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Joe Biden draws ‘distinction’ between vandalizing Confederate monuments and other memorials

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden faced reporters Tuesday for the first time in three months, and he gave vandals a pass for tearing down Confederate statues around the country, saying he draws a “distinction” between defacing Civil War monuments and damaging other memorials. The 77-year-old presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also said he is “constantly…

Joe Biden draws ‘distinction’ between vandalizing Confederate monuments and other memorials

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden faced reporters Tuesday for the first time in three months, and he gave vandals a pass for tearing down Confederate statues around the country, saying he draws a “distinction” between defacing Civil War monuments and damaging other memorials.

The 77-year-old presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also said he is “constantly tested” for cognitive decline and is eager to match wits with President Trump in three fall debates.

“I’ve been tested, and I’m constantly tested,” Mr. Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware. “All you’ve got to do is watch me. I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”

On the destruction of historic monuments around the nation during protests over racial injustice, Mr. Biden said local officials, not criminals, bear the blame when vandals pull down statues of Confederate figures. He said elected officials “have a responsibility” to relocate racially charged memorials to museums.

“I can understand the anger and anguish that people feel by having, for years and years, been under the statue of Robert E. Lee, if you’re an African American,” Mr. Biden said, adding that he believes such an act is “fundamentally different” from pulling down a monument to Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln.

Calling the destruction a phase of “responding to systemic racism in America,” Mr. Biden said “don’t be surprised if someone pulls down the statue of Jefferson Davis,” the president of the Confederacy.

Mr. Trump has made his opposition to vandalism of all monuments a high-profile feature of his law-and-order campaign theme. He has accused Mr. Biden of refusing to speak out against criminals who have defaced or destroyed a variety of statues, including representations of Christopher Columbus and George Washington. He said Mr. Biden doesn’t want to offend extremists in his party.

The president signed an executive order last week calling for the prosecution such vandals to the fullest extent of the law, including prison terms of up to 10 years.

“This is a battle to save the Heritage, History, and Greatness of our Country!” the president tweeted Tuesday.

The Democrat agreed with Mr. Trump that the government is obligated to protect monuments such as the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials on the National Mall.

“That’s a remembrance,” he said. “It’s different from revering somebody who had that [Confederate] view.”

Noting that Washington and Jefferson owned slaves, Mr. Biden said there was a difference between the Founding Fathers and Confederates who seceded from the United States.

“The idea of comparing whether or not George Washington owned slaves or Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and somebody who was in rebellion, committing treason, trying to take down a union to keep slavery — I think there’s a distinction there,” he said.

Mr. Biden hadn’t taken questions from journalists since April 2. He has mostly been hunkering in his Delaware home but nevertheless climbed to a double-digit lead over the president in national polls. A USA Today/Suffolk poll on Tuesday showed Mr. Biden increasing his lead by 3 percentage points since the spring, holding a 53% to 41% advantage over the president.

Trump campaign officials have been hoping to draw out Mr. Biden into exchanges with journalists. They believe his liberal policies and his age will enable the news media to better define the Democrat for voters.

The questions Mr. Biden fielded Tuesday were anything but hostile or accusatory. Using a tactic that President Obama often deployed, Mr. Biden called on reporters from a list he brought with him.

“The press ended up really giving him softball questions,” Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp said on Fox News. “Goodness gracious, I would love for our White House press secretary to have questions like that asked of her. But that’s never the case. It’s a double standard for some of these liberal media outlets.”

Mr. Biden, whom the president ridicules as “Sleepy Joe,” also used the controversy over reported Russian bounties for killing U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan to take a swipe at the president’s mental abilities.

“He talks about cognitive capability,” Mr. Biden said. “He doesn’t seem to be cognitively aware of what’s going on. He either reads and/or gets briefed on important issues — and then forgets it — or he doesn’t think it’s necessary that he need to know it.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said advisers briefed Mr. Trump on the issue Tuesday, five days after The New York Times reported about the alleged bounties. She said the president wasn’t told earlier because U.S. intelligence agencies hadn’t reached a consensus on the veracity of the allegations.

The purpose of Mr. Biden’s event was to attack Mr. Trump’s response to COVID-19. He said the president has “waved the white flag” in the face of the surging pandemic.

“America knows this crisis isn’t behind us,” Mr. Biden said. “We don’t need a cheerleader, Mr. President. We need a president.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee chided Mr. Trump for calling himself a “wartime president” battling the outbreak, which has killed more than 127,000 Americans as hospitalization rates rise in a dozen states.

“What happened? Now, it’s almost July, and it seems like our wartime president has surrendered, waved the white flag, and left the battlefield,” Mr. Biden said.

He held up a face mask at one point and urged Americans to wear them.

“Wear a mask. It’s not just about you,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s about your neighbors, it’s about your colleagues, it’s about keeping other people safe. … It may be inconvenient, it may be uncomfortable, but it’s the right thing to do as an American.”

Mr. Biden said the country can’t fight the pandemic effectively if people remain divided politically.

“We have to meet it as one country,” he said. “We can’t continue like this — half recovering and half getting worse. We can’t continue half wearing masks and half rejecting science.”

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said Mr. Biden was engaging in the “same tired attacks on President Trump’s federal coronavirus response.”

“Since the beginning, he has done nothing but lob partisan grenades from his basement in Delaware while facing very little scrutiny for his own record,” Mr. Murtaugh told reporters. “The only thing that Joe Biden knows about handling a public health crisis is that he can’t.”

He was referring to the Obama administration’s oft-criticized response to the swine flu outbreak.

“It used to be that Americans would come together to face a crisis,” Mr. Murtaugh said. “But Biden has spent all of his energy using it as a political weapon in a cynical attempt to undermine confidence in the federal response.”

Trump campaign officials noted that the president stopped travel from China in late January, a move that Mr. Biden initially called xenophobic. Mr. Murtaugh said the president made the U.S. the “world’s leader” in coronavirus testing, ramped up production of ventilators, deployed two hospital ships, and has been holding China and the World Health Organization accountable.

“This is something that Joe Biden would not do and would never do,” he said.

Mr. Biden said he has not been tested for COVID-19 but will likely get a test soon as he goes out in public more often.

“I have not had symptoms,” he said.

Mr. Trump held a “comeback” rally more than a week ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma, although it wasn’t well-attended. Mr. Biden said that was because of fears of the coronavirus. The Democrat has no plans to hold campaign rallies.

“This is the most unusual campaign in modern history,” he said. “I’m going to follow the doc’s orders. That means I am not going to be holding rallies. You know me. I’d much rather be out there with people. That’s where I get the greatest feel.”

But he said “the irony is we’ve probably reached more people directly [online].”

“They tell me 200 million people have watched what I’ve done from home,” Mr. Biden said. “But I’d much rather be doing it in person.”

Asked about his significant lead in national polls, Mr. Biden replied, “I don’t want to jinx myself. I know the polling data is very good, but I think it’s really early.”

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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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