by N. Peter Kramer
On Wednesday (Feb 5) President Donald Trump is set for acquittal in his impeachment trial after Democratic demands to summon witnesses were rejected by a majority in the Senate. One of the biggest questions on Wednesday may be whether any Democrats join with Republicans. Three Democratic senators hailing from states where Trump is still popular -Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kirsten Sinema of Arizona- remained quiet over the weekend about their intentions.
Republicans are now turning spotlight on former vice-president Joe Biden, who is leading in the race for Democratic opponent of incumbent president Trump on election day, November 3. The GOP is looking to associate Joe Biden with corruption in Ukraine. As vice-president he led US efforts to combat corruption in Ukraine and forced the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.
At the same time Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had a lucrative role as a board member at Burisma, an energy company linked to corruption. A Trump attorney, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Shokin was investigating Burisma at the time of his firing. Despite the absence of evidence that Joe Biden acted improperly Republicans have called for an investigation into the former vice-president. Republican senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he planned to call Joe Biden as part of the oversight process on possible corruption in Ukraine.
The impeachment investigation, and Biden’s ties to it, may be enough to adversely affect his presidential campaign, even if Trump’s attempt to get Ukraine to launch an investigation ultimately failed. In politics such technicalities don’t always matter. True or not, if hurts, it hurts. Iowa Republican Senator Jodi Ernst suggested that Biden’s presidential ambitions may have taken a hit. ‘I am really interested to see how this discussion on Monday Feb 3 (TODAY!) informs and influences the Iowa Democratic caucus goers’, she said. ‘ Will they be supporting Joe Biden at this point? Not certain about that.’