One of former President Barack Obama’s most senior advisers, Dan Pfeiffer, is downplaying reporting by the New York Times on former Vice President Joe Biden’s Ukraine corruption, as the scandal widens and severely threatens Biden’s 2020 White House chances.
On Wednesday, the Times published a piece that details how Biden faces “conflict of interest questions” with regard to the Ukraine that President Donald Trump and his allies are promoting as political attacks on Biden.
The Times’ Ken Vogel and Iuliia Mendel wrote on Wednesday:
It was a foreign policy role Joseph R. Biden Jr. enthusiastically embraced during his vice presidency: browbeating Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government to clean up its act. And one of his most memorable performances came on a trip to Kiev in March 2016, when he threatened to withhold $1 billion in United States loan guarantees if Ukraine’s leaders did not dismiss the country’s top prosecutor, who had been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption in his own office and among the political elite.
The pressure campaign worked. The prosecutor general, long a target of criticism from other Western nations and international lenders, was soon voted out by the Ukrainian Parliament. Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden, Mr. Biden’s younger son, who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general.”
In response to the report, former New York City Mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani tweeted it out, calling for an investigation into Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
https://t.co/FNVj16Hf10 via @nytimes. Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously. But the more important question is how deep and how high did the alleged Ukraine conspiracy go?
— Rudy Giuliani (@RudyGiuliani) May 2, 2019
In response to someone else highlighting that tweet, Pfeiffer tweeted out a dismissive message of the contents of the report from the Times.
It's happening all over again
Peter Schweizer does oppo research funded by conservative interests –> NYT credulously writes it up –> Trump and his allies bully the DOJ into investigating –> Trump claims his opponent is corrupt https://t.co/g0eiFtBhEC
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) May 2, 2019
He specifically suggested that the entire report is based on “oppo research funded by conservative interests” put together by Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Peter Schweizer–the president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI)–and then published by the New York Times and pushed by Trump’s team.
“It’s happening all over again,” Pfeiffer said, a reference to how a lot of the information in Clinton Cash came out in the 2016 presidential election demonstrating corruption by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Notably, however, Pfeiffer did not address the actual facts in the Times story or the facts about Biden’s push as vice president to engage in activities in Ukraine that benefited his son’s business interests.
Vogel and Mendel wrote in the Times:
The broad outlines of how the Bidens’ roles intersected in Ukraine have been known for some time. The former vice president’s campaign said that he had always acted to carry out United States policy without regard to any activities of his son, that he had never discussed the matter with Hunter Biden and that he learned of his son’s role with the Ukrainian energy company from news reports. But new details about Hunter Biden’s involvement, and a decision this year by the current Ukrainian prosecutor general to reverse himself and reopen an investigation into Burisma, have pushed the issue back into the spotlight just as the senior Mr. Biden is beginning his 2020 presidential campaign. They show how Hunter Biden and his American business partners were part of a broad effort by Burisma to bring in well-connected Democrats during a period when the company was facing investigations backed not just by domestic Ukrainian forces but by officials in the Obama administration. Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma prompted concerns among State Department officials at the time that the connection could complicate Vice President Biden’s diplomacy in Ukraine, former officials said.
Vogel made clear in his own tweets on the matter that the Times has been investigating Biden’s corruption in Ukraine for many years, and has published stories on it dating back to 2015.
TO BE CLEAR: Independent of @RudyGiuliani's efforts, the intersection of @JoeBiden & HUNTER BIDEN in Ukraine warrants scrutiny.
The @NYTimes 1st noted the intersection in '15 (https://t.co/qsTaDv56Kl), & today's story reveals OBAMA admin officials were concerned about a conflict.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) May 2, 2019
Schweizer, too, told Breitbart News that while he is glad the New York Times is following up on this and investigating the Bidens, he had no contact with the Times reporters on it ahead of publication–and they did this investigation on their own.
“This is a story—corruption that must not be ignored–not oppo research,” Schweizer said. “Very glad to see the New York Times is reporting on this, but I had no contact with Vogel while he was working on this story and we never discussed it.”
1. it's called investigative journalism not oppo research. What facts to do dispute?
2. This is from https://t.co/waDlI5akhm, which also hits Repubs
3. I had no contact with @kenvogel on this story–get your facts straight. He did his own reporting
4. Next time @ me ;) https://t.co/KHTSBnSHq4
— Peter Schweizer (@peterschweizer) May 2, 2019
Schweizer has been working on exposing the Bidens’ corruption in Ukraine and in China and elsewhere for years. He has uncovered many details, and provided many reports on it–including his latest book Secret Empires.