From Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post:
It’s long past time that media outlets stop hyping the story line that former vice president Joe Biden did something untoward regarding Ukraine. Last week New York Times reporter Ken Vogel called Ukraine a “significant liability” for Biden and teased that “there is a story here.” Vogel added: “We’ve told some of it. There is more to be told. We are going to continue to sort of pull that back.”
In fact, there never was any “liability” whatsoever and the “more to be told” has turned out to be “nothing to be told.” When it came time to put the facts in print, Vogel reported: “As The New York Times reported this spring, no evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor’s dismissal. In fact, some of the vice president’s former associates said he never did anything to deter other efforts to go after the oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky.” Vogel omits mention that the spring report came under a misleading headline and that the admission there was no “there there” only came after paragraph upon paragraph suggesting Biden had some kind of problem.
At any rate, the jig is up, and it’s time for reporters without any proof to cease attempting to convert this into a Biden scandal.
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Whether in TV spots or in print, respectable journalists and outlets need to stop the baseless speculation and misleading headlines.
Instead, there are a host of questions worth exploring, none having to do with Biden.
Let’s start with the basics:
- What did Trump say on the phone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky?
- What other conversations did Trump or anyone else in the administration have regarding the Bidens with Zelensky or other Ukrainian officials? What records of those conversations exist?
- What did Rudolph W. Giuliani and the president discuss about pressuring Ukraine? What has Giuliani said to Ukraine about aid and/or the Bidens?
- Did Vice President Pence know about any of this? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin?
- Who made the decision to withhold aid and why? What other officials were aware of the decision and/or carried out the decision to withhold aid?
- Who at the Justice Department was involved in instructing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire to suppress the whistleblower complaint? Was Attorney General William P. Barr involved?
- Who at the White House directed that the whistleblower complaint be suppressed?
When you lay out the questions, it becomes obvious that many U.S. officials might have engaged in a conspiracy to enlist a foreign power’s interference in our elections. Many officials likely were engaged in the effort to suppress the whistleblower complaint. They should all be held accountable. None enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office (although Trump’s Justice Department will obviously not pursue this).
This is arguably the most egregious scandal in history. You would think every member of the media would want to race to figure it all out rather than wink at disproved speculation. Perhaps now they will.