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Joe Biden bets on Gretchen Whitmer, Tom Wolf, Tony Evers for boost in battleground states

Joseph R. Biden is hitching his political fortunes to Democratic governors from battleground states as he looks to resurrect the “blue wall” that served as the party’s backbone for six presidential elections before President Trump demolished it in 2016. Mr. Biden is betting the lovefest with the governors on the front lines of the coronavirus…

Joe Biden bets on Gretchen Whitmer, Tom Wolf, Tony Evers for boost in battleground states

Joseph R. Biden is hitching his political fortunes to Democratic governors from battleground states as he looks to resurrect the “blue wall” that served as the party’s backbone for six presidential elections before President Trump demolished it in 2016.

Mr. Biden is betting the lovefest with the governors on the front lines of the coronavirus response in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconson will pay off even as they face stiffening scrutiny from Mr. Trump, his allies and even some in-state Democrats over the pace of their reopening plans.

The former vice president says Democratic governors have filled the leadership void left by Mr. Trump’s slow and muddled response to the pandemic.

“I think the federal government has failed to respond,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday during a virtual call with Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania. “It didn’t have to be this bad, and as a governor, you and your colleagues are leading.”

Mr. Biden said Mr. Wolf has been right to err on the side of caution and that the people turning out for the reopen rallies at state Capitols across the country — including Harrisburg, Madison and Lansing — are outliers.

“You know all this talk with these folks walking around with rifles — and the president not condemning it, I might add — doesn’t apparently represent the majority of the American people,” he said. “They want to know they are safe.”

Polls show Mr. Wolf has a higher approval rating than Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania when asked about responses to the coronavirus.

The story is similar in Michigan and Wisconsin, where Democratic Govs. Gretchen Whitmer and Tony Evers garner higher marks than the president.

Mr. Trump said this week that the White House deserves credit for their popularity.

“We made most Governors look very good, even great, by getting them the Ventilators, unlimited Testing, and supplies, all of which they should have had in their own stockpiles,” Mr. Trump said. “So they look great, and I just keep rolling along, doing great things and getting Fake Lamestream News!”

Charlie Gerow, a Pennsylvania-based Republican Party strategist, said the polls have failed to capture the intensity of voters’ anger over the length of the lockdowns.

Public opinion could swing as more voters come to grips with the full scope of what the lockdowns have done to their wallets and local economies.

“The bottom line is people are pissed,” Mr. Gerow said. “The folks who are showing up at these rallies — many of whom are not carrying guns — represent the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians, Michiganders and Wisconsinites and represent the salt of the earth and heart and soul of America.

“These are regular folks who want to go back to work,” he said. “Joe Biden hitching his wagon to Tom Wolf doesn’t help him one little bit.”

Mr. Gerow said Mr. Biden’s problems in Pennsylvania are compounded by his decision to tap Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York for a climate change task force and by his vow to ban more fracking.

“That goes over like a fart in church,” he said.

Mr. Trump became the first Republican to carry Michigan and Pennsylvania since 1988 and to win Wisconsin since 1984. He won the three states by fewer than 80,000 votes combined.

Two years later, Mr. Wolf won reelection by nearly 835,000 votes in Pennsylvania, while Mr. Evers pulled out a 29,000-vote win. In 2019, Ms. Whitmer won her race by 403,000 votes.

Mr. Biden could try to boost his chances in Michigan by tapping Ms. Whitmer as his running mate.

David Dulio, a political science professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, said conventional political wisdom might be driving what is shaping up to be a base-turnout election.

He finds it hard to believe that a Democrat who is undecided about Mr. Biden would vote for him because he tapped someone like Ms. Whitmer.

“They are going to vote for him because they can’t stand Trump,” Mr. Dulio said.

The potential pitfalls of getting too close to governors were on display this week. Ms. Whitmer’s husband came under fire for dropping her name when he pleaded with a business to get his boat into the water over Memorial Day weekend after his wife urged people to stay away from popular vacation spots.

Republicans say it is part of a broader “do as I say, not as I do” trend that Democrats have showcased during the crisis.

Mr. Dulio said the presidential election could turn more on how the economy recovers from the pandemic than on the raging debate over whether Mr. Trump is to blame for the fallout.

“It is a tough argument for Joe Biden to make that if he had been in office it would have been a shallower dip,” he said of the sinking economy. “I don’t think people buy that. I think it is all about the recovery and how steep and gradual that is.”

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Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money. President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul…

Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money.

President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul from Russia, Ukraine and China with the implication that unsavory figures were trying to buy Vice President Biden and the Obama administration.

“When somebody gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow,” Mr. Trump said.

“That’s is not true. That report is totally false,” Mr. Biden said.

A Senate Republican report by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says Mr. Trump is right, though it was not Moscow’s mayor, but his wife, whom the U.S. suspects of corruption in attaining billionaire status.

Hunter Biden received a single wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina. The Senate report said she became a billionaire through illegal construction contracts awarded by her husband, since deceased.

This is based on Treasury Department reports received by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.

The Senate narrative is not specific, but the types of transaction records match the description of confidential suspicious activity reports that the Treasury issues when it suspects illegal activity.

The Senate report says, “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement.’ Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”

Russia invaded Crimea in Ukraine the month Ms. Baturina sent the money.

“Why did he get it?” Mr. Trump asked.

“That report was written for political reasons,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Trump asserted, “Once you became vice president, he made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.”

Mr. Biden responded, “That is not true.”

According to the senators’ Treasury records, it is true.

In April 2014, President Obama made Mr. Biden the point man in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, to persuade leaders to rid the country of rampant corruption.

The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on the board of directors of the energy company Burisma Holdings, which the State Department considers corrupt, as it does its oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, already had secured a spot.

Over the years, Burisma paid the two more than $4 million. Treasury records show that 48 wire transfers from May 2014 to February 2016 totaled $3.4 million. The money went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.

In 2014 and 2015, Burisma sent $700,000 directly to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested on fraud charges, Burisma sent Hunter Biden another $752,000.

On China, Vice President Biden promoted closer ties to the communist regime on many fronts. He traveled to China in 2013 on Air Force Two and took along Hunter, who met with Chinese businessmen.

“China ate your lunch, Joe,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday night. “And no wonder your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. He takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars.”

Mr. Biden said, “None of that is true.”

The Bidens have adamantly denied reports that Hunter Biden’s investment firm received a $1 billion infusion.

But the Senate report documents extensive ties between Hunter Biden and various Chinese entities that produced millions of dollars in wire transfers.

In one example, China’s CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to HudsonWest LLC, a New York company jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Chinese interests. HudsonWest then sent $4.7 million to Hunter Biden’s law firm. The next year, another $1 million was delivered.

Hunter Biden sent 20 wire transfers totaling $1.3 million to Vice President Biden’s brother James for consulting services. Treasury flagged the transfers as potentially criminal, the Senate report said.

When the bank contacted James Biden’s wife, Sara, to learn details, she refused to cooperate, the Senate report said.

“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”

The Senate report also said Hunter Biden sent money to Ukrainian and Russian women. The Treasury reports said the transactions are linked to “what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”

Mr. Johnson, the Senate homeland security panel chairman, wrote in a FoxNews.com column Tuesday that liberal news media have ignored his report showing disturbing ties between the Biden family and corrupt people.

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Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’

Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling. “I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective —…

Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’

Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling.

“I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective — he looks at it from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us.”

Mr. Biden spoke the day after his first debate with Mr. Trump that was dominated by name-calling and interruptions.

“The question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? Has he tried to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” Mr. Biden said. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Mr. Biden flopped the previous night and that the former vice president’s performance probably cost him support from the far left.

“Second Amendment is DEAD if Biden gets in! Is that what you want from a leader? He will destroy our Country! VOTE NOW USA,” the president said on Twitter.

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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it

The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…

Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it

The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.

During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”

But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”

Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”

Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”

President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”

Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”

The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”

“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”

In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020

This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020

Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.

The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.

Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020

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