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Trump’s Lawyers Went Full Biden Conspiracy Today

WASHINGTON — President Trumps’ impeachment defense attorneys switched gears on Monday and went on the attack: against former Vice President Joe Biden. The president’s team asserted Trump had good reason to ask Ukraine’s president to “look into” Biden, whose son Hunter held a lucrative paid position on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company…

Trump’s Lawyers Went Full Biden Conspiracy Today

WASHINGTON — President Trumps’ impeachment defense attorneys switched gears on Monday and went on the attack: against former Vice President Joe Biden.

The president’s team asserted Trump had good reason to ask Ukraine’s president to “look into” Biden, whose son Hunter held a lucrative paid position on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company called Burisma while his father was handling Ukraine policy in the White House.

The president’s defense team focused, at length and in minute granularity, on the details of Hunter Biden’s employment at a time when his father was urging Ukraine to root out corruption.

But they never quite made the direct claim that any real wrongdoing took place. And that may have been simply because they can’t: While even some of senior Biden’s associates have said the arrangement presented the appearance of a potential conflict of interest, no serious evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity by Joe or Hunter Biden has ever emerged.

Instead, the presentation Monday appeared designed to raise questions about the arrangement and justify Trump’s request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the now-notorious July 25 phone call as some kind of legitimate anti-corruption activity.

Democrats have blasted the request as part of a campaign to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden ahead of the 2020 election, when Biden is a top contender to win the Democratic nomination.

The full Biden

Trump’s attorney Pam Bondi kicked off the assault on Biden, zeroing in on the moment when the former vice president insisted in 2015 that Ukraine fire a top prosecutor named Viktor Shokin.

“Why was Hunter Biden on this board?”

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“Why was Hunter Biden on this board?” she asked. “All we are saying is that there was a basis to talk about this, to raise this issue. And that is enough.”

The Trump team’s decision to task Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, to make the case against Biden came with its own particular irony, given her background with Trump.

When Bondi was Florida AG, she nixed an investigation into Trump University around the same time she received a $25,000 donation from one of Trump’s charities via a political action committee that was raising money for her reelection. Bondi’s spokesperson has denied Trump’s donation was in any way connected to her decision not to pursue action against Trump University.

While Bondi presented Biden’s bid to remove Shokin as questionable, it was supported by official U.S. government policy, as well as America’s European allies.

Trump’s attorneys suggested Biden was secretly motivated by a desire to block an investigation of corruption at Burisma. In fact, the opposite is far more likely true: Shokin’s removal has been widely seen as assisting anti-corruption investigations in Ukraine, because Shokin was seen as a participant in the corrupt dealings for which the eastern European country is widely and justifiably famous.

The Ukrainian oligarch and former government official behind Burisma, whose name is Mykola Zlochevsky, has indeed been investigated in Ukraine over allegations of corruption and tax evasion. He’s never been charged.

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