the prospect of a Trump probe is so significant that the Biden administration would want to go outside the typical law-enforcement channels by appointing a new special counsel, impaneling a wider commission of outside legal experts, or even removing the federal government entirely from the picture in deference to state investigators.
Any of these ideas could help Biden avoid blame for the kind of 50-car collision that would be associated with a Trump criminal trial, a media spectacle unparalleled in US history that would subsume the country's attention and possibly cripple the new Democratic president's agenda before he can even put on his seat belt, let alone back out of the driveway.
Making matters even more complicated for Biden is that one of the central themes of Trump's presidency has been the politicization of federal prosecutions, both in threatening them against his political enemies ("Lock her up!") and in savaging any attempts by his own DOJ to target allies such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Trump's first term also still isn't up, and Biden-backing Democrats say there's no telling what else could happen that would give criminal investigators even more fodder should they have the green light to go where no other prosecutor has ever gone before: indicting a former US president.
There's plenty of fertile ground, but Democrats are bracing for the prospect that a lame-duck Trump who loses in November would be unburdened by any personal political consequences and could try to preemptively pardon himself or grant clemency to everyone else in his orbit who is facing legal exposure and whose cooperation with criminal investigators could spell more trouble for him.
"Even the decision to look at a decision is going to be earth-shattering, much less actually deciding to prosecute, to set aside a pardon or by arguing in court that it's not valid," said Norm Eisen, a former top Obama White House attorney who served as a lead counsel for House Democrats during the Trump impeachment proceeding. "Even the fact you're considering those questions is itself earth-shattering."
'Once he's out, he is like any other citizen and can be indicted'
Trump and his lawyers have said in legal briefs, courtroom arguments, and media interviews that they're prepared to play legal defense should the 2020 presidential election go to the Democrats.
"Once he's out, he is like any other citizen and can be indicted," Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal counsel, told Politico in December 2018.
The list is long of possibilities for what Trump could be in legal trouble for on the other end of his presidency.
For starters, US attorneys from the Southern District of New York labeled the president "Individual-1" as an unindicted coconspirator when his former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to several crimes, including campaign-finance violations and tax fraud. Federal prosecutors from the same Manhattan office have also subpoenaed Trump's 2016 inaugural committee as part of a probe into whether it was involved in criminal conduct, including whether it accepted illegal foreign contributions.
The DOJ's interests included investigating Giuliani over his business dealings in Ukraine and whether he failed to register as a foreign agent. SDNY has also charged two of the former New York mayor's associates with conspiring to violate foreign-money bans, with a criminal trial in that case looming in early 2021.
Then there's Robert Mueller, the former Russia special counsel who testified in the summer of 2019 about the prospect that the president would indeed be fair game for prosecutors if he were no longer president.
While Mueller didn't pursue his own charges against Trump, he nonetheless outlined in his final 2019 report 11 instances in which his office collected evidence of possible obstruction of justice committed by the president during the course of the Russia probe.
'It's hands-off completely'
George Stephanopoulos asked Biden directly Thursday night during an ABC News town hall what his DOJ would do with the evidence Mueller accumulated.
"What the Biden Justice Department will do is let the Justice Department be the Department of Justice," Biden replied. "Let them make the judgments of who should be prosecuted."
Pressed again on whether he''d weigh in on such an important decision affecting Trump, Biden answered, "I'm not going to rule it in or out. I'm going to hire really first rate prosecutors and people who understand the law like Democrat and Republican administrations have had and let them make the judgment."
Biden's answer just weeks before Election Day is no shift from where he was during the wide-open Democratic primaries. "It's hands-off completely," the former vice president said during an MSNBC town hall in mid-May 2019.
But it is a departure from where Biden's running mate previous was on the issue.
During an interview with NPR in June 2019, California Sen. Kamala Harris said her DOJ "would have no choice and that they should" prosecute Trump.
Notably, Barack Obama in 2009 when he was president-elect took a stance similar to where Biden is now when he faced down a left flank clamoring for prosecutions of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other GOP administration officials over allegations of crimes tied to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" programs.
Obama in January 2009 told Stephanopoulos in an ABC interview just before he and Biden were sworn in that he had "a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards."
'A sense of reckoning'
In interviews earlier this summer with a half dozen prominent Democrats and former law-enforcement officials, several downplayed the statements that Biden and his primary rivals made on the campaign trail. They said the White House candidates' answers weren't indicative of what a Democratic president and his DOJ would ultimately decide once the full picture was in front of them.
"There will be a strong presumption" of not relitigating the Trump era, Eisen said. But he added, "Presumptions can be overcome."
Eisen predicted any decisions by a Biden administration would be made only after the Trump era has ended and all the evidence has been obtained and examined, though he said there was already enough material just from the Mueller report to charge Trump with obstruction of justice and possibly a wider conspiracy.
Eisen suggested Biden, faced with the predicament of not being seen as dictating the results, could establish a commission of former lawmakers, state officials, and other neutral experts in criminal law from both sides of the political aisle to examine the record and make recommendations on any charges.
"Not never Trumpers, not anti-Trumpers, but people who will have credibility," Eisen said. "Everyone is going to be attacked but as much as credibility as is possible under the circumstances."
Others see the commission approach as a way to move the debate over Trump's fate outside both the DOJ and the White House.
"I see merits in creating a structure to channel the discontent, the anger, and the concerns about the breaking of all sorts of norms," said Joshua Geltzer, a former senior counterterrorism aide on Obama's National Security Council and a counsel to the DOJ's top national security official.
It's a structure that could generate "a sense of reckoning with the last few years but also doesn't plunge Joe Biden into meting out punishment against someone who will just have been his political rival," Geltzer said.
Others disagree. Brower said the notion of a comprehensive review of Trump's actions that takes the process outside the normal DOJ channels was the opposite approach that Biden should be aiming for.
"I'm not going to say it sounds crazy, but it doesn't seem necessary or advisable," he said. Instead, Brower said Biden should just back away and let the DOJ run the Trump case to the ground.
"They ought to be allowed to do their thing," Brower said. "The idea there should be some commission which will look political seems to be duplicative of the ordinary and to some extent ongoing efforts. I just don't see that making sense."
Ronald Weich, the former top Obama DOJ liaison to Congress, predicted Biden would follow the Obama administration model as it transitioned from the Bush administration.
"It was pretty serious stuff before. It was torture. Going to war with Iraq under false pretenses," Weich, a dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, said. "I just think there'll be an inclination to run the government in a forward-looking manner."
Geltzer had another solution: Pull the DOJ out of the Trump probes entirely and let state and local prosecutors like Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance proceed with their efforts. Vance secured a Supreme Court victory in July allowing him to subpoena for the president's financial records as part of a grand-jury probe into whether the Trump Organization falsified records connected to hush-money payments used to silence women during the 2016 presidential campaign who alleged to have had romantic affairs with Trump.
Biden's predicament if he wins also comes with other challenges. For one, Trump himself is likely to remain a force all his own, and the prospects are high that he'd be unlike recent former presidents, who have quietly receded into the background to let their successors occupy the spotlight.
"I can't emphasize how loud I expect Donald Trump to be should he become an ex-president," Geltzer said.
There are also timing questions. Let the Trump prosecution issue hang around too long, and Biden risks seeing it dominate the early months of his new administration. But any quick or hasty moves he makes also have the potential to alienate allies who would look back on the Trump era expecting justice.
"My first impulse, whether they decide charges or not charges, they should wrap up sooner or later so it doesn't drag on," Geltzer said. "But then my competing impulse is to not make it about that."
"To set an arbitrary deadline then feels like the politically driven piece," he added. "It is another tension, and I guess the cop out where I land is I don't think political leadership should be intruding into investigations. That's a cop-out answer if I ever heard one."
Potential Biden-Burisma connection suggested in alleged emails
Former assistant FBI Director Chris Swecker examines the evidence reported by the New York Post.
Hunter Biden pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family,” emails obtained by The Post show.
One email sent to Biden on May 13, 2017, with the subject line “Expectations,” included details of “remuneration packages” for six people involved in an unspecified business venture.
Biden was identified as “Chair / Vice Chair depending on agreement with CEFC,” an apparent reference to the former Shanghai-based conglomerate CEFC China Energy Co.
His pay was pegged at “850” and the email also noted that “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.”
In addition, the email outlined a “provisional agreement” under which 80 percent of the “equity,” or shares in the new company, would be split equally among four people whose initials correspond to the sender and three recipients, with “H” apparently referring to Biden.
The deal also listed “10 Jim” and “10 held by H for the big guy?”
Neither Jim nor the “big guy” was identified further.
The email’s author, James Gilliar of the international consulting firm J2cR, also noted, “I am happy to raise any detail with Zang if there is [sic] shortfalls ?”
“Zang” is an apparent reference to Zang Jian Jun, the former executive director of CEFC China.
The email is contained in a trove of data that the owner of a computer repair shop in Delaware said was recovered from a MacBook Pro laptop that was dropped off in April 2019 and never retrieved.
The computer was seized by the FBI, and a copy of its contents made by the shop owner shared with The Post this week by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Another email — sent by Biden as part of an Aug. 2, 2017, chain — involved a deal he struck with the since-vanished chairman of CEFC, Ye Jianming, for half-ownership of a holding company that was expected to provide Biden with more than $10 million a year.
Ye, who had ties to the Chinese military and intelligence service, hasn’t been seen since being taken into custody by Chinese authorities in early 2018, and CEFC went bankrupt earlier this year, according to reports.
Biden wrote that Ye had sweetened the terms of an earlier, three-year consulting contract with CEFC that was to pay him $10 million annually “for introductions alone.”
“The chairman changed that deal after we me[t] in MIAMI TO A MUCH MORE LASTING AND LUCRATIVE ARRANGEMENT to create a holding company 50% percent [sic] owned by ME and 50% owned by him,” Biden wrote.
“Consulting fees is one piece of our income stream but the reason this proposal by the chairman was so much more interesting to me and my family is that we would also be partners inn [sic] the equity and profits of the JV’s [joint venture’s] investments.”
A photo dated Aug. 1, 2017, shows a handwritten flowchart of the ownership of “Hudson West” split 50/50 between two entities ultimately controlled by Hunter Biden and someone identified as “Chairman.”
According to a report on Biden’s overseas business dealings released last month by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, a company called Hudson West III opened a line of credit in September 2017.
Credit cards issued against the account were used by Hunter, his uncle James Biden and James’ wife, Sara Biden, to purchase more than $100,000 “worth of extravagant items, including airline tickets and multiple items at Apple Inc. stores, pharmacies, hotels and restaurants,” the report said.
The company has since been dissolved, and Hunter Biden’s law firm, Owasco PC, was one of two owners, according to the report.
Biden’s email was sent to Gongwen Dong, whom The Wall Street Journal in October 2018 tied to the purchase by Ye-linked companies of two luxury Manhattan apartments that cost a total on $83 million.
Dong, who owns a sprawling mansion in Great Neck, LI, has been identified in reports as CFO of the Kam Fei Group, an investment firm based in Hong Kong.
The documents obtained by The Post also include an “Attorney Engagement Letter” executed in September 2017 in which one of Ye’s top lieutenants, former Hong Kong government official Chi Ping Patrick Ho, agreed to pay Biden a $1 million retainer for “Counsel to matters related to US law and advice pertaining to the hiring and legal analysis of any US Law Firm or Lawyer.”
In December 2018, a Manhattan federal jury convicted Ho in two schemes to pay $3 million in bribes to high-ranking government officials in Africa for oil rights in Chad and lucrative business deals in Uganda.
Ho served a three-year prison sentence and was deported to Hong Kong in June.
Neither Biden’s lawyer, the Joe Biden campaign, Gilliar, Dong nor Ho’s lawyers returned requests for comment, but Biden’s lawyer has previously said, “There is no need for comment on any so-called information provided by Rudy Giuliani.
“He has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence. His record of dishonesty in these matters speaks for itself,” lawyer George Mesires added.
Emails purportedly show Hunter Biden introduced Joe to Burisma exec
Sean Hannity examines the ‘damning information’ about ‘corrupt practices of the Biden family’
The New York Post's latest report about Hunter Biden is "an avalanche of damning information" that speaks to the corrupt practices "of the Biden family business," Sean Hannity told viewers Wednesday night.
The "Hannity" host then played a clip of Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, denying "ever discuss[ing] with my son or brother or anyone else" and promising an "absolute wall" between personal and presidential business if elected.
"What you just watched," Hannity said, "is Biden lying straight to your face."
Hannity then laid out details of Hunter Biden's business activities as noted in a report released last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Finance Committees.
"In December 2013, Hunter Biden flew with his father aboard Air Force Two. They took a trip to China," he said. "Hunter admitted he met with Chinese businessmen during the trip … Hunter had zero experience in the country of China, zero experience with Chinese investments. But only 10 days later … Hunter signed on to a very lucrative, sweetheart deal with a Chinese state-backed investment fund, netting Hunter a massive amount of money and equity and revenue and a partnership with the Bank of China."
A few months later, in February 2014, Hannity said, Hunter Biden "got a $3.5 million wire transfer from a corrupt Russian oligarch once referred to as the 'first lady of Moscow.' Again, 'Zero Experience Hunter' with no experience in the country of Russia."
In an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America" last year, Hunter Biden claimed "nobody buys this idea that I was unqualified" to sit on the board of Ukrainian energy giant Burisma.
"I was vice chairman of the board of Amtrak for five years," he said at the time. "I was the chairman of the board of the U.N. World Food Program. I was a lawyer for Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world."
"I think that I had as much knowledge as anybody else that was on the [Burisma] board — if not more."
Senate report: Obama officials knew Hunter Biden’s Burisma tie was ‘problematic’
Jim Hanson, president of security studies, on concerns about the business dealings of Joe Biden’s son.
The Trump campaign on Wednesday blasted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after the New York Post published an email indicating the former vice president met with a top executive for Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015 at son Hunter Biden’s request.
During a conference call with reporters, the campaign said the report, if true, would show Biden “lied” to the American people through his past comments saying he never discussed his son’s overseas business dealings.
The campaign’s comments come after emails published Wednesday by The New York Post indicated Biden’s son introduced the former vice president to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings less than a year before he pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin who was investigating the company. The issue of Hunter Biden and Burisma was a central issue during the Trump impeachment proceedings a year ago.
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi — who was on President Trump's legal team during the impeachment proceedings – on Wednesday said that Biden "lied to the American people when he said he has never discussed his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.”
“We know Joe Biden becomes agitated when he asked about Hunter’s business dealings,” Bondi said, adding that he has repeatedly “flatly denied” discussing the topic with his son.
“If the New York Post story is true, we now know that Joe Biden lied to the American people and lied repeatedly to all of you,” Bondi said on the call with reporters Wednesday.
Bondi went on to say the Biden family works to “enrich themselves,” claiming “Biden Inc. is doing what they do, and getting rich on trading power and influence.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment about the report.
Meanwhile, campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said the topic of the Biden family’s business dealings would continue to be a talking point in the last 21 days on the campaign trail, casting “a contrast between a 47-year swamp creature in Joe Biden and a businessman in Donald Trump.”
“This has been a major focus of this campaign, a major theme of this campaign, and I would expect it to be so through Election Day,” Miller said, pointing to 2016 and taking a swing at then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and highlighting “Crooked Hillary’s self-dealing and selling access to her office.”
“In 2016, that was a major reminder to voters across the country of the way the status quo works for career politicians and trading off access,” Miller said. “Here, we have Trump, who has actually lost money, passed up business deals to serve this country.”
He added: “This is probably just the tip of the iceberg for the Biden family business.”
Miller went on to point to James Biden and Frank Biden, both lobbyists, and said their work “raises real questions about where Biden’s money comes from.”
“Joe Biden has been handled with kid gloves, the real questions about Biden family finances, the way this entire op has been set up, has been ignored for far too long,” Miller said.
Meanwhile, campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said that the campaign learned of the emails in the New York Post story and “had no involvement.”
“Hunter dropped this laptop off at a shop in Delaware a year and a half ago,” Murtaugh said, adding that it was seized by the FBI. “The real question is why has the FBI been sitting on this all this time?”
The campaign’s comments come after the New York Post report revealed that Biden, at Hunter’s request, met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington D.C.
The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation, according to the post, that an adviser to the board Vadym Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015—a year after Hunter took on his lucrative position on the board of Burma.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads, according to The Post.
An earlier email from May 2014, according to The Post, indicates Pozharskyi, reportedly a top Burisma executive, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.
The meeting took place less than a year before the former vice president purportedly pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin who was investigating the company.
Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin who was the top prosecutor at the time. He had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously said to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.
“Well, son of a bitch,” he continued. “He got fired.”
Biden, and Biden allies, have maintained, though, that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to the corruption concerns.
Biden has repeatedly claimed that he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
In October 2019, Biden said he “never” discusses “with my son or any family member what they’re doing because in fact what happens if you did that, then it’s well ‘are you engaged and in anyway helping?’ I never had a discussion with my son about it.”
Biden added that Hunter “did say at one point that it came out that he was on the board, I said ‘I sure hope the hell you know what you’re doing, period.’”
HUNTER BIDEN SCANDALS EXPLAINED: UKRAINE, CHINA AND MORE
Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday that the emails were contained in a trove of data recovered from a laptop computer, which, according to The Post, was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.
The Post reported that there was other material found on the laptop, including a video, which they described as showing Hunter smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman, as well as other sexually explicit images.
The FBI seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019, according to The Post. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware US Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”
Biden’s role on the board of Burisma and his business dealings emerged during the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.
Trump, during his now-infamous July 25, 2019, phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pressed for Kiev to look into the elder Biden's role pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma.
Trump's pressure campaign against Ukraine prompted a whistleblower complaint, and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry.
The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.
Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – in February.
FLASHBACK: Biden is silent now on court-packing stance, but in 1983 he called it a ‘bonehead’ idea
Biden said he was against court-packing 40 years ago but now the former VP won’t give stance on the issue.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, have been mum on the question of court-packing should they win the November election, but in 1983 Biden was much more outspoken on the issue, calling it a “bonehead idea.”
Biden, then a U.S. Senator from Delaware, made the comments during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in July 1983 regarding nominations to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. At the time, Republican President Ronald Reagan had stoked controversy for attempting to replace three members of the commission.
Biden argued at the time that, although it was within the president’s right to do so, it risked damaging the credibility of the commission. He compared it to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unsuccessful attempts in 1937 to expand the Supreme Court by six justices – in other words, pack the court.
“President Roosevelt clearly had the right to send to the United States Senate and the United States Congress a proposal to pack the court. It was totally within his right to do that. He violated no law. He was legalistically, absolutely correct,” Biden, then 40, told the committee. “But it was a bonehead idea. It was a terrible, terrible mistake to make. And it put in question, if for an entire decade, the independence of the most-significant body … in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”
The question of court-packing has been evoked in recent weeks amid President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Democrats have argued that the next Supreme Court Justice ought to be decided by the winner of the November election and that Barrett’s confirmation to the court – so close to the election, no less – would unfairly cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
With just three weeks to go until the election, Republicans have seized on the issue as a last-minute argument to voters that a Biden administration would upend norms and install liberals on an expanding Supreme Court.
Facing pressure to take a stance during a campaign swing through Phoenix on Thursday, Biden said the country would “know my position on court-packing when the election is over.”
Biden once again deflected on the court packing question on Saturday during in a campaign stop in Erie, Pennsylvania – telling reporters that should instead focus on Republican efforts to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court before Election Day.
“Look, the only court packing that's going on right now. It’s going on with the Republicans packing the court now,” Biden said, arguing that “it’s not constitutional what they’re doing.”
Both Biden and Harris have said the Senate should wait until after the election to fill the seat. Biden has pledged to select the first Black female justice if given a chance. But he and Harris are otherwise taking pains to avoid talking about their vision for the Supreme Court's future.
Ben Sasse: Grotesque that Biden won’t answer court-packing question
Republican senator weighs in on the former vice president’s refusal to answer the question of increasing the number of Supreme Court justices.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is facing pushback to his claim that Republican efforts to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court are not “constitutional.”
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Biden again declined to say whether he supports packing the court like some in his party and tried to turn the issue back on Republicans.
“The only court packing going on right now is going on with Republicans… It's not constitutional what they’re doing,” Biden told reporters, arguing the vacancy caused by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg should not be filled until after November's presidential election.
But critics hit back, saying that while Democrats can argue that there is a political argument against filling the seat now, the Constitutional doesn't prohibit doing so. Republicans are moving forward Monday with Barrett's hearings.
“To say that filing a vacancy on the Supreme Court is ‘court packing’ is like saying that a ‘Hail Mary’ pass at the end of a football game is ‘intentional grounding,’” said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. “The Constitution expressly allows for such for a nomination and confirmation.”
On Saturday, CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed Biden spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield on Biden’s claim that confirming Barrett now – and not after the election – would be unconstitutional.
"We are now in the midst of the election," Bedingfield said during an interview on "State of the Union." "Millions of people have already cast their votes. And you see that the vast majority of people say that they want the person who wins the election on Nov. 3 to nominate the justice."
DETAILS OF AMY CONEY BARRETT'S MONDAY CONFIRMATION HEARING RELEASED
"That’s a poll. That’s not the Constitution," Tapper said.
"There is the constitutional process of advise and consent, and the American people get to have their say by voting for president, by voting for senators," Bedingfield said. "We are now 23 days away from the election."
"But it's not unconstitutional," Tapper countered.
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"Voters are being denied their constitutional right to have a say in this process," Bedingfield said.
"They elected the Senate," Tapper said, before closing out the interview by thanking Bedingfield for "deftly sidestepping" questions.
Other Democrats are mirroring Biden's language. Judiciary Committee member Sen. Chris Coons said on Sunday that the Senate moving to confirm Barrett "constitutes court-packing," and called the nominee's views "disqualifying."
Coons, D-Del., made the comments during an interview with "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., also spoke with Wallace Sunday."I'm going to be laying out the ways in which Judge Barrett's views … are not just extreme, they're disqualifying," Coons said of Democrats' strategy for Barrett's hearings. "It constitutes court-packing."
Court-packing's traditional definition is expanding the Supreme Court by law and then confirming justices to those seats, not what Republicans are doing, which is filling a naturally occurring vacancy. Sasse shot back that Coons' definition of court-packing was "obviously" incorrect and accused the Democrat of using "Orwellian" language.
Fox News’ Morgan Phillips, Evie Fordham and Tyler Olson contributed to this report.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden said the only way he could lose the 2020 election was through “chicanery,” before later adding he would accept the results of the election.
“Make sure to vote,” the former vice president told voters at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, “Because the only way we lose this is by the chicanery going on relative to polling places.”
Biden said that President Trump was trying to discourage voting by casting doubt on mail-in ballot security and telling supporters to “go to polls and watch very carefully” on Election Day.
Before leaving Pennsylvania, Biden clarified his comments to reporters. He said his remarks were “taken a little out of context,” adding, “I’m going to accept the outcome of this election, period.”
"What I was referencing is the attempts that are made to try to influence and scare people from voting. You should not pay attention to them," the Democratic nominee continued.
Biden has repeatedly said Trump would try to “steal” victory if he didn’t win the election.
The Biden campaign has recruited hundreds of lawyers and volunteers to oversee Election Day and prevent chaos.
When asked if he would accept a peaceful transfer of power at the first presidential debate, Trump deferred, instead decrying widespread mail-in voting.
Before that, a reporter pressed the president previously. “Win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferal of power after the election?”
“We're going to have to see what happens," Trump said during the White House news conference. "You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster."
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said, referring to mail-in ballots. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”
Why did Harris dodge court packing question at VP debate?
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tells ‘Fox & Friends’ his takeaway from VP debate is that Biden-Harris ‘are going to absolutely pack the court.’
Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris faced off in Utah on Tuesday in a debate that took on heightened importance in the wake of President Trump's coronavirus diagnosis.
The running mates of Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden squared off on issues including the pandemic, China trade, taxes and health care for 90 minutes at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in the first and only vice presidential debate, with less than one month to go until the November election.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: HARRIS, PENCE SPAR ON PLEXIGLASS-DIVIDED STAGE OVER CORONAVIRUS, SUPREME COURT
The showdown between Pence and Harris — who share tickets with two of the oldest men to run for president – came less than one week after Trump announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, placing extra scrutiny on their roles as the president's potential successor.
Here's what you need to know about the presidential campaigns and how they'll be spending their time on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, just 26 days away from the election.
After a three-day stint at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to undergo treatment for COVID-19, Trump left Monday evening for the White House, where he will continue to be treated for the virus and be closely monitored by a team of physicians.
On Wednesday, the president — still infected with COVID-19 — returned to the Oval Office, disregarding self-isolation rules from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a video posted to Twitter, Trump called contracting the virus a "blessing from God" and said the unapproved drug that he received was a "cure."
“I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it,” Trump said in the nearly five-minute video.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden:
The former vice president is traveling to Arizona on Thursday for his first joint campaign stop with Harris as the race heats up in the battleground state.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: PENCE BLASTS BIDEN AS 'CHEERLEADER FOR COMMUNIST CHINA’
The Democratic ticket will meet with Native American tribal leaders in Phoenix before departing for a "Soul of the Nation" bus tour. Harris and Biden will meet with voters and small-business owners in Tempe and Phoenix.
According to an aggregate of polls by RealClearPolitics, Biden is leading Trump by a little more than 3 percentage points in the state.
Vice President Mike Pence:
The vice president and second lady Karen Pence are headed to Peoria, Ariz., where Pence will fill in for the president at a Make America Great Again rally.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: KAMALA HARRIS CLAIMS SHE WON'T TAKE VACCINE IF TRUMP RECOMMENDS
The event is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to an announcement Saturday by the Trump campaign.