Analysis: How Biden is Bungling His Ukraine Response -- And Does the New Whistleblower Matter?

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Posted: Oct 07, 2019 10:25 AM
Analysis: How Biden is Bungling His Ukraine Response -- And Does the New Whistleblower Matter?

Yesterday morning, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reported that Joe Biden's presidential campaign has been deliberately shielding the candidate from interviews throughout the Ukraine ordeal because they don't want him confronted with numerous questions on the topic.  I don't see how it's is a viable or sustainable strategy, but this is apparently what they're going with for now:

"This is a complicated area of discussion for the former Vice President, so I'm told he did not want to sit down for interviews or other things this week because he didn't want to specifically be asked a lot of Hunter Biden-like questions."

That can't last.  The man is seeking the White House.  He doesn't get to duck and dodge uncomfortable questions indefinitely, especially when they're connected to a massive story involving an impeachment inquiry into the sitting president.  I can understand, however, why his team might want to avoid sustained questioning on this subject, given Biden's churlish and inaccurate answers to a handful of question about it late Friday:


"I'm not going to respond to that" is not an acceptable answer. It's a legitimate question. His son landed a $50,000 per month gig at a Ukrainian gas company, with no relevant experience or expertise -- aside from the fact that his father was the Vice President and a key point person on the administration's Ukraine policy.  The angry/indignant look isn't a good one in this context, and stonewalling is particularly untenable, given that Biden has announced that Hunter will be joining him on the campaign trail.  He also decided to 'stand by' his statement that he never discussed Hunter's business dealings with his son, even though Hunter has contradicted that assertion (not to mention this photograph).  

The former Vice President is not handling this issue well, fumbling through several approaches that do not appear to be benefitting him or allaying concerns.  The Trump and Warren campaigns must be pleased.  Speaking of Trump, he's also reacting quite poorly to this whole firestorm. Meanwhile, the media is wagging its tongues at the new development of an additional whistleblower emerging, reportedly with firsthand knowledge of the original whistleblower's claims:


This strikes me as...probably not a very big deal.  It might be more significant if we didn't already have the transcript itself, but we do; the White House released it, along with the full whistleblower complaint.  Having someone else raise his or her hand to confirm what we already have in black and white seems superfluous.  Granted, this person may have some previously-unknown information or details to share, but that's not what Tapper's tweet would suggest.  This rundown on the possibilities here is worthwhile.  The inevitable testimony of the figures involved in these message chains (the Volker testimony transcript should be released, by the way) strikes me as far more important -- and possibly more perilous -- for the president than the existence of this new whistleblower.  I'll leave you with some fantastical left-wing fan fiction.  The MSNBC show in question, hosted by this person, actually tweeted this out: