A whistleblower’s claim that President Donald Trump was out of line in a phone call with a Ukrainian leader will end up dooming former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Rep. Devin Nunes of California.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee told host Maria Bartiromo that the controversy has exposed Biden’s own possible misconduct in Ukraine, Fox News reported.
The allegation is that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden’s son, Hunter.
According to a New York Times report, Biden pushed Ukraine in 2016 to oust a prosecutor who was closing in on an energy company called Burisma Holdings, for which Hunter Biden was a board member with a salary of about $50,000 a month.
The Times report noted that in March 2016, the former vice president demanded Ukraine dismiss the prosecutor or face a loss of $1 billion in aid. Biden has said any notion of any conflict of interest is false. Although he has bragged about getting the Ukraine prosecutor fired, Biden has insisted his son did not reach out to him.
Since the first round of reports about the allegations, Ukraine said Trump did nothing inappropriate. Published reports have also said the whistleblower has no independent evidence of wrongdoing.
Nunes on Sunday said that resurrecting a focus on Ukraine is hurting Biden, who now trails Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in at least one Iowa-based poll after having been the front-runner even before he officially entered the race.
“Whoever came up with this scheme — it looks like somebody was trying to deflect what Biden did back in 2015. … This scheme seems to have backfired on Biden. I mean, Biden’s already dropping in the polls,” he said.
Nunes said the story was a variation on an old political trick.
“These stories first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure that Biden didn’t get in the race,” Nunes said. “So now that these have been resurrected, I don’t know who came up with the scheme — maybe this whistleblower really is not a partisan. We want to hear from that whistleblower, but it sure looks like the scheme has backfired. And, like I said, I think this is probably the end of Biden’s campaign. I really do. … His lead is basically down to zero.”
Nunes also said the pattern of scandalous claims launched in the media with no facts to back them up should be familiar to Americans.
“This has all the hallmarks of the Russia hoax,” he said.
“Something leaks out … and then it’s the same reporters that report on it, the same exact reporters that reported on the Russia hoax. Then you move forward, and what happens? Then supposedly they come and testify — and the night before they testify, this whistleblower who supposedly doesn’t want anybody to know who this person is, or what information they have, well, it’s spilled all over the pages of The Washington Post,” he said.
Nunes said the Democratic Party’s focus on Trump and impeachment will hurt the party in the 2020 election.
“The more I think that they’re out there promoting this kind of craziness and silliness, the more that the American people are put off, and the more likely President Trump is re-elected,” he said.
Trump has said on Twitter there was nothing inappropriate in the call.
..Breaking News: The Ukrainian Government just said they weren’t pressured at all during the “nice” call. Sleepy Joe Biden, on the other hand, forced a tough prosecutor out from investigating his son’s company by threat of not giving big dollars to Ukraine. That’s the real story!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2019
Now that the Democrats and the Fake News Media have gone “bust” on every other of their Witch Hunt schemes, they are trying to start one just as ridiculous as the others, call it the Ukraine Witch Hunt, while at the same time trying to protect Sleepy Joe Biden. Will fail again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2019
The whistleblower issue remains a political football. In a news release Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded the whistleblower’s full complaint be given to House Democrats and issued a veiled threat if she does not get her way.
“If the Administration persists in blocking this whistleblower from disclosing to Congress a serious possible breach of constitutional duties by the President, they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation,” said Pelosi, who to date has urged her colleagues to go slowly on impeachment.
CORRECTION, Sep. 23, 2019: An earlier version of this article stated Hunter Biden’s Burisma salary incorrectly. It was $50,000 a month.
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